The Establishment of the Marine Ecology Research Institute and
Its Subsequent Development
The Marine Ecology Research Institute (MERI) was established in December of 1975 as an incorporated foundation under the joint jurisdiction of the then Environment Agency, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry; its aim was to carry out scientific research on the impact of power plant cooling water intake and discharge on marine organisms and their environment. Subsequently, on 1 April 2012, the institute became a public interest incorporated foundation.
At the time of its founding, the institute carried out research that focused on topics of high public concern. These studies included using transmitting tags to track fish behavior in the area offshore of power plants, and using experimental devices to manipulate water temperature and observe its effect on long-term growth and behavior.
Since then, we have expanded the scope of our research beyond the impacts of power plant cooling water intake and discharge to encompass a wide range of topics relating to marine organisms and their environment such as marine radioactivity, eutrophication, soil runoff, intensified ultraviolet radiation, and the reduction of seaweed beds.
In recent years, in addition to investigating methods for forecasting environmental impacts on marine ecosystems and carrying out experimental studies on trace chemicals in the marine environment, we have also carried out research on climate-change induced ocean warming and ocean acidification and have worked to develop monitoring techniques relating to sub-seafloor carbon dioxide storage. Furthermore, in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake, we have been studying radiation levels in the seawater, ocean sediments, and fish and shellfish within the region impacted by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident.
We at the MERI hope to continue serving the needs of society in our capacity as a public interest incorporated foundation by actively communicating our research results to the public in order to contribute to the preservation of marine organisms and their environment.