Due to the high marine biodiversity in North Sulawesi, the Bitung Marine Ecological Station was selected as the joint ecological station by the Indonesian Research Center for Oceanography (RCO-LIPI) and the Third Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration (TIO-SOA) to study the tropical marine ecosystem. With the support of the Department of International Cooperation, SOA, the projects "China-Indonesia Ecological Station Establishment and Marine Biodiversity Investigation in North Sulawesi Sea (2012-2013)", and the China Indonesia Maritime Cooperation Fund, the project "China- Indonesia Bitung Joint Ecological Station (2014 -2017)" was carried out around the Bitung Station. The purpose of this project was to study the tropical marine ecosystem and the effects of climate change, comparing the biodiversity between China and Indonesia, and developing ecosystem-based management strategies, so as to improve both research and management of marine biodiversity.
Under the firm support of SOA and LIPI, six comprehensive joint ecological surveys and eight specific joint surveys have been successfully completed in North Sulawesi sea from 2012 to 2017. These surveys covered most of the aspects of tropical marine ecosystems, such as corals, sponges, mangroves, seagrasses, nekton, plankton, benthos, microbes, hydrology and environmental chemistry. It may provide a good foundation to learn about and protect the structure and function of tropical marine ecosystems in this region.