Blue Pioneers Program | What have the blue pioneers been up to lately? | Duke Kunshan University


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Blue Pioneers Program | What have the blue pioneers been up to lately?


After the first training module at the end of September, the blue pioneers formed deep friendships. In the past two months, 20 trainees participated in the second intensive training module and embarked on an independent research for their capstone projects. Let's take a look at their training and their capstone projects.

Second Module 10.22-10.25 @ Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Oceanography

From the 22nd to the 25th, the Environmental Research Center at Duke Kunshan University and School of Oceanography Shanghai Jiao Tong University carried out theoretical training for the "Blue Pioneers Program”. The theme of this training is "Marine Science and Biodiversity." Ten professors from the School of Oceanography at Shanghai Jiao Tong University led in-depth, multi-angled, and content-rich courses for our Blue Pioneers.

2020.10.22 Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony was held on the morning of October 22. ZHOU Meng, Dean of the School of Oceanography at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, LI Wei, Secretary of the Party Branch, and TIAN Bingxue, Associate Dean, as well as professors and students attended the event.

At the opening ceremony, Dean ZHOU Meng said that Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Oceanography and Duke Kunshan University Environmental Research Center have a long history of exchange and cooperation. Academician SU Jilan also participated in the Blue Pioneers Program last year. This year, the School of Oceanography will be even more involved, bringing a range of rich and innovative course offerings. He also hopes that in the future, the School of Oceanography and the Environmental Research Center can cooperate more in areas such as professional training and scientific research.

Secretary LI Wei said that the history cooperation between Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Duke Kunshan University provides a powerful platform for the Blue Pioneers Program. Both parties believe greatly in the importance of professional training. The School of Oceanography at Jiao Tong University has thoroughly prepared for this and recruited outstanding members of their own faculty to help. The curriculum was extensively planned and prepared by the Associate Dean of Teaching and her team. She hopes that students will learn through this course and simultaneously forge deep friendships with the professors. The School of Oceanography also hopes to provide them with long-term support beyond the program.

Course Review

Dean ZHOU Meng titled his course "Into the Ocean.” He described the relationship between mankind and the ocean from a historical perspective through fisheries, culture, maritime trade, and modern resources. He used many vivid examples such as Antarctic krill and the plastic industry to illustrate how humans are constantly transforming the earth, environment, and ecology, and causing great damage. He says that we need to fundamentally change our habits, publicly advocate for environmental protection, strengthen college marine education, popularize science education for middle and elementary school students, and call on everyone to act together to cultivate the next generation of talent.

Professor ZHU Zhu spoke on "Marine Ecology and Phytoplankton,” framing the issue from a biological perspective. She started by defining ecology and several types of interactions between organisms and introduced basic information on topics such as land, ocean, and polar sea ice. She emphasizes the important role of phytoplankton in an ecosystem and talks about harmful algal blooms and the impact of global climate change on phytoplankton.

Professor CAO Ling, who specializes in marine strategy, lectured on “Sustainable Fisheries.” She started by defining five aspects of sustainability: global food security, fishery contribution, aquaculture development and challenges, fishing industry development and challenges, and discourse between stakeholders. Through illustrative charts and powerful videos, she called for everyone to establish a more accurate and complete perspective of the ocean.

Professor ZENG Cong, who also specializes in marine strategy, lectured on “Marine Protected Areas.” He described in detail why marine protected areas should be built and how to scientifically identify marine protected areas, how to manage such areas, the current status of marine protected areas in China, and the future of marine protection.

CUI Xingqian, professor of marine geology, lectured on "Marine Geology and Biology.” He talked about biomarkers as evidence of early life evolution, early marine environments, and the co-evolution of life — the exploration of major geological issues from Neoproterozoic to Early Cambrian as well as the three parts of the carbon cycle and its key processes.

HU Huanting, professor of marine chemistry, talked about global climate change in recent years, climate cycles in the past 800,000 years, climate change in older geological history, geological archives of paleoclimate, the reconstruction of ancient CO2 concentration, and the impact of human activities on Earth, etc. She also discussed whether climate change is reversible.

CHEN Sang, professor of marine chemistry, talked about the discovery of the past ice age, the birth of astronomical theories, and isotope geochemistry in his lecture, "Pleistocene Ice Age: From the Alps to the Sea Floor.” He concluded that glaciers are an indispensable part of the earth's climate system, and they have also undergone tremendous changes throughout geological history. In the past hundreds of thousands of years, the climate of the earth correlates with the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. He says the future of human civilization is closely related to our own choices.

In "Human Interference and Climate Change,” LIU Hailong, professor of ocean physics, introduced the Earth’s climate system and the various factors involved, climate classification, climate change, etc., and then talked about the manifestation, causes, and effects of climate change and what we should do moving forward.

ZHONG Yisen, professor of ocean physics, lectured on "Exploring the Laws of Marine Natural Phenomenon.” He first talked about aspects of ocean history, ocean phenomenon, ocean nature, sea water movement, etc., in easy-to-understand language and through descriptive charts. He interacted with the students, letting them tell their own stories so that they might have a deeper understanding of the natural laws of the ocean.

In "Marine Ecology and Ecological Engineering", LI Ji, professor of ocean biology, lectured on the polar marine ecosystem in the context of climate change, the ecological engineering of algae and the application of algae materials, the low-carbon economy of the ocean, and marine pollution. These topics are both academic and relevant.

Through their lectures, the faculty of the School of Oceanography gave the blue pioneers a better understanding of the ways in which marine life responds to climate change and the complexity of human disturbance to the ocean. At the same time, the dialogue between the professors and trainees will also help promote more cooperation between Chinese academia and non-governmental departments in marine protection. In the future, the Department of Oceanography at Shanghai Jiao Tong University will also expand in-depth cooperation with the Environmental Research Center at Duke Kunshan University in marine public welfare and other areas.

The thoughts of the Blue Pioneers

In the four-day training, the blue pioneers listened carefully and actively asked questions in every class. This kind of focused, eager, enthusiastic and positive attitude also deeply impressed the professors of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The trainees said that the courses were very informative, and that they have learned a lot.

Under the guidance of professors from Shanghai Jiaotong University, we were able to return to 4.6 billion years ago and experience the changes of the earth and the change of species in the long river of history. We also learned about the transformation of the earth by modern technology. In just a few days, our perspective has broadened so much. Whether it’s understanding of paleontology or paleoclimate, or understanding the atmosphere, the carbon cycle, and ocean dynamics, they all make you feel like humans are but a drop in the ocean. We need to learn to coexist with nature and protect the sea.

Geophysics/Chemistry/Geology/Climate/Bioengineering...It feels so far away, but in fact it is closely related to our daily lives! I am really grateful to Dean ZHOU Meng and the professors for their professionalism, 10 topics in 4 days! In particular, I’m inspired by Dean Zhou's mission to protect the ocean. We’re very fortunate to be able to participate in their class. We are so happy! Thank you "Blue Pioneers Program"! I'm already looking forward to the next meeting!

After the second training

Capstone projects

After the second training, the blue pioneers began to prepare for independent research for their capstone projects. The project is a very important part of the "Blue Pioneers Program”, which aims to train students to learn, turn knowledge into practice, and propose practical solutions to marine environmental problems. In the last module, each team will demonstrate their achievements in the "Blue Pioneers Program” through a roadshow. Excellent groups will have the opportunity to get funding from the foundation and turn ideas into reality.

The Blue Pioneers drafted a preliminary research framework, focusing on marine education, sustainable fisheries and species protection.

Blue Power Bank -Investment and financial transaction platform for a sustainable aquaculture industry

"Aquaculture companies generally face financing difficulties. Aside from the inherently high risks of aquaculture business, they also currently lack systematic scientific rating of the aquaculture industry. The quantitative index needs to be improved urgently. This group plans to launch Blue Power Bank, the "Sustainable Farming Industry Investment and Financial Transaction Platform." A scientific evaluation model is used to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of aquaculture enterprises and to help them improve their fisheries to get better financial support."

Blue Badge Challenge Program

"Based on the United Nations Youth Global Alliance (YUNGA) project, the badge challenge system allows young people to become mentors, encourages innovation, and deepens their marine education."

APP Species & Habitat Protection App

"Using APP/small programs as a launch pad, this project will provide the public, experts, and NGOs with a platform for sharing marine biological and ecological information. The public can effectively supervise illegal activities and gain a sense of participation and accomplishment. Experts can gather data and NGOs can get corresponding scientific and government support while also gathering data."

Large yellow croaker breeding project in Ningde City, Fujian Province

The large yellow croaker is a sea fish unique to China. It inhabits the bottom of the offshore shallows. It is a widely loved species. Wild large yellow croaker resources were seriously damaged by repeated overfishing in the 1970s and the development of breeding technology. On the one hand, it solves the urgent needs of consumers, but on the other hand, there are tons of environmental problems. Problems like water pollution in aquaculture, feeding of trash to fish, and high breeding density have attracted attention. Therefore, breeding of large yellow croaker urgently needs to be improved. In order to take into account ecological protection and the economic benefits to fishermen, a project team visited fishermen’s communities to better understand the situation and used ASC tools to promote sustainable aquaculture improvements and provide sustainable aquatic products. One solution is to look for more sales channels to ensure the health and integrity of the local ecosystem and achieve sustainable consumption dividends through sustainable large yellow croaker farming."

Coastal Observation Manual

"Make a set of coastal zone observation manuals, including an overview of China’s oceans, safety guidelines and how to observe, as well as the characteristics of different habitat types and common organisms, to help the public understand the biodiversity of the intertidal zone. Develop a manual that suits the current domestic situation, and provide reference materials for nature education institutions, NGOs, and other intertidal zone exploration and observation."