National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium

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National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium
ROC-NMMBA Waters-of-the-World 20070513.jpg
Museum entrance
National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium is located in Taiwan
National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium
Location within Taiwan
Established 2000-02-25 (2000-02-25)
Location 2 Houwan Rd.
Checheng, Pingtung County, Taiwan
Coordinates 22°02′47″N 120°41′52″E / 22.046485°N 120.697678°E / 22.046485; 120.697678Coordinates: 22°02′47″N 120°41′52″E / 22.046485°N 120.697678°E / 22.046485; 120.697678
Collections Waters of Taiwan
Coral Kingdom Pavilion
World Waters Pavilion[1]
Website (English)
Land area 35.81 hectares (358,100 m2)
Volume of largest tank 26.40825 cubic metres (6,976 US gal)[1]

The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium (NMMBA; Chinese: 國立海洋生物博物館; pinyin: Guólì Hǎiyáng Shēngwù Bówùguǎn) is an aquarium located on the southern coast of Taiwan near Kenting (northwest of Kenting National Park) in Checheng Township, Pingtung County, Taiwan.

Ticket counters for the museum.
The penguin tank


Planning for the museum began in 1991, and the museum itself was opened on February 25, 2000.[1] In addition to the museum, the park surrounding the museum is an outdoor water park (the largest in Taiwan).[2]

The total area of the park is 96.81 hectares (968,100 m2), while the museum itself covers 35.81 hectares (358,100 m2). The museum has three main exhibits: Waters of Taiwan, Coral Kingdom Pavilion and World Waters Pavilion.[1] The museum also has an 81-metre (266 ft) underwater moving track, the largest underwater tunnel in Asia.[1] The building also has several major divisions including the experiment center for aquatic life, public facilities, research facilities, maintenance facilities, an international conference center, and an academic research center.

In 2015, NMMBA was rated fourth best of its kind in Asia by TripAdvisor, receiving 4.5 out of 5 stars.[3]


The museum has three main exhibitions:[4]

Waters of Taiwan[edit]

The kelp forest tank

This exhibit hall features aquatic animals native to Taiwan, from waters as small as rivers to as vast as the open sea. The exhibits are themed after the water systems of Taiwan, starting from the river and the reservoir to the intertidal zone and finally to the open sea. There is also a touch pool featuring marine invertebrates in the intertidal exhibit area. Animals on display include tilapia, Japanese eel, trout, cuttlefish, nurse sharks, Indo-Pacific tarpon, yellowfin tuna, spotted eagle rays, and a whale shark.[5] The main ocean tanks contains 5,700,000 litres (1,500,000 US gal) of sea water, has a 16.5 m × 4.85 m (54.1 ft × 15.9 ft) acrylic viewing window and an 80-metre (260 ft) shark tunnel.[6]

Coral Kingdom[edit]

The Coral Kingdom exhibit hall shows different coral reef habitats, from shallow waters to deep oceans. Differing environments based on sea depth, pressure, terrain, and light are shown. An underwater tunnel and a sunken ship are also part of the exhibit hall. At the end of exhibit hall is an underwater tunnel and viewing panels showcasing the aquarium's four beluga whales. It is also possible to see the belugas from above water via a pavilion on the second floor. Animals on display include blacktip reef sharks, lionfish, moray eels, cownose rays, unicornfish[disambiguation needed], butterflyfish, and garden eels. Beluga whales are housed in an exhibit with a tunnel that allows underwater viewing.[7]

Waters of the World[edit]

This exhibit covers ancient, Precambrian oceans as well as ocean formation.[8]


Besides public exhibitions, there are two research buildings and a marine station in the museum, dedicated to research in marine biology and ecology, aquaculture, propagation and conservation of marine fauna and flora. Research carried out at NMMBA includes the effects of pollution on coral and fish[9][10] and the effects of light on the developmental expression of fluorescent proteins.[11][12]

In 2014, NMMBA became the first institution to breed the ringed pipefish (Dunckerocampus dactyliophorus) in captivity. The museum used underwater caves and fissured corals to provide an environment for the fish to hatch their eggs. In the 11th month after hatching, the first offspring began mating.[13]

Controversy over sharks[edit]

In March of 2013, Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) accused NMMBA of keeping its whale shark in a tank that was too small for a deep-water animal. The shark, which is labeled “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, had been kept at the aquarium since 2004. EAST claimed that the animal has scars on its tail from hitting coral and the sides of the tank. An official at the aquarium stated that there were plans to tag release the shark in the near future.[14]

On July 10, the aquarium was again criticized for releasing the shark, without a GPS tracking device, in a manner that caused it to be stranded on the beach twice before being towed out to sea. According to an EAST spokesman, "What the aquarium did was not release the whale shark, the aquarium actually abandoned the shark".[15] EAST expressed concerned about the shark's ability to fend for itself after eight years in captivity and the lack of a tracking device that would have allowed scientists to follow its progress. According to the head of NMMBA, Wei-hsien Wang, it "didn't occur to us that it would refuse to swim away but rather would linger near the shore".[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "History". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  2. ^ "Taiwan's largest outdoor water park 'cooling'". The China Post. 2003-08-18. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  3. ^ "NMMBA rated 4th best aquarium in Asia". 2015-07-23. Retrieved 2016-07-26. 
  4. ^ "Exhibition and display description". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  5. ^ "Waters of Taiwan". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  6. ^ "National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium". Retrieved 2015-02-11. 
  7. ^ "Coral Reef Previews". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  8. ^ "Waters of the World". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  9. ^ "Taiwan researcher studies coral pollutants". 2013-11-12. Retrieved 2016-07-26. 
  10. ^ Melissa Roth (2013-08-14). "Taiwan's Coral Reefs and Other Hidden Gems". Retrieved 2016-07-26. 
  11. ^ Tsai Chung-hsien and Jason Pan (2013-06-20). "Coral study may lead to health benefits". Retrieved 2016-07-26. 
  12. ^ Te-Hao Chen (2015). "The beauty and sorrow of a tropical paradise: anthropogenic pollution in coastal water of Kenting National Park, Taiwan". Kuroshio Science. 9–1: 39–44. 
  13. ^ Tsai Tsung-hsien (2014-09-14). "Pingtung museum is the first to breed ringed pipefish successfully in captivity". Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  14. ^ Lee I-chia (2013-03-13). "Groups slam aquarium for keeping whale shark". Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  15. ^ Joy Lee (2013-07-23). "Conservationists slam aquarium's manner of release of whale shark". Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  16. ^ James A. Foley (2013-07-29). "Taiwan Aquarium Lambasted over Botched Shark Release". Retrieved 2017-02-18. 

External links[edit]