Re ECF Project: 2009-29

Project Title: A study of the ecology of the giant sea anemone Entacmaea quadricolor and its associated animals

Applicant: Dr. Jian-wen QIU of Hong Kong Baptist University

Total Approved Grant: $546,020

Duration: 1/10/2010 to 30/10/2012

Project Status/Remarks: Completed

Scope:
The objectives of the project are:

  • to conduct spatial diving surveys to quantify the distribution and abundance of Entacmaea quadricolor and its associated invertebrates and fishes at Tsim Chau, Bluff Island, Lak Lei Tsai and Sharp Island;
  • to conduct temporal surveys to determine the seasonality of reproduction, and the contributions of sexual and asexual reproduction in maintaining the population structure, and environmental factors that affect the reproductive seasonality; and
  • to present public seminars, produce a poster and create a website to enhance the public’s appreciation of the beauty and conservation value of giant sea anemone populations.

Summary of the Findings/Outcomes:
Through this study, the team has conducted spatial diving surveys to quantify the distribution and abundance of E. quadricolor population at Tsim Chau, Bluff Island, Lak Lei and Sharp Island; conducted temporal surveys to examine the seasonality in E. quadricolor population structure and how environmental factors (i.e. temperature, salinity) affected the seasonality; collected tissue samples using a non-lethal method to determine the seasonality of reproduction; and presented public seminars and produced a poster to enhance the public’s appreciation of the beauty and conservation value of giant sea anemone populations.

The study has provided the first set of quantitative data for E.quadricolor in local waters. Given that collecting for aquarium trade and bleaching have reduced the populations of both host anemones and anemonefish in serveal Indo-Pacific locations, the data will form the basis for monitoring these host anemones and their symbiotic anemonefish in local waters.