Division of Ecology & Biodiversity

The Division of Ecology & Biodiversity (DEB) oversees a range of projects on fundamental research in ecology and evolution as well as applied work on environmental change.

(1) Marine Science, (2) Evolutionary & Environmental Biology, and (3) Global Change & Conservation, including climate change and other anthropogenic change.

For example, DEB labs have explored 1.) the impacts of climate change on terrestrial plants and insects driven by global warming, 2.) how warming and ocean acidification may affect marine ecosystems and production systems, and 3.) the paleoecology of biodiversity associated with historical climate change. Our research integrates the marine, freshwater and terrestrial realms, using a diversity of approaches from molecular and genomics techniques to large-scale field-based experiments and global modeling. The range of taxa studied is diverse, from microbes to marine invertebrates, terrestrial and freshwater insects, as well as globally-threatened species of fishes, amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

Research Groups

Insect Biodiversity & Biogeography Lab
Biodiversity and Paleontology Integrative Biology & Evolutionary Ecology Research
Tropical IntertiDal Ecology group (TIDE) Biodiversity and Environmental Change Lab Freshwater Ecology and Conservation Lab
Global Change and Tropical Conservation Lab Molecular Ecology & Evolution Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics
Aquatic Ecology & Toxicology Lab Global Ecology and Remote Sensing Lab Forest Restoration
Applied Behavioural Ecology and Conservation Tropical Urban Evolutionary Ecology Lab Integrated Mangrove Ecology Lab (iMEco Lab)
Marine Futures Laboratory The Coral Biogeochemistry Lab Hong Kong Oyster Hatchery and Laboratory



Conservation Forensics

Napoleon fish

For more, please visit Faculty Research Divisions


Division of Molecular and Cell Biology

Endocrinology with special focus on Bioactive peptides:

This research area focuses on the biology of bioactive peptides in different models and systems. There are 19 key members in the group working on of 2 interrelated research themes: 1) Bioactive peptides and energy and water homeostasis, 2) Bioactive peptides and cell division and adhesion. Using disease models for hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer and reproduction, members of this research area seek to develop and screen innovative peptide agonists and antagonists as therapeutic interventions to these diseases.



Members within the group also provide support to each other via sharing generic skills, bioinformatics and systems biology platforms for generating genuine and long-lasting collaborations. The group has been highly productive in publications in relevant and high impact journals as well as extremely successfully in securing external grant with funding over 50 million HKD in the past.



Photosynthesis provides energy directly or indirectly to all life forms on this planet. Plants not only produce food, but also play a key role in maintaining the carbon and nutrient cycle of the ecosystem.

The understanding of plant biology will therefore benefit mankind in improving food production to meet the demand of the growing global populations. In agrobiotechnology, improving crop yield can be achieved by two approaches:

  1. Improving the efficiency of energy harvest and production by chloroplasts and mitochondria in plant cell;
  2. Enhancing the resistance of plants in response to biotic and abiotic stresses brought about by phytopathogens, extremes in temperature, water deficiency and heavy metals.

SBS researchers in Plant Sciences have expertise in Plant Biochemistry, Organelle Biology, Secondary Metabolism, and Stress Responses. In addition to food, plant also contributes economically valuable products. An understanding of plant biology will enable the genetic manipulation of economically useful plant products to benefit mankind.

New species Thismia hongkongensis (香港水玉杯) found in HK by Prof. Saunders

Evolution is the central concept that underpins and interconnects all biological studies. Evolutionary biology research focuses on both the process of evolution and the pattern resulting from this process. Research collaborations amongst Plant Sciences members employ molecular phylogenetic analyses as the basis for understanding evolutionary processes, including interpretations of morphological, physiological and chemical adaptations.

The above investigations can be achieved using a multidisciplinary approach involving SRA members with expertise in plant biochemistry, genomics, phylogenetics, proteomics, metabolomics and natural product chemistry.


For more, please visit Faculty Research Divisions