Mitsubishi Corporation

Global Coral Reef Conservation Project

Photo by Ikuo Nakamura

Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) is also actively pursing a wide variety of social contribution programs worldwide aimed at helping conserve the environment and bettering society as a whole.

The Global Coral Reef Conservation Project, which is one of the environmentally focused projects, supports scientific research through the combined efforts of industry, academia and the general public.

This project has been approved as a partnership project by the Japan Committee of the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity (UNDB-J)

Global Coral Reef Conservation Project Activities

To restore beautiful coral reefs

The project is developing research, pursuing many different angels, for coral reef conservation and the main research of the project centers on three global locations: Okinawa, the Seychelles and Australia (we replaced our Midway Atoll programme with the latter in March 2011). In Japan, the Project is headed up by Professor Yoshimi Suzuki from Shizuoka University's Graduate School of Science and Technology, who is one of the country's foremost authorities on coral research. The Project's research taking place in Japan focuses on the bleaching phenomenon and is conducted at Sesoko Station, which is operated by the University of the Ryukyus in Motobu, Okinawa.

In fiscal 2006, research began at both the Marine Protected Area of the United States' Midway Atoll and at the many-island nation of the Republic of Seychelles located in the Indian Ocean. The Midway programme came to an end in March 2011, and a new project in Australia's Great Barrier Reef has now begun. Similar to Japan, MC's role is working with a group of volunteers recruited from both inside and outside the MC organization to support research activities.

Research bases for the Global Coral Reef Conservation Project

Okinawa

Okinawa is where Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) started its research of coral reefs in 2005. Professor Yoshimi Suzuki of Shizuoka University leads this project, which is a partnership between Shizuoka University, University of the Ryukyus and Earthwatch Japan (an international environmental NGO), to elucidate the causes and mechanism of the coral bleaching phenomenon, to conserve reef health, and to establish and disseminate scientific recovery methods. MC partakes in a program by which 10 volunteers are dispatched twice a year. The volunteers, half from MC and half from outside MC, take part in time-consuming manual tasks such as the sampling of ocean water, the studying of underwater topography, and the collecting of coral samples.

Aiming to conserve reef health, MC partakes in a program by which volunteers from inside and outside MC are dispatched twice a year.

Details of the Okinawa Site:

Project Partners: Shizuoka University
University of the Ryukyus
Earthwatch Japan
Project Leader: Professor Yoshimi Suzuki, Shizuoka University
Project Site: Okinawa
Research Focus: Research into the causes of coral bleaching, methods of conservation and promotion of reef health and the establishment and dissemination of scientific recovery methods.

Australia NEW

From 2011, Mitsubishi Corporation has established a new coral reef project in Australia. Working in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and Earthwatch Australia, the aim is to conduct field research on the impact of black band diseases on coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef. In particular, we will be assessing the role of light, temperature and water quality on the disease progression, as well as any seasonal dynamics that may exist.
The first field work expedition is due to take place in March 2012.

Details of the Australia Site:

Project Partners: Earthwatch Australia, The Australian Institute of Marine Science
Project Leader: Dr. David Bourne, of The Australian Institute of Marine Science
Project Site: Orpheus Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Research Focus: The impact of black band disease on tropical coral reef ecosystems in the Great Barrier Reef, assessing in particular the role of light, temperature and water quality, as well as seasonal dynamics in relation to the progression of the disease

Seychelles

There are about 300 to 350 species of coral in the Indian Ocean surrounding the Republic of Seychelles. In 1998, it was reported that 90% of coral found in the Seychelles had perished due to rising ocean temperatures resulting from an El Nino event.

Mitsubishi Corporation works in partnership with Earthwatch Europe and Dr. David Smith from the University of Essex (UK), who is working with the Seychelles Marine Parks Authority to explore the coastal and marine ecology of Curieuse Island. The island and its surrounding waters form one of six national Marine Parks, and research activities here involve the long-term monitoring of biodiversity, measuring rates of coral growth to determine how reef communities respond to environmental stress, and identifying the socio-economic implications of reduced coral diversity for dependent communities.

Thorough baseline surveys and identification of the key drivers of environmental change are critical to inform the Seychelles government, local communities and conservation groups; and for tracking the effects of global climate change in the Indian Ocean as a whole.

Details of the Seychelles Site:

Project Partners: Earthwatch Europe, University of Essex (UK)/Coral Reef Research Unit, Seychelles Centre for Marine Research and Technology - Marine Parks Authority
Project Leader: Dr. David Smith, University of Essex (UK)
Project Site: Curieuse Island, Republic of Seychelles
Research has also been conducted on Desroches Island (2006), Silhouette Island (2007) and Praslin Island (socio-economic research from 2011)
Research Focus: The diversity of reef associated habitats, observation and data collection on the current condition of the reefs surrounding Curieuse Island and exploration of coral tolerance to changing environmental conditions.

Activities to date Please click here to see the detail.

April 2005

  • On April 19, a joint press release was issued by Mitsubishi Corporation, Shizuoka University and Earthwatch Japan, which was picked up by various Japanese media sources, including the Nikkei Shimbun.

August 2005

  • On August 4, a commemorative forum to mark the start of the Okinawa project was held in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture
  • During August 4 to 8, the first research program with volunteer participation is organized in Motobu, Okinawa Prefecture.

March 2006

  • On March 3, a symposium, open to the public, is held in Tokyo to report on the progress of the project.

July 2006

  • During July 13 to 17, MC led the Okinawa research and volunteer program

October 2006

  • During October 19 to 21, MC held an exhibition for the Project at "Messe Nagoya 2006 Eco-Industrial Trade Fair" (hosted by the Nagoya Chamber of Commerce & Industory).

March 2007

  • On March 16, MC held its Fiscal 2006 Activities Report Meeting at Mitsubishi Corporation Marunouchi Office. Under the theme of "Crisis of our world's coral reefs and their conservation—What can we do?", MC welcomed the project leaders of each location (Japan project leader Professor Yoshimi Suzuki of Shizuoka University; U.S. project leader Dr. Donald Potts of the University of California, Santa Cruz Campus; European and African project leader Dr. David Smith of the University of Essex) project partner (Mr. Namba, Chairman of NPO Earthwatch Japan) and special guest (Professor Tsuchiya of the University of the Ryukyus), and hosted a presentation and discussion on research activities.
  • On March 28, MC gave a presentation on the Project at the kickoff meeting of "2008 International Year of the Reef" sponsored by the Ministry of Environment, Japan.

April 2007

  • On April 6, MC introduced the Project at the presentation meeting of "2008 International Year of the Reef" of which the Ministry of Environment, Japan is a sponsor.

May 2007

  • During May 17 to 21, MC held the first Okinawa research and volunteer program for 2007. Mitsubishi Corporation volunteers and Community volunteers recruited via Earthwatch Japan supported research activities at the Sesoko Experimental Site of the University of the Ryukyus and at Sesoko Beach.

July 2007

  • During July 3 to 17 at Seychelles and during July 6 to 20 at Midway, MC partook in research activities. Volunteers from the local affiliates of MC or business investment companies took part.

September 2007

  • During September 30 to October 4, MC held the second Okinawa research and volunteer program for 2007. Mitsubishi Corporation volunteers and Community volunteers recruited via Earthwatch Japan supported research activities.

March 2008

  • On March 13, MC held special lectures on the Project at Aoyama Municipal Junior High School, Minato-ku, Tokyo. The lectures were given by Professor Suzuki of Shizuoka University and Mr. Ikuo Nakamura, marine photographer. The lecture was attended by 43 students.

May 2008

  • During May 8 to 12, MC held the first Okinawa research and volunteer program for 2008. Mitsubishi Corporation volunteers and Community volunteers recruited via Earthwatch Japan supported research activities at the Sesoko Experimental Site of the University of the Ryukyus and at Sesoko Beach.

August 2008

  • MC and MC Group employees participated as volunteers in both the Seychelles and Midway Atoll research programs from August 14 to the 28 and August 15 to the 29 respectively.
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June 2009

  • MC published the Global Coral Reef Conservation Project Interim Report.

July 2009

  • From July 17 to 31, MC conducted the research and volunteer program at Midway Atoll.

September 2009

  • MC and MC Group employees participated as volunteers in both the Seychelles and Midway Atoll research programs from September 5 to 9 and September 11 to 25 respectively.

May 2010

  • From May 14 to 18, MC held the first Okinawa research and volunteer program of 2010.

September 2010

  • From September 18 to 22, MC held the second Okinawa research and volunteer program of 2010.

October 2010

  • From October 23 to 29, MC introduced the Program at the Interactive Fair for Biodiversity, an outdoor exhibition held in conjunction with the 10th Annual Convention of the Parties (COP 10).
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