Baker Lab Alumni
Johnny Richards (2018-2020)
B.Sc. Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (HKU)
I grew up in Los Angeles and came to HKU to study molecular biology. I work primarily in the Conservation Forensics group, using molecular methods to identify illegally traded wildlife and develop new tools for use by law enforcement and customs officials to quickly and accurately identify trafficked wildlife. I'm also exploring uses for new techniques and methods such as eDNA detection and next-generation sequencing for better understanding and characterizing the global black market trade in endangered plants and animals. Outside the lab I love to cook, bake, and talk to my garden of carnivorous plants.
Dr. Naomi Geeraert (2017-2019)
Ph.D., M.Sc., B.Sc. (KULeuven, Belgium)
When you look around you in the natural environment, there are so many natural processes which have a clear spatial component. The fascination for that spatial component was the motivation to study Geography, where I learned about terrestrial ecosystems and global change. During my doctoral research, I increased our understanding of carbon cycling in a large tropical river by looking at changes in carbon concentration and stable isotope signature during the wet season in the Tana River in Kenya. I will continue to work on stable isotopes by measuring the nitrogen and oxygen in the nitrate in the Pearl River Estuary and the waters around Hong Kong to learn more about the effects of increased nitrate input from human sources (e.g. waste water or fertilizer) on the marine ecosystem.
Raised in New Caledonia, Nicolas gained a fascination with coral reefs at a young age. As an adult he has become an expert in coral geochemistry, specifically paleo-oceanographic records of changing climate and pollution from the skeletons of corals and giant clams. Nicolas' research has taken him from the Caribbean and throughout the Western Pacific. At HKU, Nicolas and I collaborate on projects seeking pollution records from coral cores collected in Hong Kong, Micronesia, and New Caledonia. Nico left the Baker Lab at the end of 2016 for a new postition at the Max Planck Institute in collaboration with Princeton University.
Jordan Pierce (2018)
B.S. Geography/Oceanography (Texas A&M Uni.)
Initially starting out in Computer Science, I became interested in applying my technical background to Earth Sciences and quickly found joy in remote sensing and 3D modeling of underwater environments. During my undergraduate studies I worked closely with both the Geography and Anthropology departments as a research assistant to construct representations of nearshore environments, while simultaneously building up experience in SCUBA. Currently, I am interested in the habitat structural complexity of coral reefs and how their morphology can be quantified using remote sensing methods (photogrammetry, LiDAR). I look forward to providing assistance to the members of this eclectic lab, and in return, gaining a holistic insight on coral reef ecology.
Research Assistant (DES)
B.Sc. Environmental Science (HKU)
Growing up in this city, I wish to protect the natural side of the urbanised and financial city. I joined the lab as an undergraduate volunteer and started a summer research fellowship on coral-algal symbiosis in 2016. I found my interest in marine science. Now, I am working with Dr. Geeraert on the Ocean_HK project looking at the nitrogen isotope around Pearl River Delta. I hope to involve in different projects and field work with the lab members.
Dr. Till Röthig (2017-2018)
Ph.D. (KAUST), M.S. (Bremen)
I gained a broad background in biology at the University of Cologne, specialized in marine science at the University Bremen, and conducted my M.S. thesis on the effects of anthropogenic stress on corals at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). During my PhD at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) I collaborated on a broad range of projects on coral (reef) resilience and functioning. I gained extensive experience on the interactions of the coral holobionts main compartments (i.e. coral host, algal symbionts, and associated bacterial assemblages) and their response to environmental changes. My work also included large-scale projects on coral reef calcification patterns and physico-chemical and biological drivers of reef functioning. My doctoral work focussed on implications of salinity changes for coral holobiont functioning and more specifically on the response of each main compartment. In Hong Kong I will work on coral reef biodiversity, for instance to assess the impact of local salinity and oxygen gradients on the benthic habitats.
Martin Wong (2014-2016)
M.Phil. Student: Ecology & Biodiversity (HKU-SWIMS)
B.A. Environmental Studies (Johns Hopkins)
I grew up in Hong Kong and went to college in the United States. Being an environmental studies major student with a strong interest in ecology, I actively sought intern opportunities that allowed me to understand this field first-hand. I spent 7 months in 2012 as a field assistant in several projects where I swam with sharks in the Bahamian ocean and caught birds in the Peruvian cloud forest (and filmed during my whole journey) as well as 2 months in a pelagic fish genetics lab in Virginia, USA in 2013. I have hands-on experience in various tasks such as investigating the thermal tolerance of Hong Kong corals and stable isotope analysis of Philippine corals. Besides marine science, I am also interested in scuba diving, hiking, languages, and travelling.
Michael Zhu (2014)
Bachelors in Civil and Environmental Engineering (HKU)
Mike hails from Chengdu China, Panda country and he has a uncanny ability to tolerate capsacin. Mike's background is in Civil and Environmental Engineering and he has taken the Environmental part to a new level by assisting with lab and field research. In 2014, Mike moved on to Newcastle University to join the Polunin Lab and conduct Ph.D. research in the Caribbean on coral reef fish community structure and function.
Symphonia Li (2015)
M.Sc. Environmental Management (HKU)
B.S. Environmental Studies (OUHK)
"Symph" recently submitted his MSc thesis on water quality impacts on coral biodiversity and the public perception of water quality in Hong Kong. Notably, Symph documented that rare corals grow quite well in Hong Kong, even in areas where they do not normally exist. However, close to known sewage discharges the corals do quite poorly. Through a public survey we also now know that more can be done to educate the public on issues related to water quality and environmental health. Master Li now takes his knowledge and applies it in his new position with the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department.
Ph.D. Student, M.Sc. Environ. Management (HKU)
B.S. Mechanical Engineering (NUS)
Archana completed the M.Sc program in Environmental Management at HKU from 2013-2014, and continued her research via PhD. She also holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from the National University of Singapore. Archana's project revolves around nitrogen isotope analysis of sewage pollution in Hong Kong's coastal marine environment and any impact this could have on coral communities and other marine life. Besides marine biodiversity conservation, Archana's other interests are Indian classical dance, and painting.
Yu-De Pei (2018-19)
“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. Jacques Yves Cousteau” I grew up in Taipei, Taiwan, a typical city you can imagine, but then found my way to the sea and realized that it was much more tempting than neon lights. Worked as a research assistant in the field of coral reef study back in Taiwan for two years, I am now hoping to apply what I have learned to help establish the best way of restoring some important Platygyra and Acopora corals in Hoi Ha Wan marine park. Out of work, I am a professional kitchen arsonist who is still trying to figure out ways to keep the alarm quiet while cooking, a short basketball player hoping to dunk, and a newbie hiker.
Dr. Jane Wong
Ph.D.: Ecology & Biodiversity (HKU-SWIMS)
B.Sc. Ecology & Biodiversity (HKU)
I started diving after my undergrad and have been an intensive diver since then. I had some of my best and worst diving experience in Hong Kong, this place always surprises me. In 2013, I decided to take a break from the big city and took a gap year off. I traveled to Cambodia for 9 months, where I dove with seahorses, dolphins and thousands of trawling boats around isolated islands, collecting preliminary data for setting up new MPAs in Cambodia. I spent the rest of my time traveling in SE Asia and China. The simple life and wilderness attracts me, yet these developing countries are fast expanding and their natural resources are at risk. I look forward to using some advanced methodologies to explore the unique relationship on coral-algal symbiosis, and its implication on reef resilience under the threats from rapid population growth and global climate change.
Arthur Chung (2015-2019)
B.Sc. Ecology & Biodiversity (HKU)
I have been a member of the Baker lab team since 2014. I've had a wonderful time here and found my passion for marine life. In summer 2015, my major work was helping Inga with the stable isotope analysis of Pacific octocorals, along with sclerite identification for Hong Kong and Myanmar octocoral samples. With the same set of samples provided by Inga, I have also started my own project on the relationship between epizoic brittle stars and octocorals. I am looking forward to further assist the team, particularly the local diving trip in the future.