Tohoku Ecosystem-Associated Marine Sciences (TEAMS) is a research program created to establish a center for research and development on marine ecosystems, subsidized by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and led by the Tohoku University, the Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute (AORI) of the University of Tokyo, and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC).
The earthquake and tsunami of the Great East Japan Earthquake caused considerable damage to the Pacific coastal areas of the Tohoku region, such as the piling up of rubble, the loss of seaweed beds and tidal flats, and the accumulation of sand and mud on reefs. This resulted in drastic changes to the marine ecosystems, including fishery grounds. As a consequence of these events, restoration of marine ecosystems and reconstruction of industries in the coastal areas have been urgent and important issues. The "Basic Guidelines for Reconstruction in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake" (prepared by the Reconstruction Headquarters in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake on July 29, 2011) stated that "it is necessary to investigate marine ecosystems that were drastically changed by the disaster, to reconstruct fishery grounds, and to form networks among universities, research institutes and private companies that are conducive to the creation of related industries" and that "restoration of fishery grounds and marine resources is necessary through reconstruction of seedling production systems for salmon and trout, restoration of seaweed beds and tidal flats, and understanding the environment of fishery grounds and managing resources appropriately on the basis of scientific findings."
In addition, MEXT discussed how to deal with the Great East Japan Earthquake in Subdivision on Ocean Development, Council for Science and Technology, and made a suggestion titled " The state of research on marine bioresources" on September 16, 2011. The suggestion includes the formation of a network of marine science researchers in universities and research institutes all over Japan, and the establishment of a center for marine science in the Tohoku region, on which the network is based, to continually and systematically promote research and development in the Pacific coastal areas of the Tohoku region. The center for marine science is expected to cooperate with overseas research institutes and private companies, and to develop and continue as an international research center for marine science in the future.
Against this backdrop, this research program forms a network of universities and research institutes, "Tohoku Marine Science Center," led by Tohoku University, AORI of the University of Tokyo, and JAMSTEC, to support restoration and reconstruction, and undertake investigations and research on the marine ecosystems in the coastal and offshore areas of the Tohoku region in cooperation with local governments and relevant ministries and agencies, with the aim of reconstructing the Tohoku region.
TEAMS brings together the forces of researchers in the field of marine science and technology from all over Japan, carries out comprehensive investigations on physical and chemical environments and biological dynamics in the area, clarifies factors controlling the dynamics of marine ecosystems, and aims to provide scientific findings and information that contribute to determine the fishery grounds and to estimate the existing marine resources.