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2024年3月25日 15時29分



吉田正人筑波大学教授 最終講義のご案内  Final Lecture of Professor Masahito YOSHIDA, University of Tsukuba

2024年2月8日 10時00分


Title: "The 30 Years of Natural World Heritage: What we’ve done and beyond.”

日時:2024320日(水・祝) 14時~1630
Date: March 20 (Wednesday/Nat. Holiday), 2024
場所:筑波大学人文社会学系棟 B218
Venue: B218, Humanities and Social Sciences Building, University of Tsukuba (face-toface).
With zoom online (which link will be shared later).

15:30 吉田正人教授最終講義
16:30 交流会

14:00 Opening (Leader, Degree Program of World Heritage Studies)
14:00-15:30 Final Lecture by Professor Masahito YOSHIDA
15:30 Closing (Chairman, Management Committee of the Certificate Programme on Nature Conservation)
15:30-16:30 Exchange gathering


Application limit: by March 15 (Friday) 2024. *For the preparation of the venue and online facility.


【レポート】Navigating the Waters of Climate Impact: What We Can Learn from Seaweeds

2024年1月25日 13時29分

Master's Programs in Informatics, Degree Programs in Comprehensive Human Sciences M2 Cai Danmeng

The allure of the ocean has captivated many, but for some, it's more than just a fleeting fascination. Growing up by the sea, marine ecologist Shigeki Wada, an assistant Professor from Institute of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Tsukuba, found himself immersed in the wonders of marine life from an early age. The personal connection to the sea laid the foundation for a journey into marine biology research, a field as vast and complex as the oceans themselves. In today's rapidly changing world, the impacts of climate change on ocean ecosystems and the ways organisms respond to these changes are becoming increasingly evident. To delve deeper into this pressing issue, I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Wada.


Climate Change and Ocean Acidification: A Silent Crisis Below the Waves

Approximately 30% of the CO2 in the atmosphere, contributing to global warming, is absorbed by the oceans. However, when excess CO2 from the atmosphere dissolves in the ocean, it results in ocean acidification, causing a decrease in pH levels. pH measures acidity with lower values indicating higher acidity. This shift in pH impacts a variety of marine organisms, particularly corals and shellfish, which rely on calcium carbonate for their skeletons and shells. As the pH decreases, forming calcium carbonate becomes increasingly energy-consuming, leading to detrimental effects on these organisms. In regions with low pH levels, noticeable declines in shellfish and coral populations are evident. As Dr. Wada mentioned, "Predictions suggest that corals near Japan may vanish within the next 50-100 years due to these changes. The implications of such rapid shifts are alarming."


What Happens If Corals are Gone?

One might often hear about the significance of coral reefs, emphasizing that they serve as vital habitats for a multitude of marine species. About a quarter of all fish, at some stage in their life—often during their younger years—associate with coral reefs. However, the importance of these ecosystems extends beyond just fish. The reality is that various marine organisms are affected by rising CO2 levels and declining pH levels. While the impact varies across species, with some benefiting and others suffering, the overarching trend suggests a concerning decrease in marine biodiversity. Organisms sensitive to these changes will gradually vanish, leaving behind only those resilient to ocean acidification, potentially leading to an overall decline in marine biodiversity, as explained by Dr. Wada in one of his research projects (Fig.1).

Fig. 1: Representative ecological communities at increasing pCO2 levels

The top panels represent intertidal communities associated with mean levels of 300, 400 and 1100 μatm pCO2. The bottom panels represent subtidal communities associated with mean levels of 300, 400 and 900 μatm pCO2 (Agostini et al., 2018). We can observe that the level of biodiversity decreases when the level of CO2 increases in both intertidal and subtidal communities. 


Nature's Ally from the Ocean: Seaweed's Role in Combating Global Warming

In his research regarding the effects of environmental changes on coastal marine ecosystems, Dr. Wada aims to evaluate the potential impacts of ocean acidification and the role of seaweed in coastal ecosystems (Fig.2). Often overlooked in discussions about climate change, seaweeds possess an astonishing capacity to absorb carbon dioxide. While they are predominantly found in specific coastal areas worldwide, their efficiency in CO2 absorption per unit area is unparalleled.

Fig. 2: Algal settlement in different levels of CO2

Panels retrieved from high CO2 (a and b on day 44 and 72) and reference sites (c and d on day 44 and 72). At the high CO2 site, we observe that the panels were covered with a homogeneous brown biofilm at both time points. A difference in the composition of algal communities grown under different CO2 levels is also noticeable. Macroalgae (e) dominated on settlement panels at the reference site, while diatoms Triceratium sp. (f) and Biddulphia sp. (g) dominated at the high CO2 site (Wada et al., 2021). 


Highlighting the real-world implications of understanding seaweed's role, Dr. Wada emphasized that the ecological significance of seaweeds has only been recognized in recent years. In the absence of this understanding, human activities, such as coastal developments, can inadvertently devastate local seaweed populations. Tragically, during periods of rapid economic expansion, Japan has already witnessed the loss of an estimated 30% to 40% of its native seaweed ecosystems. Recognizing and appreciating the role of seaweeds in carbon absorption is paramount. Only with this knowledge can we truly value these ecosystems and ensure their preservation for the betterment of our planet.


Diving into Research: The Challenges and Fun of Undersea Exploration

Diving is an integral part of Dr. Wada's methodology. He regularly dives for durations of 40-50 minutes to observe and collect data (Photo 1). During his data collection dives, Dr. Wada often collaborates with overseas researchers. This international collaboration has offered him a fresh perspective on both the nuances of different work cultures and the research process (Photo 2). He fondly recalled the contrasts between his Japanese colleagues and those from Europe. "Japanese researchers have a precision to everything they do," he observed. "In contrast, my colleagues from France and Italy, while meticulous in their research, also prioritize enjoying the process." He recounted amusing instances of cultural differences, from the meticulous time management of his Japanese peers to the laid-back approach of his Italian collaborators, who might prioritize a quick cigarette or coffee before diving into work. Beyond the day-to-day research activities, Dr. Wada also observed differences in academic approaches. "Japanese researchers often adopt a step-by-step approach, building on accumulated data," he noted. "On the other hand, many overseas researchers dive directly into what's most intriguing about a topic. It's a direct, to-the-point approach that offers a refreshing contrast."

Photo 1: A scene of Dr. Wada (left) collecting data during his field work (obtained from Dr. Wada)

Photo 2: A scene of Dr. Wada (middle) having a discussion with researchers from overseas (photo by Yasuhito Hayashi)


Embracing the Unexpected: The Dynamic Paths of Scientific Inquiry

When asked about advice for budding researchers, Dr. Wada emphasized, "Life in research is filled with twists and turns. You often find yourself venturing into territories you hadn't charted, whether it's collaborating with individuals from different corners of the world or delving into topics that once seemed outside your purview." With a note of encouragement, he added, "So, to anyone stepping into this realm, my advice is simple: stay open to opportunities. If a path intrigues you, embrace it. Such an approach has unveiled numerous possibilities in my own journey. Especially in the early stages of your career, it's paramount not to confine yourself. That's the ethos I've adhered to, and it has been immensely rewarding."

As we journey through the mesmerizing depths of our oceans with experts like Shigeki Wada, it becomes abundantly clear that the intricate balance of marine ecosystems is both delicate and paramount. Let’s remember that every ripple of change in the vast ocean starts with a single drop. By understanding, respecting, and advocating for our oceans, we can be that drop, contributing to a wave of positive change.



Agostini, S., Harvey, B.P., Wada, S., Kon, K., Milazzo, M., Inaba, K., & Hall-Spencer, J. (2018). Ocean acidification drives community shifts towards simplified non-calcified habitats in a subtropical−temperate transition zone. Scientific Reports, 8, 11354. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-29251-7

Wada, S., Agostini, S., Harvey, B., Omori, Y., & Hall-Spencer, J. (2021). Ocean acidification increases phytobenthic carbon fixation and export in a warm-temperate system. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 250, 107113. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2020.107113

Wada, S., & Hama, T. (2013). The contribution of macroalgae to the coastal dissolved organic matter pool. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 129, 77-85. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2013.06.007

【レポート】アイヌ民族とシレトコ世界自然遺産の関わり ―アイヌ民族の権利紛争・エコツアーと結びつけ―

2024年1月25日 13時17分

人間総合科学研究群 世界遺産学学位プログラム M1 スウ イジョウ




 そこで、2023年9月、当時の歴史に詳しく、『「新しいアイヌ学」 のすすめ 〔知里幸恵の夢をもとめて〕』の著者である小野有五先生(北海道大学名誉教授、2022年国際地理学連合「顕著な実践賞」受賞)にインタビューした。



図1. 世界自然遺産に登録されるまでの流れ


図2. 小野有五先生




 しかし、時代の変遷や和人(「アイヌから見た日本人」、三省堂国語辞典)につれ、アイヌの人々はシレトコでの本来の日常生活を送れなくなった。彼らは漁獲権を失い、アイヌ語を話すことも禁じられ、さらに強制移住も要求された。こうしたことはシレトコだけではなく、他のアイヌの人々の所在地でも起こった。その結果、アイヌの人たちのアイデンティティに変化が生じた。平成29年(2017年)の「北海道アイヌ生活実態調査」(北海道環境生活部)によると、「アイヌとしていやだと感じる点は何ですか」という質問項目に対して、最も多い答えは「特にない」(578人中の305人、52.8%)で、続いて多いのが「アイヌ差別の経験」(同171人、29.6%)、「生活基準」(同160人、27.7%)である。また、小内・長田の「アイヌとしてのアイデンティティの形成と変容」(北海道アイヌ民族生活実態調査報告: Ainu Report ,2012)によると、アイヌであることに対する意識に関して、「否定的」と「どちらでもない」を選んだ人は6.3%と53.6%であり、半分を超えている。これらのことから、現代社会においてアイヌ民族の多くの人たちがアイヌとして生きていくと認めず、自らのアイデンティティを捨てて和人の身分として生活を続けている。


図3. 「アイヌ生活実態調査」(北海道環境生活部、2017年)の



 その一方、アイヌ民族は、自分たちの存在に言及することなくシレトコが世界自然遺産に登録されたことを知った後、権利回復を目的とする運動や交渉も図った。例えば、アイヌ民族のNPOが主導した「少数民族懇談会」や「エテケカンパの会」、「ウハノッカの会」などの活動である。やがて、アイヌの人々の努力によって2005年にIUCNが発表した「World Heritage Evaluation Report」では「先住民族の参加」が言及された。しかし、現実はそう甘くはなく、知床とアイヌの人々との間にはいまだに多くの問題があり、その根源には、「代表性(全てのアイヌ民族の人々の中に一人あるいは一団体のアイヌ代表を選抜する)をアイヌ民族に押し付けることなど、政府とアイヌの人々との間の対立や矛盾がある」と小野先生は語る。










 では、小野先生はいつから、どのようなきっかけでアイヌ民族と世界遺産に関わるようになったのか? 今回のインタビュー調査を通してお聞きした。





【レポート】Earth's northernmost region is facing environmental crisis: Arctic Amplification in Republic Sakha (Yakutia)

2024年1月25日 10時51分

Doctor of Philosophy Programs in Human Biology, Degree Programs in Comprehensive Human Sciences D4 Natalia Gogoleva

Have you heard of “Arctic Amplification”? It's a phenomenon where the Earth's northernmost region is experiencing the impacts at least three times faster than the rest of the planet. Among the regions experiencing Arctic amplification, my Homeland stands out as one of the most vulnerable areas to climate change. The Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia, is home to almost 1 million people, including dozens of indigenous groups such as Sakha. It is the largest republic in the Russian Federation and boasts one of the lowest population densities in the world. 

Yakutia is predominantly covered by permafrost and has a unique yet delicate ecosystem. Most of its territory is occupied by the taiga (boreal forest) and tundra. However, several threats have been a growing concern for both Sakha and international scientific communities. What exact threats are we currently facing? To address this, I have interviewed two scientists from Yakutia about this question.


From permafrost to lakes and soil degradations

Nearly a decade ago, as I peered through the aircraft’s window after the plane took off from Yakutsk for Japan, the landscape below unfolded before me, revealing a quilt of countless lakes scattered across the terrain of Sakha land, their proximity striking me with wonder. Could it be that the same piece of land has transformed, now with an even greater number of water bodies? This alteration might well be attributed to the thawing of permafrost which is the subterranean ground layer housing frozen water, preserved microorganisms, and massive storage of greenhouse gases.

Dr. Luidmila Pestryakova from North-Eastern Federal University, is an esteemed and charismatic scientist with nearly five decades of research under her belt, is a pioneering researcher of limnology, blazing a trail in the study of ancient lakes through palaeobotanical research. Throughout her illustrious career, she has lent her expertise to over 40 local and international research expeditions spanning the lakes of Yakutia and the broader Siberian region. Her focus lies particularly on diatomic algae inhabiting lake sediments, serving as a key to unlocking the histories of these individual water bodies. Remarkably, Dr. Pestryakova's findings reveal that, despite Yakutia boasting an abundance of nearly 800 thousand lakes, most of them are very young, born of the thawing permafrost known as thermokarst-originated lakes. Thermokarst refers to forest and land depression caused by the repeated thawing and freezing of the permafrost layer, which will eventually turn to lake (Photos 1 and 2). 

Particularly, Dr. Pestryakova has shared that the active progression of thermokarst formation in Yakutia was observed over the past three decades. Areas of permafrost subject to anthropogenic disturbances or development, including cultivated lands, settlements, clearings, and technogenic infrastructures, are particularly susceptible to thermokarst formations. Despite the effect on local peoples’ quality of life, it is important to note that thermokarsts possess the potential to wield substantial influence over the entire ecosystem of Yakutia.

The spread of thermokarst serves as a stark indicator of global climate change within permafrost landscapes. In simpler terms, rising temperatures have led to the widespread degradation of soil on a considerable scale and it is actively ongoing year by year. This will eventually lead to the formation of more thermokarst lakes, as demonstrated by Yukechi lake example (Figure 1). Then, imagine what will happen in the next century if climate change continues at the current pace. 

Photo 1. Young “Alaas” or Thermkarst  (Credit: L. Pestryakova, A.N. Fedorov) 

Photo 2. Degradation of Syrdakh arable land in Central Yakutia (Credit: L.Pestryakova, A.N. Fedorov) 


Figure 1. Monitoring of Yukechi Lake in Central Yakutia, which is the thermokarst-originated lake. (Credit Lyudmila Pestryakova, A.N. Fedorov )


Taiga forest vulnerability to climatic changes

Yakutia is predominantly blanketed by the vast taiga forest, dominated by coniferous trees. These trees play a pivotal role as significant carbon reservoirs, actively participating in the global carbon cycle. Now, let us ponder what will happen if these forests are damaged or vanished.


Figure 2. Diagram of effects of singular extreme wet event on Spasskaya Pad forest near Yakutsk (Credit: Dr.Nogovitcyn) 

Dr. Aleksandr Nogovitcyn, an up-and-coming researcher hailing from Sakha, has recently earned his Ph.D. in Earth System Science from Hokkaido University. His doctoral work delved into the response of the boreal forest to environmental disturbances. Sakha Republic is known for its continental climate, and experienced a remarkable deviation in 2007, a consequence of unusually high precipitation. Subsequent evaluations of the forests’ well-being unveiled a concerning decline, attributable to overly saturated soil. In addition to visible changes such as high tree mortality,Dr. Nogovitcyn detected signs of decreased nitrogen availability, likely due to damage to tree roots (Figure 2). Such discoveries may hold implications for how taiga forests might react to ongoing climatic shifts.

To summarize, forests rely heavily on essential nutrients and moisture liberated from the annual thawing of permafrost layers. However, as annual temperatures continue to increase, there exists a strong likelihood that permafrost will thaw at an accelerated pace, potentially significantly altering the whole dynamics of Sakha’s forest ecosystems and currents in global carbon circulation. 


More ecological threats and call for international cooperation


Photo 3. Yakutia forests are prone to forest fires and their occurrences are expected to escalate every year (Credit: Oleg Gogolev)

Yakutia has been experiencing annual forest fires, with the affected area expanding each year. Recently scientists from USA have discovered that these forest fires are contributing to the accelerated formation of thermokarsts. In addition to these, there is a fear of losing numerous animal species and the potential introduction of harmful new species that could disrupt the fragile balance of Sakha's environment. These problems have been also mentioned by both Dr. Pestryakova and Dr. Nogovitcyn during our interviews. 

Collectively, these complex, interconnected developments underscore the concept of "Arctic Amplification", highlighting the profound impact on the Sakha region, the rest of the Circumpolar Region, and later the whole planet.

Despite these concerns, a glimmer of hope may persist, assuming that this may be a temporary phase. Sakha's scientists have maintained close partnerships with colleagues from Japan, Germany, the USA, and various other nations for many decades. The outcomes of these collaborations have been nothing short of highly productive, leading to a deeper understanding of our present ecological circumstances and the ability to foresee future developments. There is a hope that more such collaborative efforts will emerge. For, without united endeavors, no single nation can confront Mother Nature. 



Dr. Luidmila A. Pestryakova, Professor of Paleogeography at the North-Eastern Federal University, Yakutsk, Russia. 
She is the pioneer of paleobotany, specializing in the history of lakes. She has an enormous experience of more 30 years of having participated in and organized more than 40 fieldwork all around the Siberian terrain. She currently resides in Yakutsk and is a full-time professor in the Institute of Natural Sciences of North-Eastern Federal University.


Dr. Aleksandr Nogovitcyn, a researcher in Hokkaido University.
He got PhD degree in Earth Environmental Science from Hokkaido University and his research focuses on studying of effects of climatic events on the boreal forest ecosystems. Now Aleksandr works as a researcher in the institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Hokkaido University. 


- Chen, Y., Lara, M. J., Jones, B. M., Frost, G. V., & Hu, F. S. (2021). Thermokarst acceleration in Arctic tundra driven by climate change and fire disturbance. One Earth, 4(12), 1718-1729.

- Nogovitcyn, A., Shakhmatov, R., Morozumi, T., Tei, S., Miyamoto, Y., Shin, N., ... & Sugimoto, A. (2023). Historical variation in the normalized difference vegetation index compared with soil moisture in a taiga forest ecosystem in northeastern Siberia. Biogeosciences, 20(15), 3185-3201.