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What's New

Updates from the ECF Food Web Project

9 March 2021

The ECF team has just completed all the field samplings planned for the project. We would like to give credits to those who helped: our fellow lab mates, FYP student, and student helpers. Thank you very much for your support!

Learn more about the ECF Food Web Project here:

Here are some photos to demonstrate a typical high tide sampling day at Mai Po. This was one of the few days where there were clean hands to take some footage of us working in the field. 


On the way to set up a fyke net in the river before the tide came in.


The fyke net was set up in the river. Harvesting was done at the end of the day.


Tying the fyke net to the supporting poles.


During high tide, we would row out on an inflatable boat to collect phytoplankton.

Updates from the MEEF Fisheries Project

28 September 2020

The life-sized mangrove roots model has finally arrived! J and Rinaldi have also bought 2 wild-caught snappers from the wet market, getting them ready as predators for the experiment.


Learn more about the MEEF Fisheries Project here:


These Kandelia roots are used as reference for the model.

WhatsApp Image 2020-09-23 at 4.21.01 PM.

The model is to be placed in the mesocosm with juvenile fishes and their predators. GoPro cameras will be placed around it for observing fish behaviour.

WhatsApp Image 2020-09-11 at 2.20.14 PM.

A 3D printed 1m * 1m * 1m model of Kandelia roots.


Observing the snappers in their mesocosm.

Updates from the ECF Food Web Project

25 September 2020

The team has just completed the sampling sessions for the enrichment experiments at Ting Kok and Mai Po. Sampling was conducted over 15 days at each site. Check out the project website for a more detailed description of the experiment:

The 13C enrichment compound was sprayed onto the surface of the sampling quadrat on Day 0 of sampling.

Sampling in the quadrat on Mai Po mudflat

Caption by Michael Ma

Recruiting RA for New Project

13 July 2020

We are recruiting a Research Assistant for the new GRF project: "Is there a functional microphytobenthos in tropical mangrove ecosystems?". 

The successful applicant will have a relevant bachelor or higher degree from a recognised university and previous research experience in conducting field and laboratory work in coastal ecosystems. Experiences in stable isotope analysis and instrumental methods for carbon measurements, as well as excellent communication skills, will be an advantage.


The position will be available starting 4 January 2021 for 33 months, and salary at HK$24,666 per month. 

Contact me for enquiries.

Progress of the MEEF Fisheries Project

3 July 2020

Rinaldi and J were able to get some nice 3D scans of the mangrove tree roots with the Kinect, after several on-site trials with the equipment. The raw scans were tidied and refined using the Meshlab and Blender softwares, and then sized down (from the expected final size of 1*1*1m) for a testing of the 3D printing material.

Using Kinect.jpg

Kinect in action at the field.

3D model screenshot.png

Giving the mesh object a final touch on Blender.

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A miniscule model of the final product.

mini mangrove model.HEIC

Testing the durability of the mini model with small fishes.

Recently, they came across photogrammetry as an alternative to manual 3D scanning. On the Meshroom software, they were able to construct a mesh object from mere photographs of the tree roots taken from various angles. At this preliminary stage, photogrammetry seems to prevail over Kinect in the following ways:

  • Quicker construction and editing of the mesh object

  • More details captured

  • Shorter scanning time

  • Less bulky things to carry at the field (Kinect needs to be used with a power supply and a computer)

  • Allows fieldwork to be done during the day (Rinaldi and J had been doing the scanning in the evening, because Kinect is too sensitive to light - it wouldn't capture any patch with sunlight shone on it!)

At the moment, they are still looking into the pros and cons of both methods of 3D model construction.

3D model screenshot 2.png

Transforming the tree in the photo into a mesh object on Meshroom.

Farewell to the FYP Students

25 May 2020

Our 2019-20 FYP students - Vincent, Aaron, and Stanley - visited the lab today to bid us farewell. We wish you a happy graduation, and best of luck on your future endeavours! Don't miss the microphytobenthos (MPB) too much!

fyp farewell.jpg

I love MPB. You love MPB. We all love MPB!

Progress of the ECF Coastal Food Web Project and Boating Fun!

23 April 2020

We have just completed the winter sampling session at all three sites (Mai Po, Shui Hau, and Lai Chi Wo) and are now processing the samples for stable isotope analysis. What samples are those, you ask? Well, they are what you imagine make up a coastal food web: from leaves and algae, to crustaceans and mollusks, to fishes and bird feathers - and the list goes on. Here's a sneak peek at our colleagues at work:


Joe and Leo setting up the fyke net

Joe and Leo setting up the fyke net.

Michael the predator.jpg

Michael the predator in ambush.


Yan Ping extracting plankton from seawater.

Also worthwhile to mention that our final trip to Lai Chi Wo this season was made by our (the Simon F.S. Li Marine Science Laboratory's) very own Tolo Explorer boat. More photos and videos of the voyage can be found here.


New Publication

23 April 2020

In our recently-published journal, we revised the estimate on global carbon storage in mangrove forests. We discovered the value to be 23% higher than the previous estimate, after correcting for environmental factors and including significant carbon pools that were previously neglected. Overall, we concluded that mangrove sediment organic carbon stock has previously been over-estimated while ecosystem carbon stock underestimated. Learn more about the project here:

Ouyang & Lee. Nature Communications 11: 317; January 2020


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Picarro Combustion Module Installed

11 November 2019

We are thrilled to announce that our Picarro Combustion Module has been successfully installed and ready to be used with our Picarro G2201-i Isotope Analyser. The setup, called the Picarro Combustion Module Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy (CM-CRDS) system, is able to measure the carbon isotopic (δ13C) composition of solid, liquid, and gaseous samples with carbon content as low as 250mg.


New Team Members

4 November 2019

We have new additions to the lab - welcome Rinaldi GOTAMA and J Hei-nin KWONG as Research Assistants to work on the "Value of small mangrove patches in the Pearl River Estuary on commercial fisheries" project!


New Publication

22 July 2019

A new policy paper discussing the issues hampering effective mangrove restoration:

Lee et al. Nature Ecology and Evolution 3: 870-872; June 2019


Whats New - nature.png
New Team Members

16 July 2019

Welcome Dr Fen GUO, Leo CHIU-LEUNG, and Michael MA to the team! They will be working on the ECF "Trophodynamics of soft-sediment coastal habitats in Hong Kong" project. Moving on, we are expecting 2 PhD students (Zhaoliang CHEN and Xueqin GAO) and two post-doctoral fellows (Dr Felix LEUNG and Dr Mingfeng LIU) in September.

Mangrove Macrobenthos and Management Meeting 2019

1 - 5 July 2019

I attended the 5th international Mangrove Macrobenthos and Management meeting (MMM5) as a keynote speaker. The MMM is a series of international conferences focusing on the understanding, conservation, and sustainable use of the mangrove ecosystem. This was the first MMM to be held in Southeast Asia, the centre of biodiversity and mangrove ecosystem.


Image courtesy of the 5th International Mangrove Macrobenthos and Management Meeting

ENSURE Grant Granted

10 October 2018

Our proposal for the CUHK-Exeter Joint Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Resilience (ENSURE) Grant has been successful, and we will commence on this project shortly:

Sustainability of coastal megalopolises in the face of global environmental change: China’s Greater Bay Area

This highly-multidisciplinary project involves expertise from multiple faculties, namely Life Sciences, Earth System Sciences, Geography and Resource Management, Government and Public Administration, and Law, from both the CUHK and the University of Exeter.

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