I've been invited to give a lecture about turfgrass selection and management in Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands. This Ocean Expo Research Center Special Lecture will be held on 24 August from 13:30 to 15:00 at the Ocean Expo Park. I'm excited and honored to be going back to deliver a lecture about some of my latest research. The last time I was there, I was studying the whale sharks. This time, the focus will be on something different.
The Ryukyu Islands have a subtropical climate that is noted for its high rainfall. In fact, I'm here now measuring photosynthetic irradiance, and there is a typhoon passing by that rather complicates my data collection. I found a break in the rain to collect some data earlier today.
In this type of climate, there are multiple species of grass that can grow. Just on the island of Okinawa, we can find Cynodon, Paspalum, Zoysia, Agrostis, Stenotaphrum, Axonopus, and Eremochloa, along with various weedy species, and many sports turf areas are overseeded with Lolium or Poa in the winter. Hawaii is a wonderland of grasses because of its diverse climate and elevation changes. So are the Ryukyu Islands. The challenge comes in choosing which grass will perform the best, and how best to manage that grass, because the climate is difficult for grasses with a high light requirement (such as bermudagrass) to grow well.
In this special lecture, I'll be talking about how we can understand grass characteristics and requirements in the context of the distinctive climate of Okinawa. It is open to the public, and the audience, in addition to researchers from Ocean Expo, will include landscape architects, golf course greenkeepers, city and prefectural officials, and anyone who is interested in this topic. When I spoke on this topic earlier this year at Hong Kong, Dr. John Kaminski called it "one of the best talks" he has seen with "great insights" into why certain grasses perform well and the implications of that.
Since then, I've been botanizing and collecting data at Thailand, Hong Kong, and in the Ryukyu Islands, and this lecture is going to be even better. I hope you can join me at Okinawa later this month.