Faculty members of Partido State University partook in the one-month Education Program on Coastal Resource Management from the Viewpoint of Kuroshio Science which spanned from November 23 to December 21, 2019, conducted at Kochi University (KU) in Japan.

PSU delegates during the Courtesy Call to KU Executive Director of Regional Collaboration, International Affairs for the Education Program of Coastal Resource Management from the Viewpoint of Kuroshio Science

Mr. Rolan Jon Bulao, Partido Institute of Economics director who is also a faculty member of the College of Business and Management, and Mr. Diomerl Baldo of ParSU Caramoan Campus were selected to represent ParSU to the said program. They were accompanied by ParSU Vice President for Administration and Finance, Dr. Arnel Zarcedo who also delivered a lecture at Kochi University.

The program started with a courtesy call with Kochi University’s Executive Director for Regional Collaboration, Dr. Hiroyuki Ukeda and the head of the International Exchange Office, Dr. Hideo Kadowaki. Participants from both universities shared their research tracks and expressed their eagerness to create collaborations for future research projects.

Participants were also given the opportunity to observe the fisheries and marine science laboratories at the KU USA marine station. They were able to observe the basic tools and equipment used by the professors and students of KU in their experiments. Dr. Gyo Itani, one of the professors in the Kuroshio Science Graduate Program, guided the participants as they tour the wet laboratories which are supplied with high-end vessels and oxygen tanks that enable optimal growth of experimental subjects.

Kochi University’s boat vessels used in the experiments sampling (Left) and Basic laboratory tools in Fisheries and Marine Science Laboratory Works (Right)

The program included lectures with topics on the economics of coastal resource management. The first formal topic of the lecture series was the introduction to Kuroshio Science and Environmental Economics. The next topics included thinking about coastal resource management from the viewpoint of Social Science and thinking about coral reef and community degradation problems.

In the third week, Professor Emeritus Yoshinori Morooka, an agricultural economist, took charge of the lectures and site exposures where a comparison of land reform programs and agricultural productions between Japan and the Philippines was discussed. It was well established that the agrarian reform programs of the two Asian countries are rooted in the historical backgrounds of each country.

The participants were also taught of new statistical analysis software called “R”. R is a programming language and free software environment for statistical computing and graphics supported by the R Foundation for Statistical Computing. The R language is widely used among statisticians and data miners for developing statistical software and data analysis (Hornik, 2015). Slowly, the features were discussed, and the participants were able to analyze prepared sample data from previous research undertakings of the university.

Photo collection from the public market of Tosa Kure (Left), Nakatosa Town Art Gallery with Dr. Yoshinori Morooka, professor emeritus of KU (Top Right), and experiencing the local market of Tosa Kure, once one of the busiest market in Shikoku island, Japan (Bottom Right)

The last week in Japan was designed to be spent in the laboratory of Dr. Satoshi Kubota at KU Oko Campus where the medical school is located. This public hospital is the most advanced medical facility in Kochi Prefecture. A separate research center that prides its advanced molecular biology and biotechnology techniques is erected within the vicinity of the medical institution.

The natural product fractionation or separation was also tackled during the course of Kubota Sensei’s lecture. Different techniques such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), affinity chromatography, ion-exchange chromatography, and reverse-phase chromatography was introduced. Dr. Kubota also explained the basics of plasmid insertion using bacteria E. coli. The biotechnology procedures that were only read at scientific journals turned into real-life practices that participants were able to fully understand upon demonstration. It was fascinating that all reagents and chemicals, the DNA kit, templates, buffer, primers, and nucleotides were already in the laboratory and they can use them instantly. Further, the DNA sequencing which usually takes a month after sending in molecular laboratories in Korea, took just one day in KU for the results to be analyzed.

To end the month-long program, the participants were able to assist Ms. Teresa Avila-Mendoza, a faculty member of ParSU San Jose-Lagonoy Campus, in the preparation of her sample (Croaker Fish) for proximate analysis, analyzing parameters such as moisture, protein, carbohydrates, lipids, ash and dietary fiber for her Ph.D. dissertation.

Bulao and Baldo returned to the Philippines on December 23, 2019.

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