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1月, 2014の投稿を表示しています

Masters student presentations

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Today, the Faculty of Fisheries are having the Masters student research presentations. A total of 32 students will give their best to provide a good story about their work over the past two years. From my Institute for East China Sea Research, there are four students giving their talks. Two from the fish reproductive biology lab, one from mine, and another from the movement ecology lab.

However not everything went smoothly, I really don't know why, but my grad student decided to use some fancy fonts, that were apparently uncommon enough to require him to bring his pc to the talks. Moreover, when it was his turn to talk, the pc didn't want to talk to the projector... Eventually things got started, which was fine, but in the midst of his talk, a popup message came on. Good grief.
Well his talk went ok, it was about determining field rates of primary production in the seagrass meadows and sargassum forests of Omura Bay. He had to field a few good questions about spatial scale and…

Day trip to Kumamoto

Today, two other professors and I are going on a day-trip to visit Kumamoto Prefectural College. I will be picking them up at the Bunkyo campus at 7 AM. From campus to campus it should be about 2.5 hours by car (200 km).


I would prefer the southern route, which goes through Shimabara City, and use the ferry to get to Kumamoto City. This  cuts the distance by half, but actually takes 30 more minutes, since there are no expressways to Shimabara.

Originally we were planning to spend the night there, but things change. Oh well, I have been through Kumamoto many times but yet to stay overnight.

Looks like we are staying one night.

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Well, we are staying one night.

National exams week is finished, round 2 is coming up.

So the national exams are finished, and I survived my first time being an examiner. They (university) only trusted me to proctor the first two exams in the natural sciences, so I only had to be there for the morning. However, my colleagues were there all day.

Apparently, and I didn't know this, the students do not need to take all of the sections, which includes the natural sciences, history, language, math, and etc. For example, after they receive their scores, they then apply to sit the exam for the university and program they aspire to enroll in. Not all programs require all the sections of the national exam, so if the program does not request a history score, then it is likely that the student will skip the history exam.

Anyways, there were quite a few no shows for the natural science exams. I hope all the students scored well.

The exams and answers are made public, so hit the link to take a look (in Japanese).

National Exams Week

This weekend is the national college entrance exams. The kids one shot chance to make it or break it. Actually it is only the first of many they will take. The nationals will give them a good idea if they can try for The University of Tokyo or less strenuous school. 
They'll get tested on their Japanese, math, science, humanities, and some foreign language, which is typically English.
The exams are held at most universities nationwide. Just to prepare, our Faculty rescheduled the Friday  classes. I am sure glad we only had to worry about the SAT.

I asked my Fisheries Dynamics students to work on a homework assignment...

So in most typical universities in Japan, homework is often something that is not provided. Oftentimes, as long as you show up to class and pass the final exams, you will earn the credits.

Lucky kids. I remember getting a boat-load of problems to solve when I was in the College of Engineering... Not to mention the exams.

So in my class, I have decided to give homework. Only 6 times, by the way, but that's more than most courses they will take.

Anyways, we are working on examining coupled predator-prey models, similar to the Lotka-Volterra equations. More precisely, I want them to do some stability analysis on the coupled differential equations. So, for home work, I assigned them a problem involving logistic growth for the prey ($V$) and a constant death rate for the predator ($P$), where $r$ is a growth rate coefficient of the prey, $K$ is the carrying capacity, $a$ is the predation rate, and $d$ is the death rate coefficient of the predator.

$$\frac{\partial f_1}{dt}=\frac{dv}{dt…

What did I do last year?

Last year was really busy, and I am amazed that I got any papers out. Unfortunately, I have zero papers out as first author last year. As you can see from the list, there are a few that have nothing to do with macroalgae. One is regarding sea-urchins and the other refers to pufferfish (fugu).

Why? Well, I did a lot of statistical analyses for these papers. I guess that's ok, but I really should get my own data out, since it is really piling up.

Watanabe Y, Nishihara GN, and Terada R. 2013. The effect of irradiance and temperature on the photosynthesis of a red alga, Pyropia tenera (=Porphyra tenera), from a natural community in Kumamoto, Japan. The Japanese Journal of Phycology 61: xxx-xxx (in Japanese).


Terada R, Inoue S, and Nishihara GN. The effect of light and temperature on the growth and photosynthesis of Gracilariopsis chorda (Gracilariales, Rhodophyta) from geographically separated locations in Japan. Journal of Applied Phycology25:1863-1872.

Kurihara H, Yin R, Nishihara G…

Can Tho University visits Nagasaki

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Since last year, we have concluded an agreement with Can Tho University, Vietnam, to conduct both scientific and academic exchange. Some of our faculty are pretty active in Vietnam, especially the Mekong Delta, and they have been coordinating their work with Can Tho University. This year, the Rector of the Can Tho University, as well as a number of Deans and Directors came to Nagasaki as part of their work to show their commitment to the exchange programs.

They provided a special seminar to introduce their university as well as their research (mostly, aquaculture) at Nagasaki University.


Later we took them to have dinner at a restaurant in Dejima, unfortunately I forgot to take photos of the event. Just the building. Edit: I attached a group photo.



The guests apparently had a good time, and one of them took home two pairs of cooking chopsticks (さいばし) as  souvenirs.

Just a group photo of the guests and some of the participants.

The end of the year mochi-tsuki.

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At the end of every year, we make mochi at the Institute for the New Years. This year, I had to class on the day of the mochi-tsuki (mochi making) event, so I didn't get a chance to participate much.


Anyways, the students steamed more than 30 kg of mochi-rice, and set to work pounding it into white and sticky mochi. So this is the traditional way.


Whereas, this is the modern way. You feed the top hopper with steamed mochi-rice, and the mochi comes out the other end.


The mochi is then formed into balls and put into little baggies.


Of course, we also grill some crabs and oysters while we're waiting for the mochi-rice to get cooked. This year, we also had salmon, yellow-tail sashimi, and yellow-tail and daikon nitsuke.


Looks like whales can be conjoined too.

It appears that they found a pair (?) of conjoined gray whales off the coast of Baja California. バハカリフォルニア沖にクジラの結合双生児は発見されたようだ。

Istiophorus platypterus (?) trying to take bait

A good friend of mine, who uses electronic device to monitor fish (bio-logging) has a grad student interested in sailfish (カジキ). His grad student fitted a number of specimens with a video data-logger to try to figure out what and how they eat.

Anyways, I found a cool video that puts a camera on bait to take  look at how the fish attack the bait. Notice how the fish is using its dorsal fin and upper jaw.


sailfish and the dredge from Let It Ride 68 on Vimeo.



Kotoe's experiment on mixing

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Kotoe is a 4th-year student, who just happens to adore this fish called 「ゴンズイ」 (Plotosus japonicus). Anyways, she convinced me to let her incorporate this fish into her senior thesis, which all undergrads must complete at the Faculty of Fisheries of Nagasaki University. I was initially rather apprehensive, since the thing has poisonous spines in the dorsal fin, but nevertheless...

So she is working on evaluating the effects of swimming in macrophyte canopies, to see if the swimming changes the way water mixes in the canopy. This is important, since it is not unusual for water in the coastal areas of Omura Bay to be rather still and slow moving.




She set up a short acrylic flow-through flow-chamber at the outdoor cultivation deck, and just added some sargassum (Sargassum thunbergii) and P. japonicus. On either end are a pair of chlorophyll-a sensors to measure the dye-concentration coming in and going out of the working section (this is where all the organisms are).

The results are look…

Auto-awesome does funny things

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So Google has this auto-awesome thing going on with the photos that get backed-up on their servers. I don't know how their algorithm works, but sometimes it does some funny things.

So last month, I lost one of our instrumented buoys due to strong northerlies that pummeled the coast of Omura Bay. The buoy flipped over, and killed the Hobo Micro-weather station logger, and gave the PAR sensor and anemometer a salt water batch. Not to mention ruining the a pH meter that the P-chan setup on the buoy.

I took some photos of the ruined buoy and auto-awesome decorated it.

I don't know what to think.


What the New Year will look like...

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So it is the New Year, and I am expecting it to be hectic.

1) We are getting a new building at the Institute for East China Sea Research. They are building it, since we really don't have much space in the old one. The office I am in know is a converted lab, and I share it with 2 others (1 postdoc and 1 Asst. Prof.). Easy to be sociable, but can be noisy at times.



2) The new building is supposed to be ready by the end of the fiscal year (2014 March), but there will be a lot of headaches associated with moving in. First of all, one our staff is retiring and his old equipment will be setup in the new and old buildings. Second of all, he will get an office, so we need to prepare for that. At the same time, I need to move out of the old office and into my new one, and I need to move some of my equipment to the new building as well.

3) Master's student is graduating and so is the 4th-year student. I hope.

4) PhD wannabe is take the entrance exams and be part of my lab.

5) Grad stude…