top of page

Cetacea Research Institute (CRI)

Cetacea Research Institute (CRI), established in May 2017, is dedicated to environmental and ecological scientific research, with a sole purpose of advancing science, promoting environmental sustainability and conservation of biodiversity, and providing environmental solutions to ecological challenges of the present-day world. We conduct a diverse array of studies, with a broad focus on ecology, demography, and socio-spatial behaviour of large group living mammals, both marine and terrestrial. Our work involves independent empirical research and applied science, and the application of new technologies in conservation of species and habitats. 


CRI is not a business venture and is not in for profit making. All funding received and/or generated by CRI is used exclusively and in its entirety for supporting and facilitating research, promoting sound environmental management, advancing the concepts of biological conservation, supporting academic excellence, and promoting young professionals with intellectual capacities of spearheading the sustainable future of our planet.


The CRI's source of funding includes local and/or international research grants, self-standing research agreements, research contracts and ad hoc consulting engagements. Other support includes infrastructure and/or equipment support, or in-kind donations. CRI reinvests all generated resources and moneys for the purpose of research development and advancement of science.  

Director and Senior Research Scientist:  Leszek Karczmarski, Ph.D.


Senior Research Scientist:  Glenn Gailey, Ph.D.


Research Scientist:  Stephen C.Y. Chan, Ph.D.

Research Scientist:  Wenzhi (Joe) Lin, Ph.D.


Researcher:  Yuen-Wa Ho, Ph.D. Candidate ​ 


Researcher:  Scott Y.S. Chui, Ph.D. Candidate


Researcher:  Andy T.L. Lee, M.E.Sc. Candidate

Logistics:  John H.W. Kwok, M.Sc.

Contact us at:




The current conservation status of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (so-called Chinese white dolphins) in Pearl River Estuary nears Critically Endangered (CR) under the IUCN criteria, assessed based on the natural-log relation between instantaneous rate of increase (r) and non-calf survival rate (Sa).  If the current annual decline (2.5%) continues, nearly 74% of the population will be lost in the lifespan of three generations (< 60 years).  [source: Karczmarski et al. 2017; Huang et al. 2012]  ​

Diagram illustrating the network of social dynamics of Chinese white dolphins in Hong Kong waters.  Individuals are shown as nodes.  Different social clusters are colour-coded.  Line thickness indicates the strength of associations.  [source:  Karczmarski & Or 2016; Or 2017]  

Discovery curves showing the cumulative number of humpback dolphins photo-captured during 286 photo-ID surveys conducted in western Hong Kong waters between May 2010 and October 2014.  All identified individuals are depicted in red lines; all highly distinctive individuals in blue lines; adults and subadults (used in mark-recapture analyses) in solid lines; all individuals excluding calves (non-calf individuals) in dotted lines.  [source: Chan & Karczmarski 2017]  

Lagged identification rates indicating the site fidelity of Chinese white dolphins in Hong Kong waters and best supported model "Emigration + Reimmigration + Mortality" (variance inflation factor = 1.2402).  Bootstrap error bars of observed data and the movement model with 5000 replications are shown as solid error bars and dotted error bars, respectively.  [source: Chan & Karczmarski 2017]  

Area utilisation pattern of Chinese white dolphins in Hong Kong waters estimated with 50% and 95% isopleths of Local Convex Hull (LoCoH).  The hatched polygons (95% isopleths) represent the habitat utilisation range and the filled polygons (50% isopleths) represent the core utilisation areas, in other words, the core areas where most of dolphin activities (including all daily behaviours) in Hong Kong waters concentrate.  [source:  Karczmarski & Or 2016; Or 2017] 

Suggested Marine Protected Area based on our currently ongoing study include a marine park, indicated by black dotted line, and marine reserves indicated in red. The existing Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau Marine Park (12 sq. km) is denoted by the blue coarse background. Proposed marine parks under consideration, deemed by our multi-year data as inadequate and poorly designated, are in hatched lines; these include the Brothers Islands (as compensation after the completion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, HKZMB; denoted in red), north Lantau Island (as compensation for the proposed expansion of the Hong Kong International Airport; denoted in dark blue), southwest Lantau Island (illustrated in light blue) and the Soko Islands (indicated in green). The proposed area of reclamation due to the expansion of the Hong Kong International Airport is denoted in green cross-hatched lines and its associated expansion of the approach area, which has prohibited entry, is denoted by orange hatched lines.  [source:  Karczmarski & Or 2016; Or 2017] 

bottom of page