Student News

TNC Research: Maintaining Hong Kong’s shellfish populations

Arthur Yao – July 23, 2018

This summer I worked at the Nature Conservancy in Hong Kong. During this six weeks, I was involved in two main projects. First, is the oyster conservation research in Hong Kong. For the past two and a half weeks, my coworkers and I have been travelling around Hong Kong mapping and surveying oyster populations in specific areas. Additional research also involves measuring seagrass abundance and horseshoe crab appearances to see if implementing different oyster harvesting techniques will have an effect on the surrounding ecosystem. The latter is a project called Nature Works. This is a week long camp hosted by the Nature Conservancy for high school students in Hong Kong to participate in.

However, most of my days working at a research assistant has made me travel to the far destinations in Hong Kong and in South East China. In the past two weeks, I have visited places such as Pak Nai, Tung Chung, Fu Zhou and Lau Fau Shan with the ultimate goal of collecting data from oyster beds, seagrass beds and horseshoe crab populations to gauge the health of different sites in Hong Kong suitable for growing oysters. Field work conducted typically takes up a whole day and takes place in mud flats where these species can be found. One of the reasons I chose to work with TNC this summer is because shellfish, oysters particularly, are the lungs of the ocean. They filter fifty gallons of water a day, provide habitats for fishes, crabs and even other oysters and play a critical role in the restaurant industry in Hong Kong.

Therefore, with the generous five hundred dollars I received from the CSGC Office, I will invest it towards two areas. I have already assisted professionals by purchasing gear for efficient data collection while out in the field. This facet is not limited to water shoes, backpacks, waterproof paper, GPS devices, sunscreens and mosquito repellents. With the addition of these products, the research team and I were prepared and protected while collecting data out in the field for scientific research. Secondly, the rest of the money will be spent towards the week long camp run by the Conservancy towards educating students the importance of living a sustainable life. Throughout the week, students will participate in workshops and basic field activities which will give them hands on experience with dealing with marine creatures. With the money, I will buy supplies such as books, water bottles as well as educational tools such as color pencils and poster paper to raise the question of what it means to be green.