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Welcome to Coral Academy

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How It Got Started

The Coral Academy, based at the Simon F.S. Li Marine Science Laboratory at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, is an initiative focused on coral conservation, restoration, and public education. Led by Dr. Apple Chui, a Research Assistant Professor in the School of Life Sciences, the Coral Academy has the following key objectives:

  • To enhance public awareness and knowledge of Hong Kong's rich marine biodiversity, environmental issues, problems and solutions, with a special emphasis on coral communities through seminars, workshops, eco-tours, and lab visits.
     

  • To build emotional connections between participants and local coral ecosystems, fostering a sense of ownership and stewardship, through hands-on experiences like coral adoption, propagation, nursery maintenance, outplanting, and field monitoring.
     

  • To promote pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors among participants, empowering them to become champions of coral conservation.

Over the past five years, we have successfully engaged with at least 60 local schools, over 30,000 students and teachers, and over 300,000 public through our extensive education outreach efforts.

© Coral Academy

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Meet the founder

Dr. Apple Chui

Research Assistant Professor, School of Life Sciences, CUHK

Apple Chui (Aka “coral mum”) is a Research Assistant Professor in the School of Life Sciences at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, the first PEW marine fellow from Hong Kong, National Geographic Explorer, and a recipient of the GGEF Women Eco Game Changer Awards - Eco star of China 2019. With a primary research focus on the effects of climate change on marginal coral communities, Dr. Chui explores interventions aimed at enhancing coral resilience and implementing coral restoration initiatives.

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Coral Academy Lab

Our research focuses on the biology, ecology and restoration of coral ecosystems in Hong Kong, a marginal environment for coral growth. Our research addresses two main questions:  How will projected future climate change affect corals that are currently present in marginal coral environments like Hong Kong? And can we enhance coral population resilience and restore degraded coral habitats at ecologically meaningful scales? 

F2 coral baby

1st Time in Hong Kong

For the first time in Hong Kong, our laboratory-bred and outplanted corals are sexually mature and spawn simultaneously in the wild, giving birth to the second generation coral babies

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Around 90% Survival

The overall survival of our laboratory-bred and ouplanted corals is around 90% in Tolo Harbour and Channel, Hong Kong.

Enhance Biodiversity

The outplanted corals in Tolo Channel have successfully attracted indicator species such as seahorse and butterflyfish.

Take some time to explore the blog, read something interesting, and feel free to reach out if you would like to collaborate on a project together.

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Outreach Programme

Coral Academy’s flagship education project, the School Coral Nursery Education Programme, fosters a deep connection between local corals and students through hands-on involvement in coral restoration efforts. In addition to this flagship project, the Academy organizes a range of engaging activities including seminars, workshops, lab visits, citizens science programmes and exhibitions. These activities provide participants with valuable knowledge, emphasizing the vibrant marine biodiversity and coral communities that thrive within the waters of Hong Kong.

Check Them Out

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AFCD x Coral Academy Coral Nursery Education Programme
漁農自然護理署 x 珊瑚學院 育養珊瑚校園計劃

Full academic year

Turning local secondary schools into coral culturing stations before outplanting. This one-year programme is designed to provide students with solid knowledge and experiences in coral conservation works through school-based culturing of alive local coral fragments, which will then be outplanted for actual local coral restoration work in Hong Kong. By taking the vital role of maintaining coral tanks and monitoring coral growth and health, teams of teachers and students can learn about coral biology and ecology while establishing a sense of mission to restore coral communities and protect the ocean. Throughout the year, there are also various conservation engagement activities, including guided eco-tours, aquarium tours, and sharing sessions.

 

將全港中學化為珊瑚培育基地,而本地中學生及老師則組成團隊擔當起照料及紀錄珊瑚健康成長的重大任務,從體驗中學習到香港海洋生態及科學知識,同時建立保護海洋的使命感!在全年計劃中,參加團隊亦有分享保育經驗的環節,與校內外群體宣揚珊瑚保育重要性,一同見證香港的珊瑚保育工作。「育養珊瑚校園計劃」參加學校由起初的5間增至本年度18間中學,育養珊瑚的種類更多元化,全年的活動亦日趨豐富,包括海岸公園戶外生態導賞、水族館導賞、校內外分享環節等,讓師生有更深入及全面的海洋保育學習體驗。

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Journey to Coral Restoration
珊瑚修復探索之旅

2.5 hours

Through a series of engaging activities including coral introductory seminar, 360° VR virtual underwater survey exercise, hands-on coral adoption, water quality monitoring workshop, and a guided tour to visit the Coral nursery and Propagation Centre at the Simon F. S. Li Marine Science Laboratory CUHK,  the participants got to know more about coral biology and their current status in Hong Kong. Also, they were able to assist in the restoration of local coral communities on a first-hand basis, which further connect them with the local coral communities. Let’s shoulder the important mission of coral conservation together!

藉著珊瑚講座、360° VR虛擬實境水底生態調查、珊瑚助養、水質監測工作坊,及導賞參觀中文大學李福善海洋科學研究中心的珊瑚培育及研究基地,不但讓參加者了解香港珊瑚的現況及認識珊瑚生物學,更能夠親身協助修復本地珊瑚群落,建立與本地珊瑚之間的聯繫,肩負保育珊瑚的重任!

© Coral Academy

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Learn about Coral Communities in Tung Ping Chau Marine Park
東平洲珊瑚生態探索之旅

9 hours

Participants can have a quick glimpse of Hong Kong’s vibrant marine life and the wonders of the coral world through a variety of interactive activities, including an introductory seminar on corals, hands-on coral identification workshops, and a guided eco-shore exploration in the marine park. During the shore exploration, participants will observe diverse intertidal wildlife and corals. Following the outdoor activities, the participants will visit the coral culturing facilities at the Simon F.S. Li Marine Science Laboratory at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The day culminates with a firsthand coral adoption experience. This comprehensive program offers an immersive learning experience, allowing participants to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Hong Kong's fascinating marine environment and the importance of coral conservation.

參加者透過互動活動,包括珊瑚講座,珊瑚鑑別工作坊,以及在東平洲海岸公園進行的沿岸生態探索導覽,透過遊戲尋找海岸上的珊瑚骨及潮間帶各種小生物的痕跡,一瞥香港生機勃勃的海洋生態和珊瑚的奇妙。東平洲之旅後,緊接著中文大學李福善海洋科學研究中心的珊瑚培養設施參觀及助養珊瑚。這個全面的項目提供了沉浸式的學習體驗,使參加者能夠深入了解和欣賞香港的海洋環境以及珊瑚保育的重要性,啟發新一代成為保衛海洋的一份子。

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Coral Academy x WWF-HK 
Citizen Scientist Programme: Coral Rescuer

珊瑚學院 x 世界自然基金會香港分會
公民科學家計劃:珊瑚拯救小隊
 

Half-year

In May to October 2021, Coral Academy and the World Wildlife Fund Hong Kong co-organized a Citizen Scientist Programme: Coral Rescuer, under the sponsorship of the TrustTomorrow initiative by the Swire Group. Local SCUBA divers passionate about marine conservation were invited to join this programme and become citizen scientists. A "Coral Rescue Team" was assembled to assist in the restoration and monitoring of local coral communities. Workshops and training sessions were conducted to provide the citizen scientists with basic knowledge about corals, identification of different species, and ideas on coral restoration techniques. After the trainings, the participating citizen scientists worked alongside the research team to rescue coral fragments that had naturally fallen into the sea, and regularly recorded the growth of these rescued fragments. The "Coral Rescue Team" also carried out ecological surveys at various dive sites to monitor changes in the health of the coral communities. This collaborative programme between Coral Academy, WWF, and the community of local SCUBA divers aimed to engage citizens in hands-on coral conservation efforts and build awareness about the importance of protecting these vital marine ecosystems.

2021年5月至10月期間, 珊瑚學院與世界自然基金會香港分會在太古基金「信望未來」的贊助下,合辦了公⺠科學家計劃: 珊瑚拯救小隊。本地熱衷於海洋保護的水肺潛水員被邀請加入這個計劃,一同成為公⺠科學家。參加者組成了「珊瑚拯救小隊」,一同協助修復和監測本地的珊瑚群落。我們透過舉辦一系列工作坊和培訓課程,為參與者提供關於珊瑚的基礎知識、不同物種的識別,以及珊瑚修復工作的相關理念。培訓結束後,參與本計劃的公⺠科學家在我們的研究團隊的帶領下,親自拯救在海中天然掉落的珊瑚碎塊,並定期記錄它們的生長情況。「珊瑚拯救小隊」還在不同的潛水地點進行了生態調查,記錄珊瑚群落健康狀況的變化。這個由珊瑚學院、世界自然基金會香港分會和熱心潛水員共同合作的計劃,旨在透過公眾參與珊瑚保育活動,以提高大眾對保育珊瑚生態系統的意識。

Media Coverage

RTHK 香港電台

From childhood adventures of fishing and crabbing with her parents and older brother to diving and conserving nature with her research team, Dr Chui Pui-yi, a Research Assistant Professor of School of Life Sciences at CUHK, is driven by a deep love for the ocean. She dedicates herself to studying the restoration and cultivation of local corals, with the aim of reviving the vibrant colors of Hong Kong's underwater world. With a seamless blend of wetsuits and lab coats, oxygen tanks, and microscopes, Dr Chui and her passionate young research team took part on a groundbreaking mission. After successfully achieving Hong Kong's first artificial sexual reproduction of corals, they now delve into innovative techniques to unravel the secrets of coral growth mechanisms. Corals are extremely sensitive to their living environment and have an exceptionally slow growth rate. Overcoming these hurdles requires passion and perseverance. The research team works tirelessly day and night, disregarding weather conditions. Drawing from international experiences and utilising advanced instruments, they have made significant breakthroughs in recent years, witnessing the gradual success of their restoration project. "Corals need to be tough!" "Grow faster, corals!" With a maternal concern evident in her care for the baby corals, Dr Chui is also a mother herself. Balancing the demanding task of nurturing her juvenile corals with the nighttime anticipation of her two-year-old child waiting for her at home, Dr Chiu constantly contemplates the choices she faces as a woman. In the face of global warming and the consequences of extreme weather events, rising water temperatures and powerful typhoons pose a threat to the critical threshold for coral survival. The team collaborates with various stakeholders, rallying support even from the smallest of water tanks, in their determined efforts to strengthen local coral restoration. However, the future of conservation endeavors remains challenging, with increasing difficulties worldwide. "Coral Mama" Dr Chui and her companions tirelessly guard the ocean, witnessing not only the growth of corals but also their own personal transformation amid the ebb and flow of tides.

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彭博商業周刊/中文版 Bloomberg Businessweek/Chinese Edition 

在皮尤海洋保育學者資助金、漁農自然護理署和政府環境及自然保育基金的支持下,崔和團隊自2019年起在赤門海峽進行試點研究,旨在修復香港受破壞的珊瑚群落,提升野外珊瑚覆蓋率、提高生物多樣性及增強珊瑚群落應對未來氣候變化的能力。其中包括移植約100株以有性繁殖培育長大至兩歲的霜鹿角珊瑚幼苗。移植一年後,這些珊瑚在野外存活率達到了九成。在2022,這批五歲的珊瑚首次在野外同步產卵,標誌著香港第一次成功完成了霜鹿角珊瑚的整個生命周期。

 

申請公共機構的撥款及研究經費,一直是崔佩怡和珊瑚學院唯一的資金來源,直至崔開啟與WWF香港分會的合作,商界力量得以進入海底世界。在一年前,WWF香港分會與珊瑚學院共同推出了一個專注珊瑚修復和公眾參與的ESG(環境、社會及企業管治)項目「珊海無盡」,企業和公眾可在此認養珊瑚,目標是三年間在吐露港種下一千塊珊瑚。

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The Team

Where the Passion Begins

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Team members

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Billy Cheung

PhD Student

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Michelle Chan

Research Assistant

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Yan Ping Loo

Research Assistant

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Alice Lau

Research Assistant

Alumni

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Daniel Mak

Research Assistant

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Iris Lai

Research Assistant

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Christy Kong

Research Assistant

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Jenny Chan

Research Assistant 

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Thomas Fong

Research Assistant

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Doris Li

Programme Assistant

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Ink Tse

Research Assistant

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Ken Tsang

Research Assistant

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Alfred Wong

Research Assistant

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Dr. Apple Chui (Founder)

Research Assistant Professor, School of Life Sciences, CUHK

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Candy Lee

Programme Coordinator

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Elvis Wong

Mphil Student

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Taison Chang

PhD Student

Our Key Collaborators
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Adjunct Associate Professor/ Senior Research Fellow (Honorary)

Prof. Ang Put

Institute of Space and Earth Information Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

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Associate Professor

Prof. James Fang

Faculty of Science, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Director, Hong Kong Marine Ecological Association

Contact

(Office): (852) 3943 8026
(Lab): (852) 3943 1217

Coral Academy

Simon F.S. Li Marine Science Laboratory
The Chinese University of Hong Kong 
Hong Kong SAR 

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