top of page

Head of the Lab

Leszek Karczmarski, Ph.D.

Associate Professor:  School of Biological Sciences

The Swire Institute of Marine Science

The University of Hong Kong

Director:  Cetacea Research Institute

Email: leszek(AT)


Leszek Karczmarski 2019.jpg
Postgraduate Student Supervision

For video-footage of individual Postgraduate Research Projects click here

Postgraduate Students at HKU 

Current Ph.D. Students

Current M.Phil. Students

Previous Postgraduate Students

Previous Postgraduate Students outside HKU 

Post-Doctoral Mentorship

Post-Docs at HKU

Post-Docs outside HKU (at University of Pretoria)

Undergraduate Teaching at HKU

Classroom Courses


Experiential Teaching (capstone field courses)



Thoughts on Teaching


I strongly believe that, whenever possible, hands-on experiential learning should represent an integral component of any undergraduate academic course.  Classes should not only deliver the current state of knowledge, but generate enthusiasm and stimulate further interest; they should stimulate independent critical thinking and teach students how to answer new questions through their own original and inventive research.  As much as possible, I expose students to various aspects of field research, which includes determining the question to be investigated, designing data collection protocol, collecting and analyzing data and presenting the outcome in both oral presentation and a written report.  I find that students appreciate the challenge, especially once they understand the importance of following strict scientific guidelines.


One of the most important skills students should gain academically is to learn 'how to learn' on their own, especially after graduation.  To me, rote learning of taxonomic classifications, for example, is less important than self exploration and investigation of the available information and using it appropriately and responsibly.  Thus, I have always tried to teach students with a hands-on approach, where they become responsible for their own knowledge acquisition. 


Lectures are more meaningful when based on experiences in which students actively participate.  I conduct my courses in an informal manner and encourage questions, dialogue and comments throughout lectures.  Often the most learning occurs when discussions drift from the current topic into areas students are interested in, or into areas that students have difficulties understanding.  It is my philosophy, that direct interactions and discussions between professor/teacher and students can greatly enhance students’ understanding of concepts and stimulate creative thinking; it can prepare them for the challenges of their professional lives with a scientific mind and a fair dose of critical objectivism. 

© Leszek Karczmarski

© Leszek Karczmarski

© Leszek Karczmarski

Research Interests


  • Mammalian Population Ecology:  Processes that determine population structure, geographic fidelity, spatiotemporal dynamics and habitat relationships.


  • Cetacean Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology:  Behavioural processes that shape intra- and inter-group dynamics and social structure; how they relate to environmental factors and influence broader population structure.


  • Comparative Socio-Ecology:  Odontocete social strategies and socio-behavioural complexity; how they evolved and how they compare to other known mammalian systems. Comparative socio-ecology of group living mammals. 


  • Delphinid Conservation Ecology:  Ecological and socio-demographic processes that determine population viability; application of empirical studies of population ecology in the development of management strategies. 


  • Spatio-Behavioural Approaches to Conservation:  How anthropogenic pressures influence socio-spatial dynamics and behavioural processes of individuals/populations; mitigation strategies to minimize the negative effects of ecological disturbance.   


bottom of page