Re ECF Project: 2007-07

Project Title: A study of the biodiversity of coral-associated polychaetes in Sharp Island

Applicant: The Hong Kong Baptist University (Dr. Jian-wen QIU)

Total Approved Grant: $421,020

Duration: 01/09/2008 to 31/08/2010

Project Status/Remarks: Completed

Scope:
The purposes of this project are to:

  1. establish a collection of voucher specimens for coral-associated polychaetes, which can allow retrospective examination;
  2. provide detailed text description and line-drawings of the key features to each species;
  3. provide a list of polychaetes that are suitable for live display, which can be used to enhance the public appreciation of the beauty and diversity of coral-associated animals;
  4. produce an educational leaflet to show the diversity and function of polychaetes in coral ecosystems, and the common species in local waters, and
  5. provide information for AFCD to update the webpages relating to the diversity of coral-associated animals

Summary of the Findings/Outcomes:
There have been substantial research on coral communities in Hong Kong during the last three decades, but little information is available on coral-associated animals, including polychaetes, a group of invertebrates important to the structure and function of coral ecosystems.

Through this 2-year project a collection of 635 voucher specimens have been established, which can allow retrospective examination. These specimens belong to 61 species in 22 families. A detailed text description and line-drawings of the key features to each species have been provided, which can be used for species identification in future studies; a list of polychaetes that are suitable for live display has been prepared, which can be used to enhance the public appreciation of the beauty and diversity, and function of coral-associated animals; an educational leaflet to show the diversity and function of polychaetes in local coral ecosystems was produced.

Invasive species that may cause significant functional changes in ecosystem diversity and function in Sharp Island have not been found. Some of the results from this study can be used by the government to update the webpage relating to the diversity of coral-associated animals. The leaflet will be printed out for distribution to the public.