Since the 1960s HyARC, STEL, OCR and GSES at Nagoya University have carried out observational and theoretical modeling studies of the earth system and earth environment that encompass hydrospheric and atmospheric sciences, earth and planetary sciences, and geo-electromagnetic solar physics. These institutes are now recognized globally for their achievements. Through strong collaboration and integration of these institutes, the 21st COE Program “SELIS-COE” was successfully carried out from 2003 to 2008. This program developed a new research and education framework for the study on the sun-earth-life interactive system or “the seamless earth” including the active role of the biosphere. This unique framework was key in developing a leading role for SELIS not only in Japan but also globally. The new SELIS is a follow-up framework to the SELIS-COE, aiming to integrate earth and ecological sciences, and to develop a new synthetic science of global change, which will collaborate with and ultimately lead the international global change programs.
To fully understand and solve issues on global change, such as global warming, a new geo-biospheric science needs to be developed – one that merges earth science based on physical and chemical methods and biospheric science based on ecology and physiology. Internationally, studies on the earth system and its variability have been promoted in programs such as the “Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP)” under the collaboration of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), the International Biosphere-Geosphere Programme (IGBP). However, in Japan, a traditional vertical division of research and education prevails; this system inhibits the growth of truly integrated and interdisciplinary studies. An urgent and important task is, therefore, to establish a new system for research and education for a synthetic understanding of the earth environment system through close collaboration between the earth and biological sciences.
To understand the earth system - including the biosphere and humano-sphere - and its changes, it is essential to strengthen and develop our pioneering SELIS-COE framework for research and education for the seamless earth system study. Under these circumstances, we have established a new virtual institute SELIS (Study consortium for Earth-Life Interactive System) within the university involving HyARC, STEL, OCR, GSES, and GSBS. This new SELIS will be further developed as an international node for global change studies, in collaboration with related national and international institutions and organizations. We believe that SELIS should play an important role in activation and development of interdisciplinary research and education for the global change and earth environment.