Biodiv Sci ›› 2011, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (6): 614-626.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.13185

Special Issue: 中国的海洋生物多样性

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Progress of marine biodiversity studies in China seas

Ruiyu Liu*()   

  1. Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, Shandong 266071
  • Received:2011-10-13 Accepted:2011-11-02 Online:2011-11-20 Published:2011-12-19
  • Contact: Ruiyu Liu


Efforts have been made by scientists studying on the taxonomy, biogeography and biodiversity in China seas since 1950, the establishment of Qingdao Marine Biological Laboratory, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). Over 1,000 papers and 200 volumes of monographs have been published, of which more than 47 volumes are Fauna SinicaInvertebrata (27 volumes on marine biota), 11 volumes of Fauna Sinica Vertebrata are on fishes, and 8 volumes are Flora Algarum Marinarum Sinicarum. Results of studies on biodiversity in whole China seas were summarized in Marine Species and Their Distributions in China’s Seas’ (1994) and Checklist of Marine Biota of China Seas (2008). In the latter volume, new taxonomic results up to 2007 were added, and a total of 22,629 marine species were recorded, with an increase of 5,118 species compared with those reported in 1994. So far, the biodiversity of China seas is high. The results of “Shelf Environment and Bio-resources Survey 1997-2000” and those of “Endangered Species Assessment Project” (2000-2004) published in China Species Red List vols.1, 3, 2A, 2B ( 2004, 2005 and 2009) revealed that under the impacts of global climate change and anthropogenic activities, the biodiversity and bio-resources have seriously declined, the number of endangered species increased, and some major populations collapsed. China joined the World Marine Biodiversity Project “Census of Marine Life” (CoML) in 2004. In the project “Census of Marine Zooplankton”, ecosystem dynamics and biodiversity characteristics had been investigated; and in a survey cruise from Arctic to Antarctic through Equator, 2000 zooplankton samples were taken by R/V “Science I” of Institute of Oceanology, CAS, and 260 DNA barcoding data have been obtained. For the CoML “NRIC: Synthesis Program”, the China Collection Report entitled “Status of marine biodiversity study in China seas” had been drafted and submitted to PLoS ONE for publication, the progress of China’s marine biodiversity and biogeography studies has been reviewed by the present author. To strengthen the conservation of biodiversity and endangered species, 33+21 National Marine Nature Reserves and 7 National Marine Parks have been established up to date. Problems in marine biodiversity study and conservation in China seas are discussed and the following suggestions are put forward: (1) To strengthen the collection of materials (specimens) for marine biodiversity study, a biodiversity background value survey and deep sea collection cruises should be carried out to discover new species and reveal the past, present, and to predict the future trends of major species and biological communities; (2) Carrying on biodiversity monitoring survey in various habitats around the country, to understand the processes and mechanisms of global climate change and human activities impacting biodiversity; (3) Strengthening basic research on change in marine biodiversity, particular the assessment and conservation of biodiversity and endangered species for sustainable development; (4) Minimizing the disparity between the study and conservation of marine and terrestrial (including freshwater) biodiversities, and effective management; and (5) Training young scientists, particularly taxonomists to study different biotic groups systematically.

Key words: progress, marine biodiversity, study and conservation, China seas