Akihiro KIJIMA (Tohoku Univ.) ･ Toshi Nagata (AORI) ･ Katsunori FUJIKURA (JAMSTEC)
More than 5 years have passed since Great East Japan Earthquake (GEJE) hit the northern part of Japan on at 14:46, March 11, 2011. It was the most serious earthquake in Japan and the fifth most powerful one ever recorded in the world. The traces of the damages are easily recognizable on shorelines and villages along the rias coast. Facilities for fishery, which is the major industry in the area, have not still been fully recovered. It may take a while till towns are reconstructed and people resume their daily life.
What kind of damages did GEJE cause to marine ecosystems? Bottom structures changed a lot? Seagrass beds still remains? Were there any changes in water current? How about living organisms? Can the off-coast area still be good fishing ground? In order to answer these questions and also help the recovery of fisheries industry, ten-years project, TEAMS (Tohoku Ecosystem-Associated Marine Sciences) was launched in January 2012 supported by MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan).
TEAMS comprises three major institutions, Tohoku University (representative), Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, the University of Tokyo, and JAMSTEC（Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology), and more than 200 members from all over Japan. Research on physics, chemistry, biology, fishery, geography, oceanography, modelling have been conducted in the area. The objective of TEAMS is to conduct extensive research in the area suffered by GEJE. Part of the results are seen at the website.
Because GEJE was such a huge earthquake and caused damages to both environments and human societies, it raised numerous issues to consider in future. For environmental scientists, it is critical to share the scientific knowledges obtained among international academic societies and also among people. This makes it possible to prepare for the possible future disasters. TEAMS will make an effort to continuously conduct research in the area, and also to convey scientific experiences, knowledges and perspectives to the world.