China Research

This Just In From Charlie Brown Cafe -

Charlie Brown Cafe is located in downtown Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon in Kok Pah Mansion, ground floor. It is a great place for an Apple Cinnamon Tea (hot) and even better (cold). I’ve been here since 5 and have had approximately 3 give or take 2. In Hong Kong you can find millions upon billions of Coffee Shops/Cafes to sit and do your work away from the lab & away from your dorm room. Especially when the view from your dorm room is questionable. Today a Typhoon #3 warning was issued, nothing to panic about - just basically extreme winds & rains. Do the world a favor and buy a umbrella before you come to Hong Kong. Actually do yourself a favor and buy at least 3 because it is almost guaranteed that the winds will blow at least one of them away!

It is time for a DID YOU KNOW.

Did you know that it rains in Hong Kong- frequently. Weekly. Daily. Hourly. In mass quantities. It rains SO much in Hong Kong (especially during Typhoon season, so now) that the ‘umbrella’ becomes apart of your fashion statement. If your umbrella doesn’t match your outfit for the day you are totally not ‘IN’. Hah. Also, hold on to not only the handle of your umbrella BUT the actual top part as well. Tropical depression Kiama stole my umbrella today - needless to say.

Research - My research project is on it’s way. I’ve started all my tanks today. Got them cleaned, set up, bought filters at the Red Market in Mongkok (very cool place, pretty much anything you could ever want for extremely cheap- counting puppies, I was devastated. The also have hair ties which pretty much makes it the best place in HK) - on that note, don’t forget your hair ties at home because it’s almost as difficult as finding a CUP to buy. Anyways, the set up of the tanks was fairly straight forward, just very HOT in the greenhouse. And tropical depression Kiama was not letting up so my options were 90 (plus) degree greenhouse OR monsoons outside. Currently, I have four tanks running with fresh seawater and for the 10 gallon tanks (25 mL) of cultured bacteria were added to the circulating water, in the 20 gallon tank (50 mL) cultured bacteria was added. Tomorrow I will go to Sai Kung Pier via van and gather 8 more jugs of fresh seawater (I am not using reverse osmosis water because we’re trying to keep the corals environment as natural as possible) and then take it back to HKBU to the greenhouse and set up the other four tanks. I have 8 tanks total. Sunday Dr. Qiu planned a boat trip with the local fisherman (I’m not invited because I cannot speak Cantonese AND I’d take up room ha ha) so my lab mate Paul is going to take the boat trip and I’ll wait on the pier, then well bring the corals back to the greenhouse and I’ll set them up into their new temporary homes! That following week all of my experiments will start. Measurements and photographs will be taken. At some point I will figure out how to add photos to this blog & you can start to see what I am actually doing and seeing here in Hong Kong!

I was fortunate enough to witness one of my lab mates (Yanan) master defense presentation. She did great! How nerve-wracking. Poor girl, she thought I was going to go in and ask questions during the conversational portion of the presentation! Besides, her presentation was approximately 30 minutes and then it opened for questions in which one of the four individuals on her panel asked majority of them. She did her study the past 2 years on the Phylogeny of Polycheates in the NE-R of Hong Kong. Which is where my samples will be coming from. The NE-R of Hong Kong is the most “oceanic” if you will. The Pearl River pushes a lot of fresh water lowering salinity as well as increased sedimentation which all have negative affects on coral populations. Ultimately, the NE-R has more stable abiotic variables including salinity, temperatures, water clarity,etc. According to somewhat recent research (Fabricius & McCoy 2003) coral cover has declined in Hong Kong due to impaired coral recruitment and erosion by borers and sea urchins. Borers are agents of bioerosion that are located inside dead or live coral making it more susceptible to erosion (Fonseca et al. 2005) (Fonseca, A.C., Dean, H.K., Cortes, J., 2005). This causes azooxanthellate octocoral communities to be the dominant groups found on substrate below 5 meters deep. The octocoral communities include gorgonians and soft corals. These conditions make Hong Kong a favorable place to study soft corals amongst some of the more major reefs in the world, i.e Great Barrier Reef.

I’ll tell you more about my experiment when the observational & physical measurements actually start. It’ll be really interesting to see what the variability amongst the different measurement techniques turns out to be if any (even though I know there will be some variability already due to previous research). Manipulating their environmental conditions to see how that affects growth patterns/rates maybe even reproduction and mortality and comparing THAT to the variability between the observational and physical measurements to see WHICH holds the greatest and least variability and maybe giving some reasons as to WHY. Basically, I have a lot of work to do still! : ) Good stuff.

Still sitting in Charlie Brown Cafe - I’ll probably never leave. Where is the waiter? I want some apple cinnamon grande hot ‘mm goy’ (<- this is the not Cantonese spelling but the “english” spelling you’d see under the word to actually pronounce it properly…so mm goy… thank  you or please).

Soon Enough.