Wed, Jun 27, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Local university discovers 10 new species of sea slug


National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung City has discovered 10 new species of sea slug, a university spokesman announced yesterday.

National Sun Yat-sen University was one of the few universities granted subsidies by the Ministry of Education in 2005 as part of a NT$50 billion (US$1.5 billion), five-year plan aimed at enhancing the quality of academic research.

In all, the university's research team had identified 150 species of the marine creatures, said Michael Mok (莫顯蕎), a professor at the Institute of Marine Biology.

By comparison, only four or five species of sea slug had been found off the coast of Australia, Mok said. Between 2,700 and 3,000 species of sea slug have been identified worldwide, he added.

Nearly 120 of the sea slug species collected by the university had not previously been found in Taiwan and 10 may have been discovered for the first time, Mok said.

He said that few of the animals had previously been recorded in the country's scientific literature.

Sixty-one of the species were found in the Wai-an Sea off Penghu Island.

Mok urged the government to designate the waters off the island as a protected area, saying it was an environmental asset.

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