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Dr. Shu Ping Chu (S.P. Chu)


(Time of service: March 1951 – July 1976)

S.P. Chu (朱树屏, also spelled as Zhu Shuping by PCR Spelling Code), was born on April 1, 1907, in Beimeng Township, Changyi County, Shandong Province, China. He is a world-renowned marine ecologist, marine chemist, plankton biologist, aquaculture scientist and educator, pioneer on experimental ecology of plankton in the world, founder and pioneer of marine ecology and marine chemistry in China. He is one of the founders and pioneers of aquaculture and limnology in China. He graduated from the National Central University (Nanjing) in 1934, and pursued his graduate study in the London with the Chinese Indemnity (Gengzi) Scholarship in 1938 under the direction of Prof F.E. Fritsch, a world leading biologist and a funder of freshwater science at Queen Mary College. In 1941, he received a Ph.D. degree from University of Cambridge, England. He had been a research scientist at the Plymouth Marine Institute and at the Freshwater Biological Association in the UK, the Directors of the Department of Aquatic Chemistry and the Department of Plankton at the Freshwater Biological Association (FBA). In January 1946, he was invited by Dr. G.L.Georke, a Biology Professor of Harvard University and the Acting President of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) as a senior research fellow and the director in the Algae Research. After returning to China from the US, he served successively as a professor at Yunnan University, a researcher at the Animal Research Institute of China’s Central Research Academy(Academia Sinica), a professor at Shandong University and as the first Dean of the Fisheries Department, a researcher at the Marine Biological Research Laboratory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the President of the Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute (YSFRI). He also served as the Deputy Head of the Fisheries Division and a member of Ocean Division of the China State Science and Technology Commission, the Vice Chairman of the first Chinese Society of Fisheries, the Vice Chairman and Secretary General of Chinese Society of Oceanology and Limnology, a representative of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and the Vice Chairman of the Qingdao Municipal CPPCC.

The “Chu No.10 Medium” (S.P. Chu, 1942) as first published in Dr. Chu’s doctoral thesis for growing planktonic algae is a classic standard formula that is still widely used to date in the world. The "Chu's Artificial Seawater" was the first initiative in the world and a milestone in the history of the artificial seawater research that has been ranked in top of the 24 artificial seawaters in the world. He created a series of bacteria-free (axenic) phytoplankton culture techniques and methods that are still widely used over the world. In the field of the oceanography and phycology, Dr. S.P. Chu is the only Chinese scientist who was named after his surname for a research finding. He also won twice the Ray Lankester Investigatorship by the international authoritative British Marine Biology Society. He was the only Chinese scientist to have received this honor. During his stay in the UK, he led the Chinese overseas scholars and students to raise funds in supporting for Chinese people to defend their motherland in the World War-II. He purchased a large number of scientific equipment and books for theAcademia Sinica, the Southwestern Associated University and Yunnan University, and successfully shipped these goods to China with the assistance of Dr. Joseph T.M. Needham.

Dr. S.P. Chu is one of the main initiators, organizers and founders of the Chinese Society of Oceanology and Limnology, and Chinese Society of Fisheries. In 1940s and 1950s, he first proposed sea ranching in China by making “Seeding of the Sea and Marine Agropastoral”, “Marine and Fresh Water Resource Conservation”, and other groundbreaking scientific discourses and expositions. He had taken the lead in scientific practice of his proposals that led to creation of scientific undertakings and applications of marine agropastoral and artificial proliferation in China. He organized and led China's first comprehensive marine fishery survey – The OffshoreScomber JaponicusFishing Grounds of Yantai and Weihai. He participated, organized and led the first national comprehensive marine survey sponsored by the Chinese Government. He organized and led an international collaboration program between China and the Soviet Union over a comprehensive survey of the Yellow Sea and East China Sea. He has completed a series of major breakthrough projects and programs: He invented a world's frontier "Kelp Seedling Production Method with Natural Light", which was certified by the National Science and Technology Commission and has been used as the only kelp seedling production method in China. The innovation won the National Science Conference Award. He pioneered and led in kelp fertilization investigation in China, proposed the original fertilization theory to increase kelp production in sea areas. He presided over the completion of investigations on major topics such as the Kelp Southward Transplant (from northern to southern marine regions in China). He and his teams have made groundbreaking contributions to China's kelp culture field, and received many national, provincial and ministerial awards. As the key team leader of the “National Mass Campaign for Porphyra Culture”, he presided over and completed the major projects in artificial cultivation and breeding of laver. The work led to a creation of China’s laver culture industries and won the National Science Conference participated Award. In 1952, he led Shrimp Life-History Study in China, and completed investigations on artificial larval rearing of shrimp. In the 1960s, he presided over investigations of the large-scale hatchery production and pond culture of shrimp, which paid a way for industrialization of artificial shrimp culture in China. During that period of time, he led several major projects on artificial seedling and breeding techniques for finfish and shellfish, which initiated artificial finfish and shellfish production business in China. This work laid a solid foundation for raising marine aquaculture of shrimps, bivalves and finfish, and set off a wave of kelp and porphyra agroecology in China. He led and compiled the "Fishing Chart for Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea and East China Sea", which won the Major Achievement Award of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He presided over a comprehensive survey of major lakes in China, including Taihu Lake, Weishan Lake, Daihai Lake, Dianchi Lake, and each big lake in Mongolia. The survey laid a theoretical foundation and proposed scientific planning for resource conservation, ecological balance and freshwater aquaculture. He wrote the first book of "Limnology" in China. He taught the courses of marine chemistry, water quality science and limnology in China for the first time, and conducted pioneering and fruitful researches in the field of marine chemistry and limnology in China. He repeatedly represented China in participating research works carried out abroad, international scientific negotiations, and global academic exchanges and cooperation, which had won honors for his motherland. His work has been praised for many times by Premier Zhou Enlai and recognized by the country. He has completed more than 40 major research programs in marine science, marine chemistry, marine fisheries, plankton, limnology and other scientific and industry research fields, and has won numerous national awards and recognitions. He was the editor-in-chief of the only eight-language taxonomy atlas (in Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Mongolian, Russian and Vietnamese) in the world at that time: "West Pacific Economic Fish Terminology Comparison Manual." He participated entire work (from drafting, finalizing and implementation) of the China’s Twelve-year Science and Technology Plan (1956-1967) and the China’s Ten-year Science and Technology Plan (1963-1976) in Fisheries and Marine Sectors. He prepared the first fisheries department in China’s higher education system – the Fisheries Department at the Shandong University, and served as the first Dean of the Department. He made significant contributions in building foundation for the establishment of a comprehensive national institute of fisheries in China - Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute (YSFRI), and served as the first President. China's first generation of senior scientists and technologists in marine and fisheries fields have been trained and educated from these two institutions, including a large number of academicians, professors and researchers, who have made outstanding contributions to China's marine and fisheries science, technology and industry.

From the late 1960s to the mid of 1970s, Dr. S.P. Chu was seriously ill due to suffering from physical and mental persecution and maltreatment during China’s Cultural Revolution. In 1972, Premier Zhou Enlai, as he was informed of this situation, made an immediately instruction: "I am told that Comrade Zhu Shuping is ill, please provide him with serious medical treatment".

On July 2, 1976, Dr. S.P. Chu passed away at Zhongshan Hospital in Shanghai.

In July 1995, the Qingdao municipal government built a commemorative statue for him in a local public park.

In July 2, 2002, his world classic works, manuscripts, photographs, correspondences and other relics at various historical periods were collected by the National Museum of China in Beijing, as a model and outstanding representative of Chinese marine scientists.

In April, 2007, the 100thanniversary of the birth of Dr. S.P. Chu was held in the Huanghai Aquatic Research Institute (former YSFRI) in Qingdao, and a commemorative Statue to Dr. S.P. Chu was unveiled in the HARI campus.

In 2008 summer, FBA News (The Freshwater Association Newsletter, No. 42 Summer 2008) reported the Dr. S.P. Chu anniversary event in Qingdao, and published a commemorative article by Dr. John Lund, CBE, DSc, FRS, FIBiol, FCIWEM.