Algal Reef Is A National-Class Landscape and Worth To Be Listed As A Treasure of World Natural Heritage

Taiwan has the most well-developed algal reef ecosystem in the world, please support us to save Taoyuan algal reef, the treasure is worth to be listed as a world natural heritage.

7000-Year Old Landscape

Biotic reef-building is an extremely slow process. While coral reef grows at an average rate of 1 cm/year, algal reef does even slowler, which takes over 20 years to grow less than 1 centimeter. It took 5000 to 7500 years for algal reef to form, and continue to grow along the coast of Toayuan City.

Precious Biotic Reef Environment

Stony corals are the major reef-builders in the tropical and subtropical ocean, and crustose coralline algae are the “glues” for reef formation.

Nursey of Rich Biodiversity

There is a rich biodiversity in the Datan algal reef, including critically-endangered coral, Polycyanthus chaishanensis, at least 8 undescribed coralline algae, one octopus, and all other kinds of fishes, cnidarians, mollusks, crabs, prawns, and echinoderms.

Home of critical-endagnered coral, polycyanthus chaishanensis

Home of critical-endagnered coral, polycyanthus chaishanensis

In May 1, 2017, Polycyanthus chaishanensis is declared as the critical-endangered species by the Wild Life Act in Taiwan. By morphological, scanning electronic microscopy, and DNA barcoding, we confirmed the occurrence of this species in the Datan algae reef. This once again proves Datan algal reef is a unreplaceable habitat for P. chaishanensis.

Taoyuan Algal reef

Taoyuan Algal reef

Taoyuan algal reef is about 27 km in length along the coast, ranging from Chu-Wei Fishing Harbor, Dayuan Township at the north to the Yun-An Fishing Harbor, Xin-Wu Township.


Why do we need to save Taoyuan Algal Reef?

Why do we need to save Taoyuan Algal Reef?


Crustose coralline algae (CCA) are heavily calcified species and contribute to the growth and development of corals reefs, similar to reef-building corals, in the tropical and subtropical shallow water. In most of cases, CCA play the role as the “glue” to cement coral rubbles and to stablise the structure of reefs. It is hard to imagine that CCA can cement themselves with the growth rate of 0.05 cm.yr-1 to form massive reef structure as we see from coral-CCA biotic reef in the tropical and subtropical shallow water.


A massive “fringing” algal reef does exist along the cost of the Taoyuan City, in the northern Taiwan, and it desperately needs your help! The reef extend continuously in a north-south direction along the coastline (25º07’00.11”N, 121º14’22.23”E and 24º59’19.34”N, 121º00’47.00”E), with approximately 27 km in length and a maximum 450 m in width on the tidal flats. Morover, reef width extending towards sea is underestimated due to a large tidal range of 4 m. Stable Isotope dating on coral skeletons collected from core samples indicate the development of reefs to 7500 BP and made up of CCA mixed with sediment-tolerant coral genera, such as Cyphastrea, Dipsastraea, and Goniopora on the conglomerate of Shihmen Alluvial Fan, and around 4400 BP CCA becoming dominant reef-builders till present. Currently, the reef is still growing with the rate of 0.05 cmyr-1 by CCA species from genera, such as Mesophyllum, Phymatolithon, and Harveylithon.


The Taoyuan CCA reef performs similar ecosystem functions, like those of coral reefs, including hosting marine biodiversity, fishery, tourism, and shoreline protection. Based on these criteria, In 2014, Guanxin Algal Reef Wildlife Protected Area (GARWPA) is established to preserve biodiversity, landscape, and ecosystem services at the southern section of Taoyuan algal reefs. However long-term industrial pollution and continuous habitat destruction by land claim and windmill construction threaten the future of this reef system. Particularly, the recent development project of a liquid nature gas (LNG) receiving station and port by the Chinese Petroleum Cooperation (CPC). Local communities, NGOs, and Academy have raised serious concerns that over 300 hectares of algal reefs will be directly impacted and disappeared once the environmental impact assessment of this project is approved. The worse scenario of hydraulic model test indicates that the GARWPA will be continuously destroyed by littoral drift due to groin effect of CPC-LNG port jetty construction.


A short paper entitled “Unprecedented calcareous algal reefs in northern Taiwan merit a high conservation priority” is recently accepted and in press in Coral Reefs as a ReefSite.