Prof. Dave Baker

by Austin Yeung 2017-02-28

Professor David M. Baker from the University of Hong Kong Swire Institute of Marine Science will be visiting Shanghai American School (SAS) on March 9-10.

He will be giving lectures with SAS students, meeting with its faculty, and speaking on the topic of  “That Day … in the Life of A Marine Scientist.”  Please join us.  To view the poster of this presentation, click here.

 

Fish hunt yields monster lionfish in Key Largo

by TNP editor 2017-02-19

According to Miami Herald, a lionfish measured over 450 mm was caught during a weekend fishing derby off Key Largo, part of the Florida Keys. While the one-day weekend event for 48 Scuba divers, held annually since 2012, seemed to be a success, the single-day catches of 420 lionfish highlight the seriousness of such a problem – an invasive species that feeds on 50 important species of native fish has firmly established itself in the western Atlantic waters.

So how did lionfish, tropical natives of the Pacific, find their way to Florida and the Atlantic coast?  It was suggested that lionfish were inadvertently released from an aquarium during the hurricane Andrew in 1992. As lionfish are highly reproductive (an adult female can spawn 30,000 eggs every few days), they are now widespread in the Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Bermuda, and along the coastlines of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. And they don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

Unfortunately, the window of eradicating this invasive species may have passed. Catching lionfish through divers may be the only viable method to control their population. We humans are doing what we do best – trying to eat our way out of a problem caused by the unwelcome invaders.

Lionfish fillets are now offered at Florida Whole Foods Market stores at $8.99 per pound. bon appétit.

Hawaii’s ban on “reef-unfriendly” sunscreen

by Austin Yeung 2017-02-06

Symbiosis Sea TurtleJanuary 20th, US Senator Will Espero proposed a bill banning sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate: chemicals that have been found to be harmful to Hawaii’s reefs. The ban, if successful, helps to protect Hawaiian reefs and maintain the heavy tourism economy the coral reefs attract. The ban has also been noticed by other regions that rely on reefs, including Palau and the British Virgin Islands.

Research in 2016 by the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory in Clifford, Virginia has found octinoxate to stunt the growth of baby corals and oxybenzone to be toxic. These chemicals have been found to cause coral bleaching in the lab as well as in the wild. Field data show that levels of oxybenzone contamination were at 4,000 parts per trillion (ppt) along the most popular beaches off the coast of Maui. With 9 million visitors a year, oxybenzone and octinoxate sunscreen pollution pose a serious environmental hazard.

However, this bill is only a small step in protecting Hawaii’s reefs. Larger concerns of overfishing, coastal runoff, and pollution still pose serious concerns. We should take this step to help promote visitor awareness for Hawaii’s reefs.

To read more, click here.

Reef Encounter

by Austin Yeung 2017-01-03

Reef Encounter 30-2Post-truth

The latest issue, Volume 31, Number 2, of Reef Encounter, the news journal of the International Society of Reef Studies (ISRS), has been published.

To read more of this issue of the news journal, click here.

I’m also pleased to report that the ‘Reef Perspectives’ article I wrote on coral reef conservation was accepted for publication in this same Dec 2016 issue.

You can view my op-ed article:

Yeung AH (2016) Post-truth in reef conservation: changing the narrative to focus on people through education and social media. Reef Encounter 31-2: 27-31

as published here.

ICRS13 proceedings

by Austin Yeung 2016-12-30

The proceedings of ICRS13, the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium, held in June 2016 at the Honolulu Convention Center, has now been published.

To learn more, click here to go to the ICRS13 proceedings page or download its table of contents here.

My paper with Prof. David M. Baker:

Session 80: A.H. Yeung, D.M. Baker (2016) A turnaround at Sanya National Coral Reef Nature Reserve?

Proc 13th Intl Coral Reef Symposium Honolulu: 561-580

can also be downloaded here.

Papahānaumokuākea the world’s largest MPA

by Alan Yeung 2016-08-27

The White House has just announced the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, thus creating the world’s largest marine reserve with an aim to protect coral reefs and other marine habitats.

President Obama’s designation will quadruple the size of the uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands’ no-take reserve, expanding the total protected area of the monument from 139,797 to 582,578 square miles (1.5 million square kilometers). Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is a national monument first designated by President George W. Bush in 2006 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. At the far northwestern end of the monument lie the Pearl and Hermes Atoll, Kure Atoll, and Midway Atoll, which is about 1,300 miles (2,100 kilometers) from Honolulu, HI.

Contine reading

Expedition to Palau

by Austin Yeung 2016-07-26

Six months and a few hundred diving photos later, I returned to Palau. This time, the purpose of travel was entirely different. Instead of vacationing in Palau, I was doing field work – coral experiments.  Marine biologist Prof. Palumbi and Megan Morikawa from Stanford University were doing baseline data collection in Palau. Amazingly, I was fortunate enough to be able to join them on this research expedition. Along with my friend Sebastian, another avid diver and photographer, I was introduced to sample and data collection in the ocean. By using data loggers, we recorded temperatures of the patch reefs in the area. A critical aspect of the experiment was to navigate the seas and find the locations at which the data loggers were first placed. I found this to be a very valuable learning experience as I was taught how to use a satellite GPS and use it to navigate the waters. It was fun, it was relaxing, and it was educational.

As you can imagine, doing research work in an environment like that of Palau, it’s hard not to become distracted by the beauty of the environment. With our underwater cameras, Sebastian and I were able to capture breathtaking photos of underwater life. On one particular occasion, Prof. Palumbi discovered a lionrock: a rock that sheltered lionfish. By using still shots with the GoPro, I was able to record the movements of a spectacular baby lionfish and its two parents. It’s the little things that we saw during our research expedition that really attracts me to this particular type of research. It’s the combination of seeing wildlife beauty and the research work around it that interests me. This is why I enjoy marine biology.

Summer internship at HKU

by Austin Yeung 2016-07-17

I am back to Hong Kong working as a summer intern with Prof. Dave Baker at the University of Hong Kong. This year, I got to work with Vicky and others in a number of projects within the new Baker Lab on the HKU main campus. Vicky taught me some basic forensic lab skills where I am learning how to extract DNA. I also met Ashley, another intern working at HKU this summer, in which we both experimented with the 3D scanner and became mini ‘experts’ on it.

It has been a great deal of fun and learning.

Austin Yeung receives ICRS award

by TNP Editor  2016-06-26

Congratulations to Austin Yeung for receiving a student poster award at the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS), Honolulu, Hawaii.

Sanctioned by International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS) and held once every 4 years, the symposium took place on June 19-25, 2016 at the Honolulu Convention Center, and brought together the world’s students, researchers, and scholars in coral reef science, as well as sovereign and conservation management leaders.

A member of NaturePac and currently attending Shanghai American School, Austin is advised by Dr. David M. Baker, a biology professor at the Swire Institute of Marine Science, School of Biological Sciences, University of Hong Kong.

ICRS 2016 opens in Hawaii

ICRS2016

by Austin Yeung  2016-06-22

The 13th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) opens in Honolulu, Hawaii, and will run from Jun 19-24, 2016.

I am very excited to join more than 2,500 attendees from 97 nations at this event.  Since attending the 3rd Asia Pacific Coral Reef Symposium (2014APCRS) at Kenting, Taiwan in June, 2014, I’ve been looking forward to participating in the 13th ICRS, where I will be making a poster presentation under the supervision of Dr. Baker.

Happy to be here in Honolulu!