|The student group from Texas A&M University lead by Dr. Gladys Ko visited National Cheng Kung University’s Marine Biology & Cetacean Research Center.|
|Dr. I-Hua Chen, Professor of the Department of Veterinary Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, demonstrating a finless porpoise dissection to TAMU students.|
Students in the Texas A & M (TAMU) Education Abroad Program: Taiwan-Marine Mammal Anatomy Group visited Taiwan for two weeks in January 2020. It was the first faculty-led Education Abroad Program from TAMU to Taiwan. The whole group was deeply impressed by Taiwan’s high level research and multiculturalism.
The group was composed of students from various majors such as: Biology, Wild Life, Animal Sciences, Marine Biology and Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Gladys Ko, Associate Professor of Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences of TAMU, led the group.
Dr. Jian-Ping Wang, an expert and retired professor, who is still very passionate about participating marine mammal rescue and education, gave morning lectures on marine mammal evolution and anatomy in the Department of Life Sciences at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU). The group visited NCKU-Taijiang Marine Cetacean Rescue Station, learned how to operate the rescue mission, observe the skeleton and sample collections. At NCKU Marine Biology & Cetacean Research Center, under the guidance of Professors from the Department of Veterinary Medicine, the students gained hands-on experience by dissecting a finless porpoise and a dwarf sperm whale. They also had the opportunity to put together dolphin skeletons and learned the differences in bone structures between dolphins and whales. During the final lecture, students learned that about 10% stranded marine animals worldwide are caused by the consumption of human waste, but 90% stranded marine animals are caused by other problems, such as sound pollution due to the usage of sonar and other factors. The students learned much on conservation of marine life.
During the two weeks, students also had great experiences visiting cultural and historical sites in Taiwan, such as the Longshan Temple, one of the largest temples in northern Taiwan. They visited several museums including the National Palace Museum, National Taiwan Museum, Shung Ye Museum, and Chimei Museum, and learned how various cultures (the Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Japanese) have left their imprints and influences on local cultures.
Besides several MOUs that TAMU has signed with Taiwan universities (e.g. National Chung Hsing University and National Cheng Kung University), the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston is currently working with Dr. Gladys Ko and the Office of International Affairs of National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST) to discuss possible cooperation for the future signing of an MOU.