Easy access to 500 "ocean scholarship" themes through Hokkaido University Graduate School initiative, with multilingual materials

Professor Mukai Tohru comments, "The ocean is a treasure trove of the unknown. I want people to experience at least one corner of that." The screen display is the LASBOS YouTube channel.

The search for the next top ocean scientists is in progress. In hopes of cultivating the next generation of fishery science specialists, the Hokkaido University Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences (Hakodate City) is focusing on making educational materials publicly accessible on the Internet. Using videos and other materials, this is an environment that is not limited to only Hokkaido University students, where anyone can casually access ocean scholarship. It is a format that could even be called a new kind of “future investment” that provides learning which transcends the barriers of the college campus.

“To develop future skilled researchers, we want to freely open up the progress we have amassed over the years,” commented project leader Professor Mukai Tohru from the Hokkaido University Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences. He expresses his desire for widespread participation, saying, “Even high school students and students from other universities are more than welcome. We want many people to experience ocean educational materials and study the field.”

The Hokkaido University Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences launched the “Balance de Ocean System” in 2019 as an initiative for creating an educational program that uses the Internet. With the goal of increasing interest in marine research among the young generation, the initiative was already in preparation even before the COVID-19 pandemic emerged and made online lectures commonplace. The homepage was publicly released in October of last year. It focuses on basic content and has educational material in up to a total of 500 themes.

Viewable on the homepage is a special website that uses educational software and a dedicated channel on the video uploading website “YouTube”. This double-pronged program is called “Learning and Study by Balance de Ocean System”, and was shortened to the acronym “LASBOS” as part of the effort to increase name recognition.

On the special website, content is titled by theme and introduced. In the “North Pole Ocean” section, there are explanations of issues such as the phenomenon of sea ice disappearing in the North Pole marine region and surveys of plankton in Greenland, which is situated in the North Pole region.

The YouTube channel shows research into areas such as artificial breeding of sturgeon and artificial freshwater eel seedling production. Viewers can virtually experience a Hokkaido University hands-on course, with content such as the production of canned food using mackerel.

The LASBOS initiative has garnered praise from both within and outside of the school. And indeed, fourth year students in the Hokkaido University Undergraduate School of Fisheries Sciences commented, “It is nice to be able to access research I am interested in any time, without being limited to a specific time or place,” and, “I have heard that students at other schools are also using it. The content is abundant.”

In a questionnaire given to university prep-schools, high school students who have used LASBOS displayed enthusiasm with the material, reporting opinions such as, “I want to look up information on squid chromatophores,” and, “I was surprised by technology development geared towards learning about the ocean.”

LASBOS even provides multilingual material in languages including English and Chinese, aiming to increase interest in the field among young foreign scientists as well. Professor Mukai points out that even though the ocean is a familiar presence in our lives, it still contains a wide array of unsolved mysteries. He expresses his hope that “the initiative can serve as an opportunity to capture interest in ocean scholarship among all kinds of people and inspire people to conduct research in Hakodate.”


Hokkaido University Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences (Hakodate City)