The first research of seaweeds in Taiwan was started in 1866 by a German scholar, Georg von Martens. According to the plant investigation conducted by him in East Asia from 1860 to 1862, 7 species of seaweeds were found in the port of Tamshuei in northern Taiwan. Later, researchers like Heydrich (1894) and De Toni (1895, 1905) collected seaweeds in northern, southern and eastern parts of the island and they found over 60 species of seaweeds in Taiwan. From 1895 to 1945 when Taiwan was a Japanese colony, the Japanese phycologists were very active in algal research and investigation of of Taiwan. Researchers like Okamura (1900-1902, 1907, 1909, 1913, 1915a, 1921, 19223, 1932, 1934b, 1935a, 1937, 1942), Yendo (1909, 1914, 1915, 1916a, 1916b, 1918), Yamada (1920, 1931a, 1932b, 1933, 1935, 1936b, 1938a, 1941, 1944b), and Tanaka (1935, 1936, 1941, 1944) published a lot of reports on the seaweeds from Taiwan. However, these records were incomplete and most of the algal species of Taiwan identified by them fell under the species of Japanese marine flora. Besides, these records were usually extracts about the distribution of the seaweeds or points of collection of the seaweeds. In the comparative biogeographic study of plants of West Pacific, Yamada (Yamada, 1926) was the first person to allocate the eight floras to Taiwan. Ariga (1920) conducted a one-year research on algal flora from Penghu archipelago and recorded 69 species of macroalgae. He compared the algal flora from Penghu with that found from Xiamen and discovered great differences between them, despite the fact that the Taiwan Strait separating the two islands is a shallow sea (135km). Furthermore, the scholar discovered that the same type of seaweeds found in these two places had different growth and seasonality characteristics. Thus, Ariga concluded that the tidal rhythm and stroma might be the causes for these differences. Okamura (1931) reported 92 benthic macroalgae collected from Lanyu and indicated what kinds of seaweeds could be found in the diet of the Yami. The names of those seaweeds were also translated from Yami into Japanese. Later, Tokida (1939) published a paper about edible seaweeds, in which Yami names of various seaweeds were used.
Apart from copious literature published by the Japanese from 1895 to 1945, some Chinese and western papers also showed some records of seaweeds from Taiwan. For instance, Cotton (1915) listed 9 species of seaweeds. Tilden (1929) collated data regarding Chinese seaweeds and included Taiwan in the geography of China. As Tilden did not have any idea about Japanese literature on the subject from 1895 to 1928, he only recorded a total of 92 seaweeds from all of China. From 1930 to 1980, Tzeng Cheng-kuei collected many seaweeds at various locations from China and Taiwan and reported finding many species of seaweeds from Taiwan (Tzeng, 1936, 1941, 1943, 1962, 1983, 1994).