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An International Adventure in Japan
Cnidarian Tree of Life Project
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Cnid ToL
Week 3, August 7-13
Ephyra August 7
The work began again with an early morning plankton swim by Jen, this time around a point to try and get some more open water species. After breakfast, the gang searched the plankton while waiting for low tide.

Here is an ephyra, or juvenile jellyfish of the class Scyphozoa.

Low tide was around 9:30 am at which time, Allen, Alvaro, and Jen went out to a point to search tide pools and snorkel for new organisms. They did not find much that had not already been discovered. One species they were hoping to find is a small medusae that clings to algae. There was a perfect algae-filled pool, but they only caught shrimp and some other arthropods. Jen looking for critters
Coral Polyps


Here are some beautiful animals they saw while snorkeling.
Meanwhile, Cheryl was busy making arrangements to rent a car and Luciana was working with the anemones. Luciana at work
Semi LittleGuy played with his biological collection. He just loves all of the insects around here! This is the cicada, or semi, as it is called in Japanese, that he collected several days ago and has remained a pet. It is not alive, but boy is it animated!

Among other observations, he has witnessed a wasp carry a huge spider (4-5 cm long). The wasp will lay its eggs in the poisoned spider. When the eggs hatch, the young will wake up to a healthy and plentiful meal. He also watched many ants trying to eat a grub alive. There is never a dull moment around the station!

The afternoon was spent doing more lab work. Here are some specimens waiting to be preserved and cataloged. Specimens waiting for preservation
Dinner Out We could not cook diner at the station because we were asked to make room for a celebration feast for the University of Kyoto students that have been participating in an intensive week-long course at the station.

Mia, a graduate student from the states working at the station, gave us an excellent recommendation. The dinner both incredibly tasty and productive. Most of the discussion was centered on explaining just how delicious each dish was and filling in a calendar to help plan for our remaining time in Japan.

Back at the station, we were invited to join the students' party. We had a great time talking with them. Luciana got a kick out of watching one student sleeping in the corner. The poor guy's head kept lolling over. Another guy cleaned up by drinking the remaining beer out of each can left on the table. Its not surprise that he stumble up the stairs later that night. Karaoke Party
But the highlight of the evening was the karaoke! Cheryl and Shin (both seem to be professional karaoke singers) began the competition with a duet sung in Japanese. Luciana, Alvaro, Jen, and Allen were all very relieved that they could not be called upon to sing since all of the songs were in Japanese and none of them have mastered the language yet. There was one song available in English- “Yesterday” but to their relief, Cheryl got up and sang.
For those unfamiliar with karaoke, here is what the novices learned. You need a special microphone, a TV, and a karaoke drive that contains the music and video. Someone volunteers to sing then selects a song from a database of choices, and types it into the microphone. Seconds later the TV lights up with a scenic picture and the title of the song. The person then follows the line by line lyrics and sings to the music provided. At the end of the performance the singer gets a score. We are unclear exactly how one earns the scores, but it ends up being a competition of who can get close to 100%. We witnessed some great performances.
August 8

Typhoon approaching! We got very excited that there is a typhoon headed our way. It is not supposed to get here until late at night, and it will probably be gone by morning. We are all hoping for an interesting experience.

We were all disappointed to learn that the storm took a turn and never touched land near us.

Typhoon Coming
Alvaro taking photographs Because of the stormy weather out at sea, we had to abort the plan to go SCUBA diving north of Shirahama. It was evident by this morning’s wind and waves that diving would not be worthwhile. It would be difficult to swim because of waves and difficult to see organisms because of the sediment stirred up in the water. Instead, Alvaro and Allen did some lab work.
The girls drove down the road to check out the conditions of the waves and to visit two tourist destinations.

Many of the cars have navigational systems. You simply type in the phone number of your desitination, and you get a guided map telling you when to turn as you drive. There is also a friendly voice to keep you on track.

Navigation System
Tatami Mat Rock Beautiful Cliff
At one beautiful cliff, we saw this sign providing potential suicidal jumpers with a help-line number. Apparently this is a popular desitination for those wishing to end their lives. Suicide Hotline Sign
August 10-11
The group decided to take a break and visit Kyoto for two days. We left Shirahama at 6:30am and arrived in Kyoto via train mid-morning. Of course, no one really took a break. There were finances to be done, animals to discuss and work decisions to be made. We had a great time.
Allen and Cheryl figuring out finances
Astro Boy greets us at the station We arrived at the train station to be greeted by Astro Boy. The station is a beautiful glass building with very interesting shapes. We then checked into our hotel down the street and were amazed to find that Cheryl's name was written on the outside. Of course, only Cheryl could have noticed this, but her laughter of course prompted questions from everyone else who could not read.
Kyoto Train Station Cheryl's name is posted outside our hotel
We then took a bus to an older section of Kyoto for lunch and exploration. These are some of the amazing palaces, gardens, and streets we saw. Bridge
Luciana being protected by Japanese warriors

Some of spent a lot of time looking for gifts

These painted wooden boards contain the written
		wishes of the folks who purchase them

A beautiful garden in old Kyoto

The Purifying Water Temple was a highlight for many of us. It is a beautiful retreat set high in a forest. People come here from all over to listen to the monks chanting, make wishes, and take a sip from the "purifying water."

Meg becomes purified

The Purifying Water Temple
Our second day in Kyoto was spent visiting the Gold Temple, a spectacular building and garden that dates back to 1220.

The Gold Temple

Tim and Alvaro getting full

The gang decides which way to go

Tim, Luciana, Cheryl, and Alvaro visited the tea house where they drank hot tea and ate a tiny cake. Jen, Allen, Meg, and LittlGuy opted to sit in the shade and eat ice cream.

Once the gang was fully assembled again, it took us awhile to figure out our next destination, which happened to be a big artisans shopping area where we did LOTS of shopping for friends and family before heading back to Shirahama.

August 12
We got back into the work routine beginning with a plankton swim by Jen during semi-high tide. Not many jellies were caught in the net, however we did obtain two more new species to add to the list. One of the organisms caught was Carybdea sivickisi a species never reported from Shirahama.

Side Note: During hightide one can expect to find higher diversity but lower abundance. During low tide one can expect to find lower diversity, but more abundance.

Carybdea sivickisi a species not known from Shirahama
Speaking of the list, Tim and Alvaro spent the morning comparing and combining the species of medusae and hydroids the different groups have found. There was not too much overlap in what was found in Shirahama and what was found on each of the two different Hokkaido trips. With our trip half over we have 71 different non-anthozoans (sea anemones). Meg and Luciana have about 30 different anthozoans.
The day proceeded with various team members working in the lab, tide pooling and snorkeling for animals, making future travel plans, and visiting the aquarium where a local TV station was filming Shin leading a tour.

Here are a couple of tidbits from today's work:

  • Obtaining Carybdea sivickisi was a huge hit for all the medusae workers.
  • Meg and Luciana were really excited about the Calliactis polypus that was found by the snorkling guys.
  • Alvaro saw a beautiful Solanderia of a different color then we have seen before. It was a yellowish-orange instead of dark purple. He got beautiful pictures despite injuring himself on the rocks.
  • 71 + 30 = over 100 different organisms so far...

    Now some drama:

  • Alvaro was attacked by a clownfish. To hear him tell the story is hysterical. I guess the little fish REALLY did not want his sea anemone intruded upon.
  • Allen stepped on a nail and we are hoping the two hours of snorkling after the injury has cleaned it out well enough.
  • Meg checking out some animals
    August 13
    Another full day spent in the lab and out in the field. Allen met with Fukami-san, an extremely helpful cnidarian researcher here at the Seto Marine Biological Laboratory, to discuss big phylogenetic analyses of corals.
    Alvaro working on the scope
    Allen collecting traps from the floating docks Allen and Jen retrieved the Trichoplax, hydroid, anemone traps hanging at the floating docks.
    © 2006 -- All images copyright by Cheryl Ames, Allen Collins, Jennifer Collins, Meg Daly, Luciana Gusmao, Antonio Marques, and/or Alvaro Migotto and may not be copied or re-used without explicit permission.