A study of soft shore habitats in Hong Kong for conservation and education  

Project Title: A Study of Soft Shore Habitats in Hong Kong for Conservation and Education

Applicant: City University of Hong Kong

Total Approved Grant: $1,300,213.61 (jointly funded by ECF and WWGF on an equal share basis)

Duration: 1.7.00 - 31.12.2003

Project Status/Remarks: Completed

Scope:

To study the soft shore habitats in Hong Kong with the aims to evaluating their conservation value using an ecological assessment approach and to developing educational materials on soft shore ecology for Hong Kong??s students and general public.


Summary of the Findings/Outcomes:

A total of 40 shores comprising 107 ha were surveyed, with a collection of 2,400 quadrat and 2,400 core samples for faunal analysis, and 720 core samples for physicochemical analysis. Data on crab fauna on 17 shores and fish fry surveys at 18 shores were also collected. In total, 70,195 specimens were identified to 305 species. Of these, 124 species were mollusks, 77 crustaceans, 56 polychaetes, 39 fish and nine other animal groups. The mean median diameter of sediment particle size of protected and very protected shores ranged from -0.26 to 4.45φ and total organic carbon content 0.19 to 1.86%, whereas for exposed and very exposed shores, these ranged from -1.00 to 2.38φ0.03 to 0.48%, respectively. Results of multivariate statistics showed no significant difference in shore community structure between wet and dry seasons. However, marked zonation was evident between the lower and upper tidal zones, with the lower zone having the highest animal diversity and abundance than the upper zone. Based on the results of a ranking scheme and consideration on the community structure of the shores, the following shores are deemed important in terms of conservation value: the sandy shore at Tong Fuk Miu Wan on Lantau island, the protected shore at Yung Shu O in Tolo Channel, the mudflats of Pak Nai and Tsim Bei Tsui in Deep Bay, and the exposed sandy shores at Long Ke Wan and Tai Long Wan in the Sai Kung Peninsula. A GIS (Geographic Information System) database containing the shores?? characteristics and faunal composition has also been developed from this study.