Prof. Furuya Lectures on Ocean Desertification in New York

On September 30, Professor Ken Furuya, director and executive vice president of UTokyo and a board member of Friends of UTokyo, Inc, gave a lecture titled “The Expanding Oceanic Desert” and was welcomed at a reception (at Morrison & Foerster LLP) during his visit to New York City.
Dr. Furuya, who received his Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees from UTokyo, served as dean of the Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences at UTokyo. His area of expertise is aquatic bioscience with a special interest in marine phytoplankton and their role in the ecosystem. He has served on numerous international scientific oceanographic committees, including the Global Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Bloom (GEOHAB) program. For details see
In his lecture, Dr. Furuya addressed the complex topic of ocean desertification, including the role of phytoplankton. He defined ocean “deserts” as areas of ocean where animal and plant life is extremely sparse and reviewed possible factors contributing to the development of these areas. In particular, he singled out the harmful effects of global warming on the earth’s oceans.
As he pointed out, seventy percent of the earth consists of ocean and sixty percent of the ocean (or roughly 40% of the earth’s surface) is made up subtropical seas which are now considered ocean “desert” zones. The implications of these expanding ocean “desert” zones, including the potential impact on a wide range of marine wildlife, were also discussed.
He concluded his talk by stating that “The changes progressing in the environment on a global level are an important issue for humanity which has relied on the bounties of the marine ecosystem.
The endangered oceans mean that mankind (itself) is in danger. It is imperative that mankind work together across national borders (award) to find a solution to this issue as urged by the Sustainable Development Goals initiatives started in 2015.”
Dr. Furuya’s lecture was followed by a stimulating question and answer session and an informal reception.

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