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Rescuing Marine Ecology: Alliance between NSYSU, UCSD, and NMMBA

In recent years, scientists have appealed to all sectors of society to heed the marine ecological crisis. In efforts to find solutions for a sustainable environment, National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU), the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium (NMMBA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The three parties jointly announced that they would conduct research on major projects of marine biodiversity, the relationship between coral and Symbiodinium sp., the breeding and cultivation of coral reef species, and the development of marine natural products, in a cooperative transnational academic effort to rescue marine ecosystems.

Hsien-Hua Lee, Dean of College of Marine Sciences, NSYSU, Margaret Leinen, the Director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Chii-Shiarng Chen, Director General of the NMMBA, jointly signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Dean Hsien-Hua Lee pointed out that among the four research projects, research in “marine biodiversity” and “the relationship between coral and Symbiodinium sp.” were exceedingly crucial to maintaining the health of marine ecosystems and protecting the sustainability of marine resources, whereas “the breeding and cultivation of coral reef species” was of value to marine tourism and marine food and “the development of marine natural products” could provide new solutions for medical technology.

“Imagine for a moment, if humans no longer had fish, shrimp, crabs, seaweed, or shellfish to consume. This would not only cause regret for gourmets, but would pose a risk of ecological catastrophe and threaten the survival of humanity!” Hsiu-Chin Lin, Director, Global Academic Research Collaboration Center, NSYSU, has long been invested in marine biodiversity and conservation research. She emphasized that although “global warming” and “ocean acidification” were called the “evil twins,” they are the results of carbon emissions produced by large-scale use of fossil fuels by humans. They affect not only climate changes but also destroy marine ecosystems; it is imperative to find a solution to the crisis of human and for environmental sustainability.

Director Hsiu-Chin Lin further expressed that oceans account for 70% of the earth’s surface area; marine ecosystems of tropical, temperate, or frigid zones are all generally interrelated. Therefore, marine research should explore a large-scale, global perspective. The College of Marine Sciences, NSYSU, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography has bilateral cooperative relationships with the NMMBA; the College of Marine Sciences focuses on tropical marine ecosystems, whereas the Scripps Institution of Oceanography is known for its research in temperate marine ecology. Among them, the NMMBA is the largest professional research unit of marine biology in Taiwan and has large-scale, comprehensively planned cultivation equipment, offering an important field for international academic research and conferences. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography is a world-renowned marine research center of immense scale and has produced three Nobel Prize winners.

NSYSU is the only comprehensive university in Taiwan that has a marine academy of sciences and enjoys a great geographical advantage in the development of marine research. In recent years, research highlights include global carbon cycle research, establishing a new calculation method of deducing the rate of acidification by combining with oceanography, thermodynamics and statistics, research in sediments caused by typhoon in the role of carbon deposition, reactive marine natural products and marine biomass energy. Successful major projects include establishing the Dongsha Atoll Research Station (DARS) providing an internationally renowned research environment, developing a series of underwater inspection instrument for searching for gas hydrate and deep-sea research in general, completing a world-leading power generation technology using Kuroshio Current.
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