Nanjing, a major commercial center with over six million inhabitants, is located on the lower Yangtze River in eastern China. It has played a long and influential role in Chinese culture and history. One of the earliest cities to be established in southern China, Nanjing may have been the world's largest city at the beginning of the 15th century.
Nanjing has served as the capital of China during several periods of this long history, including much of the Ming Dynasty and some of the tumultuous 20th century. It has also long been a center for learning and the arts.
The Asia Center at The Academy of Natural Sciences is undertaking and/or exploring partnerships with several Nanjing institutions, including the Nanjing Paleontology Museum and Nanjing University.
The Nanjing Paleontology Museum, which first opened to the public in 2005, has an extensive research collection (~200,000 specimens) featuring many types. These include the famous feathered dinosaur Sinosauropteryx and the remarkable Chengjiang fauna from the Early Cambrian.
The Chengjiang fossils are diverse and exceptionally well-preserved assemblages of early metazoans that are comparable to—but more extensive than—the famous Burgess Shale fauna of British Columbia. The fauna is dominated by soft-bodied forms rarely preserved in the fossil record, and boasts the first known chordates, the richest source of Cambrian lobopods, and a host of enigmatic species.
We are presently discussing ideas for joint development of an exhibit on major events in the evolution of plants and animals as represented by research in both institutions.
Nanjing University, one of the most prestigious universities in China, was founded in the early 20th century, but it can trace its lineage back to AD 258. It has a diverse array of education and research programs and several museums.
The School of the Environment at Nanjing University has undergraduate and graduate programs in both Environmental Science and Engineering. The academic and research concentrations for the former include Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Biology and Environmental Planning and Management. The school has established ties with fellow institutions in Hong Kong, Japan and Europe.
The first collaboration of the Asia Center with the School of the Environment at Nanjing University was an Aquatic Monitoring and Remediation Workshop held in August, 2008. A second workshop is planned for the summer of 2009.