The current Oshoro-Maru is the fifth generation of the training vessel. Completed in 2014, the ship is equipped with an ice-resistant structure for navigation in the subarctic zone, making it a suited vessel for this 57-day expedition. This research voyage is supported by Arctic Challenge for Sustainability II (ArCS II), a project led by the National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR), the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), and Hokkaido University.
In accordance with the first priority of ArCS II, the journey supports the strengthening human resource development and research skills. Ten students from multiple disciplines and different universities will participate in an open training session in the latter half of the journey through survey and practical training.
From its first generation, Oshoro-Maru has contributed numerous times to improve our understanding of the environmental changes and their impact on ecosystems. Through observations, sample collection, and breeding experiments, the current expedition seeks to learn the changes in ocean thermal and material circulation, and the marine ecosystem from primary production (e.g., phytoplankton) to higher organisms (e.g., marine mammals). Additionally, to understand changes in fish community structure, DNA derived from organisms in the environment will also be observed.
This marks Oshoro-Maru’s first expedition abroad in 5 years. During both the outbound and return trip, the ship will make stops at Nome, Alaska. Information on the current state of the Arctic Ocean will be accessible from the online learning resource LASBOS, where content is in Japanese.
Read the original press release on Hokkaido University’s website.