Biology and Art - July

This month’s contribution comes from Ayumi, an undergraduate student interested in Developmental Biology.

26 July UNESCO - International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem

Iriomote (西表) Island is located in the most southern part of Okinawa. Seven species of plants grow in mangrove forests there. Since the environment is limited to saline water, mangroves develop a special root system called pneumatophores, or breathing roots. They differ from the supporting roots (silt roots) in the way that they grow above the water level and take up the atmospheric oxygen through the pores.

The rules are simple: 5-7-5, there is no seasonal reference word (a kigo), but your poem must relate to either biology or the topic of the month, and you are writing in English.
Therefore, Ayumi’s haiku for this month is:

Mangrove mystery
Breathing roots use oxygen
Canoeing 西表Island
Iriomote 島をカヌー


Even though my great-grandmother was familiar with Ikebana, I prefer photography as one of my hobbies. This picture was taken in March this year during my trip to Okinawa to observe the ecosystem of the Iriomote Island. The participants were from Hokkaido University, Kyoto University, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, and of course, TMU. Would you like to explore the southern part of Japan with its abundance of vegetation?

WORDS to learn this month are:
saline water (塩水、淡水、汽水), pneumatophores (呼吸根), silt roots (支柱根), great-grandmother (曾祖母), abundance (豊富)