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Oyter Reef Restoration

Over 80% of oyster reefs have been lost globally. In their natural state, some oyster species form complex reef-structures which provide habitat for hundreds of other species, increasing the productivity of these systems in terms of biodiversity and for commercial fisheries for humans. The oysters themselves enhance nutrient cycling, filtering and cleaning the water of organic matter and pollutants

Hong Kong was a major port of oyster harvest for China from the Qing Dynasty, and has records of harvest from at least 700 years ago. It was a major exporter of lime, produced from burning the shells in kilns, and oyster meat. This meant that the oyster reefs in Hong Kong were harvested to the point that they are now almost non-existent as a habitat, completely changing the shores of Hong Kong without intervention and restoration. We are working the the Nature Conservancy to restore oyster reefs in Hong Kong. 

https://www.tnc.org.hk/en-hk/what-we-do/hong-kong-projects/oyster-restoration/

From our research with TNC we have calculated that 7 m2 of Hong Kong oysters can filter an Olympic swimming pool per day.

Filtration Experiment

Water filtration at 15 °C over a tme lapse of 40 minutes

Filtration Experiment

Water filtration at 30 °C over a time lapse of 30 minutes

Benefits of sea urchins to coral communities 

In this study, we look at algae settlement, sediment accumulation, and growth and survival rates of three common genera of corals in Hong Kong in the presence and absence of urchins. The goal is to assess the impacts of urchins on coral communities to inform local government of how urchins promote growth, increase survival and reduce sediment accumulation. Therefore, we seek to help shape policy on future urchin culls.