Understanding how organisms behave is a fundamental aspect of ecology and this is especially true in the intertidal zone. Physical conditions on rocky shores vary greatly with the tidal and seasonal cycles; driving organisms to partition their vital activities, such as feeding and mating, to maximize their fitness. We investigate these temporal patterns and compare them against theoretical expectations to understand the strategies intertidal species make to maximize their fitness.
Contrasting reproductive and mate choice strategies among species
Flight & fight behaviours to mitigate thermal stress, and their trade-offs for other activities such as foraging
Spatio-temporal partitioning in foraging patterns to optimally acquire energy in the highly dynamic intertidal zone
In the tropics, intertidal organisms regularly face rock temperatures over 50 °C and sometimes > 60 °C for varying periods depending on their tidal height. Our research aims to understand how they can manage to survive these extremes by determining the behavioural, physiological and energetic strategies they employ; the associated costs of these choices and how they will impact the subsequent success and future distribution of these organisms.
Acclimation/adaptation & Biogeography
Species responses to recent & long-term thermal history and their consequences on species geographic distribution
Measurements of environmental changes at the organismal scale, and how predictable these changes are to inform survival strategies
Potential thermal niche of species measured using physiological tolerances
Whilst physical conditions play a dominant role in tropical intertidal systems, species’ interactions remain key factors influencing survival and community dynamics. We specifically work on the seasonal impacts of Hong Kong’s monsoon system on consumer:prey interactions, with a particular emphasis on the impacts of herbivores on cyanobacteria and algae; and the seasonal importance of sessile facilitators (oysters and mussels) for these mobile grazers.
Spatio-temporal patterns of energy flows & top-down bottom-up processes
Ecoengineering species and their ameliorations against thermal stress
Species composition, energy and nutrient contents of biofilms