Azabu University and the National Institute of Environmental Research start joint research on biological seasonal observation – Observing cherry blossoms on campus and participating in national monitoring – | Azabu University


Azabu University (President: Yasushi Kawakami, Headquarters: Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture, URL: aims to strengthen educational and research activities related to climate change and biodiversity conservation. , began joint research with the National Institute of Environmental Research, continued to conduct biological seasonal observations and established a data utilization mechanism.

At this university, students and faculty members of the Department of Environmental Sciences played a central role in a national biological season monitoring pilot survey using campus cherry blossom blooms and ginkgo yellow leaves as indicators (implementing entities: Japan Ministry of Environment Meteorological Agency, National Environmental Research center). I am participating in the event from 2021 (photo 1). In this pilot investigation, our goal is to build a nationwide observation network with citizen participation and a mechanism for data utilization. In a joint study by Azabu University and the National Institute of Environmental Research, we will consider methods for building and maintaining a system based on observations of student participation in university campuses (Figure 1). This is the first attempt by Japanese educational institutions to work with the observation and monitoring project to incorporate it into education.

“Biological season” is a biological phenomenon in which animals and plants respond to seasonal changes. Through continuous observation every year, we can fully understand the delay of seasons and differences in climate. .. For more than 60 years, the Japan Meteorological Agency has conducted nationwide seasonal biological observations (up to 102 points) for a large number of flora and fauna (64 items of 57 species). This record is an important foundational data for understanding the impacts of climate change, such as the effects of gradual warming on our lives and ecosystems. However, the Japan Meteorological Agency has made it difficult to continue observing due to changes in biological habitats in recent years, and changed the target items of “seasonal observation” to reduce the number of items to 9 items and 6 types of plants from January 2021. In response to the change in this observation target event, the Climate Change Adaptation Center of the National Institute of Environmental Research became the secretariat in June 2021 and conducted a pilot investigation of biological seasonal monitoring, aiming to continue and develop valuable records for many years. Azabu University also participated this conference.

The Azabu University campus is home to many flora and fauna, including ginkgo trees, where you can feel the changes of the four seasons. When observing the biological season, it is important to continue to observe specific points and trees on a regular basis. At Azabu University, individuals who grow in places that are less susceptible to surrounding man-made objects and the local environment are selected as the campus “standard trees”, and faculty-student collaboration begins in September 2021. As a first step, we are observing the blooming of ginkgo biloba, maple, sea urchin, cherry blossom, bigan flower, and red and yellow leaves. The 2021 Azabu University ginkgo yellow leaves on December 7 (Figure 2) are almost consistent with the observations of the Japan Meteorological Agency (December 9) in Yokohama. The fall of maple leaves is on December 6 (Photo 3), which is between the observations of the Japan Meteorological Agency in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo (November 27) and Yokohama City (December 24). The Azabu University observations will add data from the central and western plains of Kanagawa Prefecture to the JMA observations.

From 2022, we will expand this activity to animals, and in collaboration with the Azabu University Wild Bird Research Department, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, we will also observe the first birds on the grounds, such as warblers and shrikes. In addition, we plan to add grass on the site to the survey area, and explore ways to observe insects and reptiles such as cicadas, butterflies, lizards, and frogs. A bird’s-eye view of different biota will help us understand the impact of multiple factors of climate change, such as temperature and sunlight, on various organisms, taking into account their interactions. Furthermore, these observations can be used in data science education along with long-term observational data from the past.

Attempts have been made since the second half of the 20th century, mainly in Europe and the United States, to establish a network of biological season observations involving individual volunteers and civic groups. In the biological season test survey that Azabu University participated in, a similar network was constructed in Japan, from the perspectives of climate change countermeasures and biodiversity conservation, the observations of the Japan Meteorological Agency have been developed and continued, data We aim to create a available system. Through participation in this pilot survey and joint research, Azabu University will expand opportunities for students to participate in observing and understanding climate change and its impact on ecosystems, using the familiar environment of the campus as an example.

・Investigation project of biological season monitoring researchers at the Climate Change Adaptation Center of the National Institute of Environmental Research
・About the Japan Meteorological Agency and the Ministry of the Environment’s launch of the “Seasonal Biological Observation” Advanced Utilization Test Survey
・Department of Wild Bird Research, Azabu University
・ European Phenology Network
・ US National Phenology Network

<Reference information>
● About the Department of Environmental Science
The Department of Environmental Science cultivates talents who can grasp environmental issues from the level of living environment and urban environment, and respond to increasingly complex and diverse social needs in a scientific way. So far, we have educated and researched on various environmental issues from the perspectives of analysis/assessment, health, conservation/education, etc., but two years ago, we started a new scientific field “Symbiosis Science of the Future” to address the possible future Emerging Environmental Issues We have initiated three educational and research projects: Social Cooperative Project Learning, Fieldwork and Climate Change. Promoting comprehensive and practical science with a view to the SDGs.
・Special website of the Department of Environmental Science

● About Azabu University
Azabuk University, the second oldest veterinary university, will celebrate its 135th anniversary in 2025. As a private university, we are actively developing new human resources, building on our first-class results focused on zoological research.
Our school has 2 colleges and 5 departments (Department of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Applied Animal Science) and College of Life and Environmental Sciences (Department of Clinical Testing Technology, Department of Food Life Sciences, Department of Environmental Science) and Graduate School (Postgraduate) Veterinary and Environmental Sciences School of Environmental Health). Education System of the Graduate School of Science) has 2,411 undergraduate and 88 graduate students (as of May 1, 2021). It is the only university in Japan that conducts human, animal and environmental education and research on one campus (Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture).
・Access: A 4-minute walk from Yabe Station on the JR Yokohama Line
・Azabu University Outline:

● Contact details for this matter
・Azabu University Public Relations Section Leader: Arishima/Higaki
・Address: 1-17-71, Chuo-ku, Sagamihara-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture, Fuchinobe 252-5201
・Tel: 042-769-2032
・ E-mail: [email protected]

▼ Contact information for inquiries about this matter
Public Relations Section, General Affairs Department, Secretariat
Arishima / Higaki
Address: 1-17-71, Fuchinobe, Chuo-ku, Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Tel: 042-769-2032
Fax: 042-850-2505
Email: [email protected]

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