Environmental Science Section
In April 2021, the Okinawa Environmental Research Support Section (OERSS) was renamed the Environmental Science Section. The section itself was established in 2019 as an independent function of the OKEON Chiramori Project with the goal of maintaining and promoting OIST's Okinawa terrestrial field research and community network in a more sustainable and stable manner.
Our goal is to carry out environmental research and education to ultimately contribute to the sustainable development of Okinawa by leveraging the local relationships, environmental monitoring networks, and experienced support teams developed by the OKEON Churamori Project.
- Provision of support for terrestrial fieldwork in Okinawa
- Maintenance and management of common equipment for terrestrial fieldwork
- Develop, manage, and facilitate the use of the Okinawa Environmental Observation Network (OKEON)
- Maintenance and management of equipment for OKEON
- Execute and manage long-term data collection and sample storage for OKEON
- Contribution to the sustainable development of Okinawan communities utilizing OKEON data, human resources, and collaborative network
Current service for OIST researchers
- Information and network provision and paperwork support for permissions required for terrestrial field sampling in Okinawa Prefecture
- Coordination with the local community to conduct field survey in Okinawa Prefecture
- Providing information about the OKEON Churamori project study area
- Providing supports for field survey in the OKEON Churamori Project study areas
- Return, promotion and its coordination of the academic outputs related to the OKEON Churamori Project to Okinawa society
We were invited again this year to conduct entomology training for undergraduates at the University of the Ryukyus, which has recently become an annual event. All of the students were entomology majors and had a high level of knowledge about insects, which made the field staff a bit nervous to lead the sorting of the SLAM trap samples, but we used the experience we’ve gained in the OKEON project to serve as instructors. One of the lecturers, Prof. Yoshida, gave a talk on entomology that was backed by an overwhelming amount of knowledge, and the students listened with great interest.
One of the research sites of the OKEON Churamori Project is located in the Kenmin-no-Mori (Prefectural Citizen’s Forest) park in Onna Village, and therefore, Section Leader Yoshimura is a member of the park’s Management Committee. We think it would be wonderful if Kenmin no Mori could contribute to Okinawa Prefecture's 21st Century Vision, the Okinawa Biodiversity Strategy, and the Okinawa SDGs, and be used as a base for practicing biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.
We organized a small exhibit at the entrance of the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum called “Little Aliens〜The Little Invaders Lurking in Okinawa”. This exhibit was part of the special exhibition “Evolution for Everyone” hosted by the Museum.We displayed panels that explained the evolution and ecology of alien ants and our efforts to control them in Okinawa, ant specimens collected in the OKEON Churamori project, and 3D ant models. Unfortunately, few people were able to see this exhibit because it was closed following the declaration of a state of emergency due to COVID-19.