Dean of Kitasato University School of Marine Biosciences
Our oceans are the birthplace of life and from where, the evolution of the great diversity of organisms has occurred. Currently, reproducible marine bioresources play an important role in human survival. However, the marine industry is faced with a daunting situation of decreasing resources, environmental degradation of coastal waters, and other problems. Recently, global consumption of marine products has rapidly increased, leading some to predict that in the near future, ensuring a sufficient food supply to meet the needs of Japan’s population will even become difficult. There is pressing need for the marine industry to change its stance to one of resource management and environmental conservation, in other words, it must become an industry which seeks the efficient use of marine organisms, while aiming to protect marine ecosystems. Ultimately, to achieve this change, global, economic and political action may be required. I believe, however, this must be supported by the accumulation of academic information regarding basic and bioscientific knowledge of marine vital phenomena. As such the responsibility of those in academic fields related to the use of marine organisms is becoming increasingly important. Now is the time when the true value of our academic resources is under test.
Recently, there has been a reawakening of the importance of biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems. Organisms living in aquatic environments eke out unique survival strategies which differ from those of land animals, such as water-mediated information transmission between organisms. Research methods in marine biosciences have made rapid progress in the late 20th century and are great contributing to the revelation of the physiology and ecology of marine organisms which sustain biodiversity. On the other hand, demands by society for this academic field have also diversified. New technologies for utilization and management of marine resources and for life production are required, in addition to conventional technologies and concepts of the marine industry.
At Kitasato University, under the basic principle of a “university where biomedical sciences are taught alongside the coordination of health, environment and food, the School of Marine Biosciences seeks to develop basic research on marine vital phenomena from the standpoint of the rapidly progressing biosciences and to apply its research results to the sustainable and efficient use of marine resources. Through our systematic educational programs ranging from fundamental to highly specialized, our goal is to develop human resources with a comprehensive view of society and man, keen global awareness, problem-solving and communication skills, and which can actively participate in a wide range of fields related to the use of marine resources.