Re ECF Project: ECF 2016-67

Project Title: MarineGEO-Hong Kong: Towards an understanding of marine biodiversity and ecosystem function

Applicant: Dr. David M. BAKER, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong

Total Approved Grant: $3,215,636

Duration: 1/7/2017 to 30/6/2019

Project Status/Remarks: On-going

As a global programme, MarineGEO provides knowledge exchange and support for local, grassroots efforts. In November 2015, an MOU between the Smithsonian and The University of Hong Kong's Swire Institute of Marine Science was signed. Financial support is therefore sought to "kick-start" a grassroots effort which will make Hong Kong a partner in a global scale marine monitoring effort with high potential for scientific and societal impact. Through MarineGEO-Hong Kong, this study proposes to conduct a marine ecological baseline study to determine the following -

1. To determine the cryptic eukaryotic biodiversity of Hong Kong’s marine environments and discover up to 60% new species.

2. To reveal the microbial (prokaryotic) diversity of Hong Kong’s marine environments.

3. To quantify how marine biodiversity varies along known anthropogenic gradients in water quality (space) and major seasonal variations in temperature (time).

4. To inventory and quantify the major ecosystem functions (field experimentation and microbial transcriptomics) over spatial gradients and seasonal change.

5. To assign value for foundational species (seagrasses, mangroves, coral communities) in Hong Kong waters for their contribution to biodiversity and ecosystem function.

6. To investigate the relationship between human health risk factors (pathogens and antimicrobial resistance genes) and marine biodiversity.

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