Looking for solutions to save a unique algal reef ecosystem in the world

Published: 24 October 2019
Last edited: 24 October 2019
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There’s a unique algal reef ecosystem in Northwestern Taiwan, Datan algal reef. The Datan algal reef has been designated as a Mission Blue Hope Spot in Feb. 2019 and deemed as an important ocean site and ecosystem.

The Datan algal reef is a unique biotic reef with more than 7,500 years of history, mainly constructed by crustose coralline algae (CCA). It has a rich biodiversity, the porous reef body gives living space to an abundance of marine creatures, including many endangered species.

A recent study by Academia Sinica of Taiwan recorded: 22 families and 34 species of fish; 14 families and 52 species of crabs. 8 phyla, 44 families, and over 50 macroinvertebrates species, and 49 macroalgae species, 80% of the crustose coralline algae species were previously unknown.

Nevertheless, this amazing algal reef ecosystem is under deadly threat due to a liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving port project.






East Asia
Scale of implementation
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Rocky reef / Rocky shore
Connectivity / transboundary conservation
Urban and Disaster Risk Management
Resilience and disaster risk management
Loss of Biodiversity
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Inefficient management of financial resources
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Business engagement approach
Indirect through government


Taoyuan City, Taiwan Province, Taiwan | Taoyuan City, Taiwan Province, Taiwan


The site planned for LNG terminal construction is full of underwater algal reefs and breeding and spawning areas of endangered hammerhead sharks and white dolphin. Once excavated, the habitat and its ecosystem will be severely damaged, possibly beyond recovery. 


Even though Datan algal reef has been designated as a Hope Spot, our government still insists on the wrong policy. The construction work is currently being carried out. So we’re running against time to stop the project. As algal reefs are so unusual at a global scale, it will be a huge loss not only for Taiwan but for the world should this reef be destroyed.

Contributed by

Erin Tseng