Re ECF Project: ECF 2016-02

Project Title: Study of emerging waterborne contaminants in Hong Kong coral communities

Applicant: Dr. James LAM Chung-wah, Department of Science and Environmental Studies, The Education University of Hong Kong

Total Approved Grant: $498,000

Duration: 1/7/2017 to 31/12/2018

Project Status/Remarks: On-going

Hong Kong is located at the Pearl River Estuary (PRE) which has experienced a rapid rate of development over the past decades. As PRE region is one of the most heavily industrialized and urbanized regions in China, it is conceivable that this area is contaminated by these contaminants. However, there is no such information on the current status of these toxic and recalcitrant contaminants in the local coral communities. In view of the importance of Hong Kong as a possible refuge for corals and coral communities under the projected increase in sea surface water temperature as a consequence of global warming, it is important to elucidate the exposure levels and distribution pattern of these emerging contaminants in the local coastal environment. The present study will therefore examine the occurrence, composition profile and spatial variations of these emerging contaminants in the local coral communities. Potential impact of coral exposure to these emerging waterborne contaminants will also be assessed. The scope of the project is:

1. to examine the levels of emerging waterborne contaminants including tetrabromodiphenyl ether, pentabromodiphenyl ether, hexabromodiphenyl ether, heptabromodiphenyl ether, octabromodiphenyl ether, nonabromodiphenyl ether and decabromodiphenyl ether, and perfluorooctanesulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid in the local coral communities; and

2. to study the distribution and composition profiles of these contaminants between difference coral species.

The findings of this study can provide comprehensive baseline information for future conservation, management and education purposes.

Summary of the Findings/Outcomes:
To be available upon completion of the project