It has been for over 90 years, since Sun Yat-sen University started the study of marine sciences upon the University’s establishment in 1924. During the period from 2012 to 2015, based on 3 national and 7 provincial research platforms including the “Tianhe-2 super computer center”, the University has undertaken 257 marine-related scientific research projects, which include 33 major national key projects. The total amount of funding received so far is 163.684 million Yuan. Additionally, 10 pilot projects of reform in teaching underwritten by the Ministry of Education and provincial department has been well conducted. In recent years, there are four scientific research directions that are well developed under the discipline of marine sciences focusing on theregion of the Pearl River Estuary and the South China Sea. They are marine biological resources and utilization,estuarine and coastal engineering,marine mineral resources formation and exploration technology and fluvial input and marine ecological influences, respectively.
1. Marine biologicalresources and utilization
As early as 1924, Prof. Hongnian Fei already carried out investigations on thecoastal fishery resources of the South China Sea. In 1928, Profs. Tinghu Zhu,Huisheng Zhu, Hongda Zhang et al. completed the first scientific expedition tothe Xisha Islands in Chinese history, and published scientific papers on thebiological resources of the Xisha Islands. Afterwards, the Xisha Islands waslisted as marine practice base of Sun Yat-sen University by the nationalgovernment. In the 70's of last century, as one of the pioneers, Prof. KanghouLong initiated the research field of marine biological compounds in China. Inthe 90's of last century, the fish artificial spawning technology developed byacademician Haoran Lin was internationally taken as "the thirdmilestone" of fish artificial spawning. Since 2012, academician Haoran Linpresided over one project and two subjects supported by the national 863program, two special subjects and four sub-projects of the public welfareindustry, and three projects supported by the state key program of nationalnatural science foundation of China. He undertook constructive tasks, such as"Technical system of national shrimp industry", "National marinenatural product compound library", "China-ASEAN joint research andpromotion center of mariculture technology" and so on. He broke throughthe large-scale breeding and hybrid seed production techniques of the seagrouper offspring and solved the marine fishing offspring problem of thegrouper in China, which protected the natural resources of the grouper. For thefirst time, he established the ecological prevention and control theory ofanimal diseases in mariculture. In particular, he established the ecologicalprevention and control technology of the main prawn diseases withoutantibiotics, which solved the problem of white spot syndrome plagued theworld's prawn culture industry for more than 20 years. He also set up the firstnational marine natural product compound library. 76 SCI-included papers hasbeen published, including 17 JCR-Q1(ranging of the top 5%) papers. He also published 5 extended edition ESI papersand 2 specially invited review papers. He leads the development in the fieldsof utilization of marine fish and shrimp resources and marine natural productcompounds in China.
2. Estuarine and coastalengineering
As early as the 1960s, thisdiscipline was designed to be one of the three national research bases in thefield regarding to estuary and coast. It has systematically investigated theoceanic dynamics, sedimentology and morphology in various temporal-spatialscales in the Pearl River estuary and adjacent coastal waters, the land-seainteractions, and the variability of South China coast zone driven by theglobal climate change. The research has provided lots of technological supportsfor the land reclamation in the South China coast, the constructions of morethan 60 harbors, and other significant coastal engineering. We have undertaken 18vital projects, including the national 973 research projects, the basicscientific projects, the international key projects, and the national naturalscience foundation projects since 2012. Meanwhile, the numerical model rangingfrom the Pearl River estuary to the Guangdong coast, the South China model andthe coupled regional-meteorological model have been developed. In addition, wehave systematically explored the oceanic dynamics and deposition processes in amicro scale, the coastal morphodynamics, and the exploitation and protection ofthe coastal resources. Moreover, the new evolution pattern of themorphodynamics in the modern Pearl River delta has been identified, and the newmechanisms of the maximum turbidity zone has been well explained. More than 17 papershave been published in top international journals, such as JGR, Marine Geology.Some of the researches have been presented as highlighted paper published inthe Journal of Marine Geology in 2014. The international symposium of evolutionand sedimentary processes in the Pearl River delta had been successfully heldin 2013. Definitely, we have demonstrated ourselves that the discipline ofestuarine and coastal engineering plays a vital role in the South China coast,especially in the research with regard to the Pearl River delta.
3. Marine mineral resources formation and exploration technology
Systematic researches have been conducted onNano-mineralogy of gas hydrate in South China Sea, geochemical tracing system,mineralization mechanism of nodule and crust at seabed, Nano geochemicalcharacteristics of the seabed hydrothermal sulfide precious metals, geology ofoil and gas field development, dynamics of petroleum accumulation, basinstructure analysis and simulation, formation of the south china sea, petroleummicroorganism, microbial oil and gas exploration, microbial approach ofinhibiting oil spills and mineralization mechanism of microorganism. Theresearches on marine energy, mineralization mechanism of metallic minerals andexploration technology are outstanding and featured. Specially, the studies onregional tectonic structure of the South China Sea, basin formation andevolution, patterns of petroleum migration and accumulation have assisted thepetroleum exploration and development of the South China Sea. Since 2002, morethan 50 research projects have been completed which include national 973research projects, state key program of national natural science foundation,national key projects on oil and gas science and technology. More than 30papers have been published on top international journals, including GCA, OreGeology Reviews. In 2013, an international symposium on mineral deposit modeland mineral exploration was successfully held.
4. Fluvial input andmarine ecological influences
Multi-disciplinestudies have been conducted to explore the key scientific research associated withthe marine dynamics, marine ecology and the marine environmental sciences. Theresults achieved include the spatial-temporal distributions of nutrients overthe region spanning river network-estuaries-coastal sea-open ocean; mechanismsstudy of the impact of river plume dynamics on the marine ecological processesin estuaries and coastal seas; numerical simulation of the red tides occurrencein the HongKong area which explains why high biomass HAB could occur in lownutrient waters; development of the concept of ecological capacity; thespatial-temporal distributions of POPs in the Pearl River estuary and theircontrolling factors; mechanism of the bio-transformation of POPs and theadaptation and utilization of mangrove ecosystem on POPs. Since 2012, thisdirection of study has supervised about 30 projects including national 973research projects, state key program ofnational natural science foundation. 28 papers have been published in top internationaljournals (SCI indexed). In 2014, the 5th annual conference of the137th working group of the international science association forocean research was successfully held.
In2015, with the mission to follow the Chinese Government’s strategy of “MaritimePower” and “Maritime Silk Road”, Sun Yat-Sen University has launched its newplan for the marine sciences development. In the new plan, the marine scienceswill be the key discipline to be developed in Zhuhai Campus (covering 3.3square kilometer) and be supported by the world fastest Tianhe-2 supercomputer.In addition, a proposal to build a marine research vessel with the capacityreaching 6000 tons has been approved by the Ministry of Education recently.