Research Activities

Osaka Aquarium Biological Research Institute of Iburi Center (OBIC)

Iburi of Tosashimizu City, Kochi Prefecture is home to many of the marine animals exhibited at the KAIYUKAN. In the coastal area bordering the Pacific Ocean, whale sharks and other large migratory fishes as well as various other marine species come into the region carried by the Japan Current (also known as the Kuroshio Current).

In Iburi, which is blessed with an abundance of marine life, the Osaka Aquarium Biological Research Institute of Iburi Center (OBIC) was established on September 24, 1997, as a research laboratory of Osaka Aquarium KAIYUKAN. OBIC consists of a research building and a large circular tank of about 20 m in diameter, about 5 m in depth, with a volume of some 1,600 tons of water. The main purposes of OBIC are to collect and manage marine creatures to be exhibited at the KAIYUKAN, carry out biological research on them and conduct a basic study on marine life inhabiting waters around Cape Ashizuri in Tosashimizu City.

In collaboration with local fishermen, OBIC collects marine animals to be exhibited at the KAIYUKAN and keeps them in a tank at OBIC or in a growing pool in Iburi Port in order to feed them and manage their health conditions. After thorough feeding training and health management, the marine animals are transported to the KAIYUKAN from OBIC to debut as exhibits of the aquarium.

In a joint study with Kyoto University and Kochi University, and with the cooperation of local fishermen and other Iburi community members, OBIC has also worked on underwater biological research of marine animals and an investigation of fish species inhabiting nearby waters. The joint study results were published as a book titled “Fishes of the Kuroshio Current, Japan” on April 20, 2001.

On December 12, 2009, OBIC established a second tank with a total volume of 3,300 tons of water (19 m long × 31 m wide × 5 m deep + 8 m long × 8 m wide × 5 m deep). In the second tank, OBIC staff members keep whale sharks and other large fish and carry out various health-management training programs, with the aim of conducting biological research and breeding studies on these mysterious marine creatures.

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