Arctic Challenge for Sustainability Project

ArCS Blog

Report of the FY2019 program for overseas visits by young researchers: Grateful days in Bremen: Start-up of ‘Palynochemistry Project’

I’m Takuto Ando, post-doc researcher in Arctic Research Center, Hokkaido University. I stayed in Bremen and studied at marum (Bremen University) in October 2019.

In that time, I focused on the macromolecular analysis of marine palynomorphs. Marine palynomorphs are organic-walled membranes or shells (e.g., dinocyst and phycoma) of marine organisms such as dinoflagellate, prasinophyte algae, ciliate and foraminifera. It has been recently proposed that the macromolecular composition of these marine palynomorphs can provide information for chemotaxonomy and depositional environment. However, these studies, called as ‘Palynochemistry’, are not common in Japan. For this reason, I worked with Gerard Versteegh and Karin Zonneveld who are leading researchers of ‘Palynochemistry’ and learned the methods for analyzing macromolecule of marine palynomorph using micro-FTIR (

In October,’Freimarkt’ is held in Bremen. A lot of people came to Bremen and enjoy this festival. Unfortunately, I prefer silence and countryside compared with noisy and crowded atmosphere of festival as I was born in the countryside of Chiba prefecture. One weekend, my host invited me and their PhD student to their house in the countryside. They introduced us to the nature, history and old architecture around their house including the peat fields, lakes/ponds, vegetation (mainly mushrooms), remains, old farmer houses and outcrops. So, I really enjoyed a quiet day and beautiful nature and feel the history of the village and geomorphological/geological things near Bremen. Of course, I really enjoyed the city of Bremen. I went to botanical garden, museum and brass instrument workshops. I’m really happy that I can often go there from now on because a new collaborative research with marum has begun thanks to this program.

Thank you for giving a chance to visit my respected researchers and start my next study! My small dream came true. I will continue work and nurture a good relationship with them in Bremen.

Takuto Ando (Hokkaido University)
*This blog was written in December, 2019.

Snapshot of a quiet day: Gerard Versteegh with beautiful outcrop

Snapshot of a quiet day: Karin Zonneveld with her intelligent horse