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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: (1) How will projected future climate change affect corals that are currently present in marginal coral environments like Hong Kong? (2) Can we enhance coral population resilience and restore degraded coral habitats at ecologically meaningful scales? In 2019, Apple was selected as a Pew Marine Fellow, one of the eight awardees per year from around the world. She is also a National Geographic Explorer. 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 public outreach and education activities on marine and coral conservation in Hong Kong. Throughout the years, she has been invited to speak in over 80 public seminars on marine and coral conservation for various local organizations, including Schools, Government sectors, Hong Kong Wetland Park, Hong Kong Science Museum, WWF-HK, and other NGOs. In 2019, Apple officially founded the now well-established education outreach programme “Coral Academy” in Hong Kong ( that aims to raise students and public awareness and inspire action in coral conservation. Her collaborators include various government departments, NGOs, and secondary schools. Through her extensive education and outreach engagements over the past 4 years, her team has reached at least 30 local secondary schools, and over 10,000 students and teachers. Apple 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


The School of Life Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Webpage:


Google scholar citations:

Team: Team Members
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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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Elvis Wong

MPhil student

I am Elvis!  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

PhD Student

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

Research Assistant

Billy is currently using micro-colony-fusion approachs to bring larger coral colonies back in Tolo Channel! 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! 


Thomas Fong

Research Assistant

Hi I am Thomas! I am working on coral community restoration in Tolo Channel by using corals of opportunity (unattached coral fragments rescued from the field)!  I am delighted to work in the field and enjoy the time diving. I am so surprised that there are more and more creatures like sea horses, butterfly fishes, huge cuttlefish, etc.  in our restoration sites. Don't hesitate to join our restoration work and have the chance to Adopt a Coral with us!

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