Arctic Challenge for Sustainability Project

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Report of the FY2016 program for overseas visits by young researchers: Analysis of zooplankton sample collected from Fram Strait

I visited the Alfred-Wegener-Institute (AWI) from 1 March to 30 May 2017 with funding from the ArCS’ program for overseas visits by young researchers. There are many AWI’s research buildings in the northern part of Germany and the plankton laboratory I visited belong to the Polar Biological Oceanography section located in a port town named Bremerhaven.  There we can see a lot of cars and windmills manufactured in and being exported from Germany and I felt that the atmosphere was similar to Tomakomai in Hokkaido.

The plankton laboratory of AWI has conducted annual sampling during summer in Fram Strait since 2011. I analyzed zooplankton samples collected with Multi net in 2011 and 2016. During the first week I learned a method for species identification of the samples from Dr. Nicole Hildebrandt (Postdoc of AWI).

Recently, AWI`s plankton team is trying to take high-resolution pictures at 27 frames sec-1 using the Light-frame On-sight Key species Investigations (LOKI) systems and evaluate the spatial distribution of dominant zooplankton taxa in greater detail than the classical net tows. Fortunately, I was able to take part in that challenging photo data analysis at AWI. I studied how to process the zooplankton photo data and identify the species using these information, and discussed the novel analytical methods with the members of the plankton laboratory. I would say that this was by far, among the most extraordinary experiences I have ever had in my scientific career.

Other than this, I had good opportunities to participate in the section meeting, science paper and research introduction seminars in AWI during my stay. Moreover, I was given a chance to spend a wonderful time with internship students from Kiel University and Bremen University, performing sample analyses together.

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to the funding program and everyone who supported my research in AWI.

Yoshiyuki Abe (Hokkaido University)

Photo with AWI plankton team

Zooplankton laboratory