Taiwan’s Flora and Fauna
Hallway of Floor 2 ． Floor 2, G201
National Taiwan Museum
The formation of deserts, plains, and rain forests is determined by altitude, rainfall, and sunlight angle. While not overly spacious, Taiwan possesses extraordinarily abundant biodiversity resources and many endemic species. Some 3 to 5 million years ago, the island of Taiwan emerged from the sea as a result of violent orogenesis. Between the Ice Age and the Interglacial Stage, Taiwan was joined to and separated from the mainland a number of times. Around 10,000 years ago, due to a sudden climate warming and the appearance of the Taiwan Strait, the island of Taiwan was once again geographically separated from the mainland. The Central Mountain Range is a perfect habitat for a wide array of organisms, whose endemic species are the most important feature of biodiversity in Taiwan. This gallery comprises three main themes in seven sections:
I. Introduction to Endemic Species
First section: This section is divided into three parts: “Taiwan’s Biodiversity,” “the Vertical Distribution of Flora and Fauna,” and “the Food Chain.” Together, these explain how Taiwan, with a relatively small land area, came to have such a large proportion of species and sub-species that are endemic: flora and fauna thrived by occupying space at different altitudes. Among species there are complex food connections, forming a close food chain. This section features running slides introducing various organisms.
II. Marine Ecology
This section introduces the marine life off of Orchid Island and Green Island, including nocturnal and diurnal fishes living in coral reefs, as well as other local flora and fauna. In this section, a panorama shows the marine species and their habitats. The exhibit is supported by a computer enquiry system allowing visitors to learn more about the marine life on display. This section also has a small projection room where marine ecology films are shown at regular intervals. Visitors can relax and imagine they are in the ocean amongst the marine life.
III. Terrestrial Ecology
This section introduces mangroves and low altitude ecosystems. It is connected to the fourth and fifth sections by a river, but each of the sections tells a different story. This is a semi-enclosed panorama exhibit demonstrating the species of flora and fauna in mangrove and low altitude ecosystems. Pushing a button on the display board highlights some lifelike species. A small display cabinet creates a microcosm of the local ecosystem and makes visitors feel as if they have entered the ecosystem itself.
This exhibit section introduces the topography of a typical river in Taiwan and its myriad flora and fauna. Certain river species, acting as biological indicators, are introduced in a display cabinet, while the river under the floor represents not only the geology but also the flow of time. Visitors can traipse along the river surface or squat down to see the Taiwan common toad and various freshwater fish.
V. Medium-high Altitude Ecosystem
In this section the same panorama style as used in the third section introduces the flora and fauna of medium-high altitudes, with special emphasis on forest ecology and Alpine Tundra. At these altitudes, the changes in the natural environment can be clearly seen and the flora and fauna change distinctively with altitude. On this journey through the mountains, visitors can learn about the plants and animals that live there.
VI. The Life of a Butterfly
The Broad-tailed Swallowtail Butterfly endemic to Taiwan and its host the Taiwan Sassafras Tree are the centerpieces of this section. Each life stage of the Broad-tailed Swallowtail butterfly is explained here. Films of other types of butterfly are also shown to enhance visitors’ impression of this magnificent creature.
VII. Mystery Lake
This section introduces this lake, located in Yilan County, which has a virgin ecosystem, to explain ecological succession.