With a history of 82 years, Institute of Hydrobiology (hereinafter abbreviated as IHB), Chinese Academy of Sciences (hereinafter abbreviated as CAS), is a comprehensive academic research institution which devotes to the studies of life processes of inland aquatic organisms, ecological environment protection and utilization of biological resources. It was evolved from Natural History Museum of Academia Sinica founded in Nanjing, January 1930, and was renamed in July 1934 as Institute of Zoology and Botany of Academia Sinica. The Institute was divided into two in May 1944, i.e. Institute of Zoology and Institute of Botany under Academia Sinica. In February 1950, after the establishment of Chinese Academy of Sciences, the main division of Institute of Zoology of Academia Sinica, Institute of Botany of Academia Sinica, the division of phycology of Shandong University and some researchers from the National Academy of Peking were merged into Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. It was then located in Shanghai, but moved to Wuhan in September 1954.
As China’s only research institution specializing in the studies of inland aquatic organisms, IHB will exert itself in the innovation of major theories and the breakthrough of core technologies in addressing some fundamental, strategic and prospective S&T problems in the fields of life processes of inland aquatic organisms, ecological environment protection and utilization of biological resources in order to satisfy the strategic demands of the country for water environment protection, sustainable development of fishery and utilization of microalgal bio-resources. At the same time, it will try its best to intensify the values of these innovations and breakthroughs and extend their value chain, and to play an irreplaceable role in the areas of water environment protection, fresh-water fishery and utilization of microalgal bio-resources.
IHB boasts 9 academicians of the CAS successively. At present, there are 357 regular employees, among whom 275 are research and technical personnel, 198 are supported by the Knowledge Innovation Program of the CAS, 5 academicians of the CAS, 2 academicians of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), 60 professors, 67 associate professors or hold associate senior titles, 90 hold intermediate titles. Also among the scientific and technical personnel, there are 3 chief scientists of the National Key Basic Research Program (also called 973 Program) and 8 winners of National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars. There are also 19 professors elected to the CAS “One-Hundred-Talent” Program , 1 professor to the "Thousand Young Talents” Program launched by the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, 5 professors to the national "New Century Talents” Program.
At present, IHB has 6 research centers, which are: Center for Aquatic Biodiversity and Resource Conservation, Center for Freshwater Ecology, Center for Fish Biology and Fishery Biotechnology, Center for Water Environment Engineering, Center for Water Environment and Human Health and Center for Algal Biology and Applied Research. It also has 3 important laboratories, i.e. the State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, CAS Key Laboratory of Aquatic Biodiversity and Conservation, and National Research Center for Freshwater Fisheries Engineering (Wuhan). Besides, it has 3 field observation and scientific research stations, i.e. East Lake Experimental Station of Lake Ecosystems (national station), Ecosystem Research Station of Xiangxi River in the Three Gorges Reservoir Region and the Dianchi Lake Field Station for Ecosystem Research and Rehabilitation. The Institute has also set up some research centers in East China, one in Huai’an City, Jiangsu Province, and the other is a sub-center of state key laboratory in Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province, i.e. Ningbo Sub-center of State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology. In Hubei Province, it is the possessor of Water Ecological Engineering Technology Research Center of Hubei Province and Water Environmental Engineering Technology Research Center of Wuhan City. The Sub-center for Aquatic Ecosystems of Chinese Ecosystem Research Network (CERN) is affiliated to the Institute, and it is also the leading organizer of Wuhan Equipment Center for Life Science of CAS.The Museum for Aquatic Organisms -- Asia’s largest freshwater fish museum, as well as Baiji Dolphinarium, which is equipped with modern rearing facilities for freshwater cetaceans, are located in the Institute. The Institute also possesses an R&D Division of Public Technology and Service which is made up of the Center for Public Technology and Service (Analysis and Testing Center), China Zebrafish Resource Center and Freshwater Algae Culture Collection.
Since the establishment of IHB, nearly 600 scientific research achievements have been accomplished. Since 1981, more than 130 research achievements have been given awards at national, provincial or ministry level. More than 120 academic monographs and some 4,500 scientific papers have been edited and published. The institute has entered a new phase of historic development since it joined the CAS Knowledge Innovation Project in 2001. Its ability to undertake national key projects has been greatly strengthened through goal setting and structure adjustments.
In recent years, IHB scientists take the initiative to conduct a series of national key projects, including projects supported by National Key Basic Research Programs (973 Programs), National High-Tech Research and Development Programs (863 Programs), National Science & Technology Pillar Programs, NSFC programs and other important research programs, thus accomplishing a number of research achievements that both have great breakthrough in theories and application. The number of SCI indexed papers that have been published increased from 56 in 2000 to 214 in 2011 and the quality of papers has also been improved apparently. In addition, the number of academic monographs that have been published and projects that have been granted is increasing year by year.
Some important technology innovations or technology integrations which play active roles in the protection of water environment and in the sustainable development of fisheries are becoming more and more successful and mature in application. These achievements answer a series of advanced scientific questions on molecular phylogeny of fishes, algal biology, fish genetics and breeding, freshwater ecology, water environment engineering and conservation biology so as to meet the growing demands of water pollution treatment and ecological fisheries development in China. These achievements have an extensive impact on society and produced great socio-economic benefits.
IHB emphasizes the role of “scientific national team” in hydrobiology. It actively promotes local scientific projects and takes part in local economic development. Using the infrastructure of National Research Center for Freshwater Fisheries Engineering (Wuhan), IHB aims at speeding up the transformation of fishery modes, commercialization of environmental friendly aquaculture feed and also supervise the establishment of a number of aquatic hatcheries at both national and provincial levels. IHB also extend a set of core techniques for water treatment and purification through Hubei Engineering and Technology Center for Water Ecology and Wuhan Engineering and Technology Research Center of Water Ecology.
IHB frequently communicates and cooperates with foreign institutions. Over the past decade, it has sent nearly 800 scholars to over 30 countries and regions for the purpose of conducting cooperation and researches with foreign researchers, or for advanced studies and short-term visits. In the meantime, it has also received more than 2,200 scholars and experts from nearly 40 countries to undertake academic exchanges, cooperation and advanced studies in China. IHB participates in the international cooperative research projects, such as America’s “Tree of life” research project. It also actively engages in international multi-lateral cooperation, such as joint investigation project on freshwater dolphins, international training classes on water environment protection and water pollution control, Cross-Strait Conference on Constructed Wetland etc.
While having 1 post-doctor mobile station, IHB is authorized by the state to confer PhD degrees to majors in 5 specialized fields, i.e. hydrobiology, genetics, environmental sciences, marine biology and zoology, including 2 specialized fields co-sponsored with other universities. It also confers master degrees to majors in 6 specialties, i.e. zoology, hydrobiology, genetics, environmental sciences, environment engineering and aquaculture. Besides, it confers professional master degrees to students studying in 2 specialties: biological engineering and environmental engineering. It is qualified to enroll and train students from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and foreign countries. At present, there are 476 graduate students, 44 postdoctoral research fellows and 10 senior visiting scholars in the institute.