Research activity in the aquarium of Japan seems to be stagnant in recent years, so here I discuss the necessity of researches in the aquarium and the cause of stagnation. In the 1960's, many aquariums were established in Japan and included the purpose of attracting customers at the beginning. But as founder's philosophy, there was an educational purpose to disseminate knowledge of sea and marine organisms generally in terms of natural and biological aspects. Also, at that time there was little information on the ecology of marine organisms, and many citizens were interested. However, since the 1980's, aquariums were regarded as amusement parks, shifting the purpose as education to business. And when businesspersons took responsible for the management, they regarded research activity as unnecessary and obstacle tasks. Current researches on aquatic organisms are active in general, but many research grants are provided to researches on aquatic resource issues. No valuable aquatic lives as fishery resource are largely ignored and those researches develop slowly. However, importance and understanding biodiversity has been well supported in the world and the aquarium might only handle aquatic organisms including no fishery resource value to understand their natural values. The aquarium in Japan plays an important role to disseminate academics concerning the sea and river environments in general, and those researches are indispensable for carrying out it.
The theme of exhibition in Kujukushima aquarium (Umikirara) is the nature of Kujukushima area, in which is located within Saikai National Park of Japan and includes 208 islands and 288km long coastline with rich wildlife and nature environment. Umikirara has conducted many researches on the nature of Kujukushima and provided those results not only to academic sides but also to public. Our outreach activities based on those results involved with local people. We applied obtained knowledge for our capacities for keeping aquatic lives in our aquarium. We also work on the wildlife conservation of Kujukushima, investigating coral, seaweed, a horseshoe crab, seashore animals, jellyfish and the cetacean. Our exhibition reflects those research results so that visitors can easily understand importance of wildlife conservation.
Research activity is one of the function of museum. The goal of this activity is, to publish a scientific paper so that all the data from research and experiment become available for public and other researchers. Without publishing as a report, your research experience and knowledge will stay in as your personal knowledge and only gives you self-satisfaction. Curators and researchers belong to facilities such as museum (include zoo and aquarium) occupy adequate positions that allow them to organize basic research. Despite having various tasks to work with as their main responsibility, museum curators should create time and effort for their research activities. In my case, with some ingenuity, I was able to complete my research on the ecology of glochidia (larvae of freshwater unionid mussel) and published some scientific papers. If each curatorial staff members conduct research, the research function of the museum will evolve. I would recommend that you should enjoy your research activity as an enjoyment of your life.
“Survey and Research” is one of the four mission of the zoo but has not been widely recognized. Recently, several zoos in Japan published their achievements of the researches actively. However, the survey and research are not so encouraged in zoos as they do not have enough time to do it nor know how to do it. On the beginning of Hiroshima City Asa Zoological Park, “Survey and Research” has been regarded as one of the important missions of the zoo. The typical example is “Survey and research of the Giant Salamander in Japan”. This project started to contribute to conserve local nature. In order to summarizing the results of the survey and research, “Asa Zoo Seminar“ and “Archives of Asa Zoo Seminar“ have been published. Although survey and research in the zoo should be duty work to be paid salary, this is very difficult to complete. In Japan, the zoo was used to be considered as the place to enjoy seeing rare animals, however, now it is recognized to have important functions of species conservation and education due to the efforts of our pioneers. So we need to keep going for research and to make efforts to change the public understanding that the zoo is responsible for research for the next generation.
In 2008, Kyoto City and Kyoto University signed a "Collaboration Agreement on Research and Education for Wildlife Conservation". Based on this agreement, an associate professor of Kyoto University was assigned as a resident in Kyoto City Zoo and conducted research and educational activities there. To further promote academic research and environmental education, "Center for Research and Education of Wildlife" was established in the zoo and an associate professors of Kyoto University at that time was assigned as research director in 2013. In June 2017, to be authorized as an "academic research institution” by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, Kyoto City Zoo increased staffs for Center for Research and Education of Wildlife. In January 2018, Kyoto City Zoo was authorized as an academic research institution, whose can apply for “Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research”. In the future, we will acquire those research grants and promote the research of endangered species, and obtained achievements will be improved longevity, success rate of reproduction and animal welfare. Due to the establishment of the research organization system, Kyoto City Zoo is considered to be one of the leading zoo research institutions in Japan.
In this study, an immunohistochemical analysis was conducted to clarify the distribution of G proteins in the olfactory organ of sika deer (Cervus nippon). A Gαs /olf antibody was found to label the free border of the olfactory epithelium and a Gαi -2 antibody labeled the free border of the vomeronasal sensory epithelium; however, a Gαo antibody positive reaction was not observed at any epithelial free border. These results indicate that olfactory receptor cells expressing odorant receptors are distributed in the olfactory epithelium of the deer and those expressing type 1 vomeronasal receptors are distributed in the vomeronasal organ. Therefore, it is suggested that the same olfactory receptor families are expressed in the olfactory organ of sika deer as in many mammals and that sika deer has a similar olfactory system to those many mammals.
A male brown bear (Ursus arctos yesoensis) was caught in September 2015, in Shari, Hokkaido, Japan. Necropsy was performed, and a number of large cestodes were collected from the intestine. They were diagnosed as Dibothriocephalus sp. based on the morphological features of scolices and genitalia. These parasites were identified as Dibothriocephalus nihonkaiensis by the sequences of 28 ribosomal RNA gene and mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase gene. This is the first report of identification of cestode from a Hokkaido brown bear as D. nihonkaiensis.