After two years of planning, Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica (BRCAS) was ofﬁcially established in January 2004. Dr. Kwang-Tsao Shao served as Acting Director. In line with the
“Convention on Biological Diversity,”BRCAS was formed with the hope of lowering species
extinction, gene disappearance, resource reduction and ecosystem degradation on earth. Dr. Wen-Hsiung Li assumed the Directorship in 2008. Dr. Shu-Miaw Chaw served as Director in December 2016.
The mission of BRCAS is to promote, coordinate, and sponsor basic biodiversity research in Taiwan; to advance domestic and international research collaboration; to integrate biological, biotechnological, ecological, and socio-economical disciplines in pursuit of academic excellence and innovation; and to provide the scientific foundation for the conservation, education, and sustainable use of biodiversity. The Center was formed also to render assistance to and enforce the“Biodiversity Action Plan”, ushered by the Executive Yuan of Taiwan and has contributed to governmental strategy planning on ecological conservation, preservation, and sustainability.
“Systematics and Biodiversity Informatics”was designated as a“Thematic Center”aimed at promoting integration of biodiversity information. The Biodiversity Research Museum is for expanding public awareness of research collections, and is also open to public and school group visiting. The four foci of research in BRCAS are Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystems, Terrestrial Biodiversity and Ecosystems, Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics, and Microbial Diversity and Bioinformatics.
The 22 researchers and research specialists of BRCAS have conducted many projects in and made numerous important contributions to biodiversity. They have published papers in notable scientiﬁc journals, assisted the government in making biodiversity-related policy, and promoted biodiversity education. In 2018, BRCAS research faculty published about 120 SCI papers and held 5 international conferences and 32 seminars. They ranged from basic research to applied ﬁelds that contribute to government policy-making.
The Biodiversity Research Museum maintains a collection of over 56,000 zoological specimens, including ﬁshes, birds, insects, corals, crustaceans, polychaetes, echinoderms, and mollusks. The Museum serves also as the specimen deposition and database center of the national cryobanking of wild animals project. Our herbarium (HAST) focuses mainly on collections of eastern Asia. Currently we have house over 143,000 vascular plant specimens. HAST has specimens for exchange with ca. 30 institutions worldwide.