Founded in 1959, Third Institute of Oceanography (TIO) of the Ministry of Natural Resources is a comprehensive nonprofit research institute for oceanography that aims to provide technical support for marine management, public service, and marine economy development by engaging in basic marine research, applied research, and high-tech research.

TIO has currently 436 employees, including one academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), three experts with special government allowances, two experts selected in the national “Hundred, Thousand and Ten Thousand. Talents Project”, three experts selected in the provincial “Hundred, Thousand and Ten Thousand Talents Project”, three awardees of Top Talents of Xiamen City, 141 senior or associate research fellows, and 157 doctoral degree holders. In 1984, TIO was approved by the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council to confer master’s degrees. It runs a post-doctoral station with nine postdoctoral researchers at work. It was approved to confer master’s degrees for one primary discipline of oceanography and two secondary disciplines of microbiology and environmental science. Joint doctoral programs in collaboration with Tsinghua University, University of Science and Technology of China and other universities and institutions have recruited 176 master and Ph.D. students. It has regular exchanges and cooperations with institutions from more than 30 countries such as the United States, Germany, France, Japan, etc. It is the publisher of the Journal of Applied Oceanography, a core academic journal of natural sciences in China. It is also a supporting institution of the Technical Subcommittee on Biological Resources Development and Conservation under the National Marine Standardization Technical Committee, the Marine Biological Resources Specialized Committee of the Chinese Society for Oceanography, the Specialized Committee on Environment and Ecosystem of the China Association of Oceanic Engineering, the Hazardous Chemical and Marine Radioactive Pollution Assessment Branch of the Pacific Society of China, the Marine Biology Specialized Committee of the Ecological Society of China, and the Fujian Society of Oceanography.

TIO focuses on 13 research interests in four major fields of deep-sea biological research and development and utilization of marine biological resources, global changes and regional ocean response, marine biodiversity and ecosystem conservation, and applied oceanography. It has 10 research departments (including two ministry-level key laboratories and one engineering center of the Ministry of Natural Resources) and the Xiamen Institute of Ocean Engineering Survey and Design that serves socio-economic development. TIO is a leader in fields such as deep-sea microbiology, marine. and atmospheric chemistry, global changes, etc., with some world-leading research achievements. It is distinctively competitive in marine biodiversity and ecosystem conservation and restoration, with some fields ranking top nationwide. It is also a national leader in the development and utilization of technologies of marine biological resources. Initial progress has been made in the R&D and application of such technologies, and many patents have achieved transformation. It has gathered a great wealth of first-hand data on studying regional oceanography. In the past 60 years, it has made many important scientific and technological achievements, playing an important role in China’s marine scientific research, earning an international reputation. It has made important contributions to the development of China’s marine technology, marine economy, and comprehensive marine management.

TIO houses more than 100,000 biological specimens including the largest gray whale specimen in China; it boasts a national deep-sea microbial resource bank and the advanced 4,500-ton comprehensive research vessel “Xiang Yang Hong 03”.

TIO holds various certificates of technical consulting services: national-level certificates such as China Inspection Body and Laboratory Mandatory Approval (CMA), ISO 9001:2015 Certificate of Quality Management System (QMS); Class-A Engineering Survey Certificate (Marine Engineering Survey), Class-A Engineering Design Certificate (Marine Industry-Coastal Engineering), Class-A Surveying and Mapping Certificate (Marine Surveying and Mapping); Class-B Qualification Certificate of Engineering Consulting Unit-Ecological Environment, Construction Engineering and Water Transportation (Port, River, and Sea Engineering) and Class-B Geological Survey Certificate (Marine Geological Survey). Technical support services are provided for the planning of marine development and environmental protection, marine ecological conservation and restoration projects, and major maritime infrastructure projects. TIO has made great contributions to China’s economic growth and marine ecological civilization construction.