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SWIMS tidings.... (pdf)

It has now been approximately 6 months since the ceremony held at SWIMS to celebrate its renovation in December 2003. Since this event, and the upheavals of the renovation, we have finally been able to get down to the primary function of SWIMS - research. Students have adapted the aquarium to establish experiments. Over the last few months there have been a number of star species in the aquarium - notably the octopus and their babies; the burrowing Austinogebia (mudshrimp), bamboo sharks and their eggs, and also the echinoderms in the touch tank which recently featured in the nature column of Ming Pao.

This semester has also seen SWIMS host the undergraduate students undertaking their Coastal Ecology projects. Groups of students visited SWIMS to use the aquarium for their studies. In March, the entire class took part in a mini conference at SWIMS to present their results in the seminar room, followed by a BBQ and party at the residence block.

Postgraduate and undergraduate students from SWIMS participated in the Symposium on Marine Biology and Biotechnology held at Chinese University in April, with over 7 students giving talks/posters. We also hosted an alumni and Marine Biological Association (MBA, Hong Kong) open house and BBQ which was attended by over 60 people, including old friends and colleagues from Hong Kong UST, City University, Government departments and a large crowd from Chinese University led by Dr Put Ang. Dr Paul Shin gave a speech of welcome on behalf of the MBA and Kenny Leung coordinated the food and drink for what was a very relaxed and enjoyable evening!

Most recently, SWIMS hosted a Training Workshop on the Analysis of Multivariate Data from Ecology and Environmental Science using the statistics package Primer, led by Dr Bob Clarke (Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK). For four days, 30 participants from DEB (HKU), Chinese University, City University, Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, Environmental Protection Department, South China Sea Institute and even as far afield as the National Institute of Education, Singapore were gently guided through the minefields of multivariate statistics (Fig. 1). It was truly enlightening to hear Bob, who has developed most of the methods, explain and demystify these techniques and before long people were discussing how they could apply Cluster analysis, MDS, ANOSIM and other techniques to their own data sets. The workshop was a great success, principally due to Bob's patience and teaching skills, and also the support team at SWIMS, especially Albert and Cecily who made sure things ran smoothly. No doubt we shall be seeing an increasing use of these forms of analysis in papers from Hong Kong and, as the workshop proved so popular, we may even run another one in a year or so's time!

Fig. 1. Primer workshop participants

Gray A. Williams
Hon. Director SWIMS




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