Focusing on how the community is using PhotosynQ technologies. This month we are highlighting Osamu Watanabe, a researcher at the Agriculture Facility at Shinshu University studying invasive weed species and their effect on rice.
When Osamu Watanabe was first introduced to PhotosynQ by Dr. Kenji.Takizawa, a coworker at his laboratory at Shinshu University in Japan, he thought not only would this platform be great for him, but also his students! Osamu graduated from and works in the Agricultural Facility at Shinshu University in the Nagano prefecture in central Japan. Nagano was the site of the 1998 Winter Olympics as the surrounding terrain is very mountainous, which is not only great for skiing, but also for high altitude terraced rice farming!
Dr. Watanabe’s research focuses on invasive weed species in Japan and how they effect both the natural environment and agriculture. In Japan, rice is the most important food crop grown, and Dr. Watanabe uses his MultispeQ to measure the photosynthesis of both the rice and common weed species such as Ambrosia trifida (Giant Ragweed) and Oryza sativa (Weedy Red Rice). In these cases, Dr. Watanabe will “measure the photosynthesis characteristics of the plants in different density communities using MultispeQ”. This data can help them determine the weed density where the weeds outcompete the crop, causing a drop in crop photosynthesis. Measurements are also made after herbicides have been applied to evaluate how herbicide application rate impacts the photosynthetic rate of both the crop and weed.
In addition to research, Dr. Watanabe also teaches multiple classes at the university where he has integrated the PhotosynQ platform into his curriculum. He teaches students in their 3rd year of undergrad, about 50 in the class, all the way up to Master’s students, and they all get out there with MultispeQs, take measurements and learn more about invasive weed species. I was nervous that this might be difficult for his students since Dr. Watanabe says none of them speak English and the platform, app and other aspects are in English. However Dr. Watanabe said that when they pick up devices and create projects they “operate intuitively” and that as “students teach the other students, [their] skills rise, so I only have to watch” He added that “PhotsynQ’s website is very easy to use, simple analysis of the collected data is also available in the tool, so it is very handy!”
It was great to hear the Dr. Watanabe is getting along great with the PhotosynQ platform. He is learning more and more about the weed species he hopes to curtail along with teaching the next generation of plant scientists about PhotosynQ.