Afternoon at the Academia Sinica

Before arriving in Taiwan, I sent feelers out through the family connections to find someone to talk to about getting a photography exhibition about sharks and shark conservation into local venues there. Pretty much everyone told me to contact Professor Jeng Ming-Shiou at the Academia Sinica. And so, I got in touch with him and had a meeting. Dr. Jeng works in the (fairly new) Center for Biodiversity, whose umbrella includes some folks doing work in marine ecosystems. After we established that I, in fact, was not in high school (the first thing he asked -- heh), we had an extremely productive meeting. It was heartening to see like-minded folks in Taiwan (who share similar views on marine conservation).

a preserved baby whale shark

After the meeting, we went upstairs to see John Yu, the department head of the Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology, who is an old family friend. He had Liao Yun-Chih ("Leon"), one of his graduate students, take us through an interesting exhibition space inside the Academia Sinica that showed preserved specimens of deep water fish, an oar fish, and a baby whale shark -- one of the 300 or so pulled from an adult a long time ago. I saw a photo of all of the babies laid out in a grid, which was both sad and fascinating.

Special thanks to my parents and relatives, who were instrumental in setting up these appointments!

deep sea critters

an oarfish

a board dispelling myths about sharks

[see all photos @ flickr]