SDG15 Life on Land
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Photo Credit: Project Ha Giang 2019
Colour reconstruction for fossil animals
Our researchers from the Department of Earth Sciences proposed a new fossil animal colour reconstruction framework after examining existing fossil colour reconstruction methods. The study of pigments other than melanin is limited in fossil colour reconstruction studies as non-melanin pigments are difficult to fossilise, leading to incomplete knowledge and lack of standard study approach towards reconstructing the colour of fossil animals.
The research team proposed a new palaecolour reconstruction framework that provides background context for the evolution of colour-producing mechanisms. The new framework is expected to encourage future efforts to reconstruct colour in more fossil animals including non-dinosaur reptiles and mammals.
Click on the icons to see the full list of courses/research.
Engagement and Outreach
Positive news on mangrove conservation
Our researchers had been cooperating with international experts on studying mangrove ecosystems. More than a decade ago, the team warned that the rate of loss of mangrove forests is faster than other ecosystems such as coral reefs and tropical rainforests. However, recently the team studied earlier presented works and found that the mangrove loss rates have reduced, from 1-3% per year in the previous estimation to 0.3-0.6%. The drastic reduction is attributed greatly to successful mangrove conservation efforts, including changing industrial practices, expanded management and protection, increased focus on rehabilitation and stronger recognition of the ecosystem services provided by mangroves.
Teaching, Learning and Students Activities
Courses and programmes
The education on biodiversity and nature conservation was affected by COVID-19 as the measures on combating the pandemic often prohibit institutions from organising site visits and tours. To provide opportunities for students to learn about nature and sustainability, our Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Centre partnered with HKU Summer Institute to launch the Beyond the Concrete Jungle: Exploring Nature and Biodiversity online course. Using interdisciplinary and experiential measures, such as online lectures, virtual tours, live workshops, and other learning opportunities, students can be able to learn about the features and elements of nature and biodiversity, as well as nature conservation and education in Hong Kong.
Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Centre
Moving into its second decade of operation, our Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Centre (LFSEEC) is committed to engaging the community to promote ecology and conservation of ecosystems around HKU. The centre hosts exhibitions and offers guided ecological tours, green workshops, and other special programmes for visitors to explore local ecology and environmental-friendly practices. One of the iconic projects of the centre this year was the “Ecology in Making: A History of Amateur Naturalists in Hong Kong” exhibition, which showcased stories from selected naturalists in collecting, identifying, conserving, and popularising nature during 1816 to 1984. The exhibition also displayed rare books, animal specimens, fossils, and paintings from local and international organisations.