Where the Passion Begins


Dr. Apple Chui

Research Assistant Professor

Dr. Apple Chui, is a marine biologist, conservationist, underwater photographer, and ocean lover. She obtained her M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Science and Biology programs from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), and has been a research assistant professor in CUHK since 2021. Her 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 coral chimerism be used as a tool to enhance the resilience of corals, and hence be used as one of the strategies for active coral restoration in the future. In 2019, Apple was selected as a Pew Marine Fellow, one of the eight awardees per year from around the world. More scholarships and conference presentation awards she has received including the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fellowships in 2013 and 2014, the best oral presentation in the 4th Cross-Strait Workshop on Coral Reef Biology and Marine Protected Area in 2011, the best student presentation award (first prize) at the 3rd Asia Pacific Coral Reef Symposium in 2014, the Professor John Gray Memorial Award for the Best Student Oral Presentation in the 8th International Conference on Marine Pollution and Ecotoxicology in 2016, and the best poster award in the Croucher Advanced Study Institute: Impacts of Eutrophication, Pollution and Harmful Benthic Microalgae Blooms on Coastal Coral Reef Ecosystems in 2017.

As a teacher, it is Apple's passion for coral and conservation research that arouse students’ interest and curiosity, so that her students not only learn intellectually but, connect emotionally and take responsibility to conserve nature. Her learner-centred teaching approach has earned her the University Education Award 2020, the finalist of the UGC Teaching Award 2020 (Early Career Faculty Members), Faculty Exemplary Teaching Award 2018, Outstanding Teaching Performance for College General Education Course 2017-18 of Shaw College, Vice-Chancellor's Exemplary Teaching Award 2017 and Exemplary Teaching Award in General Education 2017.

As a committed science communicator and devoted conservationist, Apple has been actively engaged in community outreach and education activities in Hong Kong. Throughout the years, she has been invited to speak in over 60 public seminars on marine and coral conservation for various organizations, including Schools, AFCD, WWF-HK, RTHK, Ocean Park Hong Kong and Hong Kong Science Museum. In 2018, Apple officially launched an outreach program “Coral Academy”, to raise students and the public’s awareness and inspire action in marine conservation through various workshops. She has been selected as one of the 101 Outstanding People in Asia’s Dive Industry: Scientists by Underwater360 Magazine and is a recipient of the GGEF Women Eco Game Changer Awards - Eco star of China in 2019. 

Research interests:
1. Impact of climate change on marginal coral communities
2. Interventions that might increase coral resilience
3. Coral restoration



Google scholar citations:

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Candy Lee

Programme coordinator

Hi everyone, I’m Candy and I’m currently working as the programme coordinator in Coral Academy! Ever since my undergraduate life in CUHK, I have been passionate about conservation education and have been engaged in organising different education programmes, and now I can’t wait to explore different kinds of opportunities here in Coral Academy! Meanwhile, I am also an art lover and believe that art allows us to appreciate nature in a unique way. I also envision using art to achieve the goal of conservation education, thus I feel so grateful to become the in-house designer of Coral Academy and have chances to create most of the education materials for the team!

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Iris Lai

Research Assistant

Hello everyone! I’m Iris. I was an Environmental Science student from the CUHK and currently the research assistant of Dr. Apple Chui. As a nature lover, I hope to seek out ways to conserve the wildlife. Although coral restoration is sometimes a tough job, seeing the corals growing better and healthier pays off! My wishes for the future are 1. richer biodiversity in HK waters; and 2. higher awareness for environmental conservation in the general public! Are you ready to make my wishes come true? Let’s explore the mesmerizing underwater together!


Christy Kong

Research Assistant

Hi guys! I am Christy. I was an FYP student and am currently a research assistant of Dr. Apple Chui in CUHK. Ever since I was small, I was attracted to the nature by its beauty. The ocean is not only my playground, it is also a shelter where I feel calm. Now it also becomes a challenging place with the exciting work in coral restoration! The bustling coral communities are precious marine treasures of Hong Kong. I wish everyone would discover some meaningful values of the ocean to them like I do! 

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Elvis Wong

Research Assistant

I am Elvis, a research assistant of Dr. Chui in CUHK.  As a member of the Coral Academy, not only do I want to revive the marine environment by coral restoration, I also wish that I can influence others to protect and value our beautiful ocean in Hong Kong.  For me, our sea and coral communities are always full of surprises, every time I go underwater and visit the outplanted corals, it’s like digging treasures, I can always find different kind of creatures and encounters.  If you are also interested, don’t hesitate to take your first step to get to know more about the ocean, you may find yourself addicted to it as much as I do!

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Jenny Chan

Research Assistant

Hello! I'm Jenny :D I graduated from CUHK last year with a major in Biology and a minor in German. I love learning new things and exploring nature. It's such a blessing that I got the chance to learn scuba diving, which allows me to see and experience the fascinating underwater world in person. While appreciating the beauty of nature, it is inevitable to notice the challenges that our ocean has been facing. I really want to do something to help - and this is the reason why I am here! I believe being a research assistant in Dr. Apple Chui's lab will not only provide me countless opportunities to contribute to marine conservation, but also I will be able to further equip myself to figure out and pursue my goal in the future! >v< 

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Taison Chang

Ph.D. Candidate

I am a PhD student at CUHK under the supervision of Dr. Apple Chui and Prof. Peter Mumby from the University of Queensland. My research interests focus on understanding the impacts of climate change on corals and how corals in marginal habitats, e.g. Hong Kong, persist through possible future marine environments. 


After obtaining my BSc in Biology at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, I have worked as a research associate to monitor cetaceans in Hong Kong for over 6 years. At the same time, I have also served as a committee member and Chairman of Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society. I was heavily involved in marine environmental education and outreach. In 2019, I moved to Australia to pursue a Master’s degree in Conservation Science at the University of Queensland. During which I had the opportunity to conduct a research project at the Marine Spatial Ecology Lab under the supervision of Prof. Peter Mumby. I studied the representativeness of reconnaissance data collected by citizen scientists across the Great Barrier Reef for the Great Reef Census project.  

Outside of school and work, I am a wildlife enthusiast and keen to observe nature and all sorts of wildlife. The wonders of nature always fascinate me and I simply cannot stop myself from diving more into nature. 

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Billy Cheung

Undergraduate student

Billy is a final-year student working on coral microfragmentation. He is delighted to work in the laboratory and share his findings with the public. Not only he is a coral-lover, but he also engaged in doing conservation. Don't hesitate to talk to him if u have the chance to meet him! 

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Victor Li

Undergraduate student

 Hi! I am Victor and I am a year 4 student majoring in Biology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I am a FYP student studying relationships between extreme weather events and the bioerosion of long-spined sea urchins on corals. I am a scuba diver and I can always find something exciting for me from the underwater world and therefore I am always interested in studying marine ecology and I want to use my knowledge contributing to the local marine conservation. Come and join Coral Academy and conserve the marine habitat together!

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Ryan Yip

Undergraduate student

Hello everybody! My name’s Ryan and I’m a Year 5 student majoring in Environmental Science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), who is also an FYP student focussing on coral restoration at Tolo Harbour and Channel under Dr. Apple Chui’s research team.  

As an amateur scuba diver, I have always found the underwater world extremely mysterious and full of surprises. This simply explains why I have a firm conviction to promote marine conservation by means of science communication, environmental education and activism, along with bridging the communication gap between scientists and public.  

For anyone who is interested in exploring more about coral communities and diverse marine ecosystems in Hong Kong, I wholeheartedly invite you to join the Coral Academy and conserve our delicate corals and oceans! 

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Daniel Mak

Research Assistant

Daniel Mak is a marine toxicologist, policy advocate, and ocean enthusiast. He acquired his M.Phil degrees in Environmental Science programs from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and currently work in AFCD as a fishery management officer. His research focuses on three main perspectives: i) What are the spatial and temporal patterns of microplastics in the aquatic environment?; ii )How microplastics interact with marine organisms (eg., coral, fish, and oyster)?; iii) Can policy instruments (eg., Microbead Ban, Single used plastic Ban) to be used as a mandatory system to change public ’norm’ in plastic consumption?

To be a sincere marine toxicologist, Daniel has actively involved in research and education programs. He has published several international peer-review journals about microplastic pollution in Hong Kong, the identification of microplastic pollution sources, and the toxicity effects of microplastics on marine organisms. Besides, He has been invited to present his research results about microplastic and marine debris problems through different public broadcasting, comprising RTHK (Hong Kong Collection) and WWF.

To be an inspiring policy advocate, he has started to communicate with different stakeholders in the participation of the plastic waste reduction program to allow the public to have a good recycling habitat.

As the old saying goes, ’policy marker didn’t know science, scientists didn’t understand policy.’ His wish is to become a ”bridging” person among policy and science, further enhancing and protecting Hong Kong biodiversity through effective implementation of environmental legislation.