Researchers from the US and Taiwan have allegedly discovered an new species of marine sponge that helps feed coral reef communities around the island of Siaoliouciou (小琉球), Pingtung County.
The researchers made the discovery while conducting research on Taiwan’s coral reef ecosystem diversity.
Chris Freeman, a research fellow at the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce, Florida, has collaborated with the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium in Pingtung County on the joint project to explore the diversity of sponges on coral reefs in Taiwan, a spokesman for the aquarium said yesterday.
The research examines the relationships between marine sponges and sponge-associated microbes through climate change, and draws a comparison between sponges in Pingtung’s coral reefs and those in other coral reef regions, such as the Caribbean.
The diversity and abundance of sponges directly reflects the health of the coral reef ecosystem, according to the spokesman.
Sponges keep the reef alive by recycling vast amounts of organic matter to feed snails, crabs and other creatures, according to an international research report.
With the assistance of aquarium research fellow Fan Tung-yun (樊同雲), Freeman gathered 10 varieties of sponges, including one species they believe is newly recorded for the Pacific region.
Freeman has taken specimens back to his laboratory in the US to confirm whether it is a new species.
Sponges are among various types of marine animals that acquire nutrients and food by filtering water through their bodies.
Freeman suggested that Taiwan should protect its diverse and rich coral reef sponges, particularly in the Kenting National Park, the spokesman noted.
The spokesman added that Taiwan’s sponges will play a key role in Freeman’s research and said the results of his research will be published in major international journals.
‘VIRUS DIPLOMACY’: The nation’s expertise in handling COVID-19 was among the reasons that it should not be excluded from the WHO, the European Parliament said The European Parliament this week passed resolutions that support Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHO and its intention to negotiate a trade pact with Taiwan. During its plenary session from Monday to Thursday, the parliament approved resolutions on the foreign policy consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and the EU’s trade policy, parts of which were viewed as friendly toward Taiwan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement yesterday, the ministry welcomed the passage of the resolutions and thanked the parliament for its support for Taiwan. In the first resolution, the parliament cited Beijing’s increasing threats to Taiwan, the crackdown on
LOOPHOLES: The people behind biased media content produced by a Chinese network, likely without sending staff to Taiwan, remain anonymous, a source said Beijing’s latest attempt at psychological warfare through heavily biased online media is aimed at sowing discord and polarizing Taiwanese society, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said. The council’s comment came in response to Chinese network Southeast Television, which late last month began broadcasting an online program featuring commentary by Taiwanese unification supporters that authorities suspect was filmed illegally in Taiwan. To circumvent cross-strait regulations, the broadcaster collaborated with online service provider Baidu to air the series titles Diverse Voices From the Taiwan Strait (台海百家說). Only Taiwanese are shown on camera, without revealing the host, interviewer or production team. In one video, political commentator and
SUPPRESSION: Michael Tsai, a former defense minister, said that Beijing’s list of Taiwan independence advocates contravenes the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights The best way to respond to threats from China against Taiwan independence advocates is for the president to publicly reiterate Taiwan’s sovereignty, former minister of national defense Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) said on Sunday. Chinese media on Nov. 15 said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was compiling “a list of stubborn Taiwanese separatists and will severely punish them in accordance with [China’s] Anti-Secession Law and hold them accountable for their actions for the rest of their lives.” Chinese media subsequently accused Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of being a “first-rate war criminal,” because of his policy on mask exports. “The vast majority
BEIJING INTIMIDATION: The source said that most of the planned measures are confidential, but the first step would be to publicly expose and refute the media reports The government is implementing measures to respond to state-owned Chinese media’s threats against Taiwanese independence advocates, a national security official said on Friday. The Chinese-language Ta Kung Pao — a Hong Kong-based newspaper run by the Chinese government through the Hong Kong Liaison Office — on Nov. 15 reported that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was compiling “a list of stubborn Taiwanese separatists and will severely punish them in accordance with [China’s] Anti-Secession Law and hold them accountable for their actions for the rest of their lives.” The Chinese-language People’s Daily Overseas Edition on Nov. 19 reported that Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌)