Stephen C.Y. Chan  陳釗賢

Ph.D. (2019)

E-mail: scychan(AT)cetacea-institute.org

              chancy3(AT)connect.hku.hk

Academic Record
  • Ph.D., The University of Hong Kong (2019)

  • B.Sc. (double major: Environmental Protection and Biotechnology), The University of Hong Kong (2011)

Supervisor

Dr. Leszek Karczmarski, The University of Hong Kong

Synopsis:  Recent advances in digital technology and computer systems have provided new tools in data analysis of the present-day environmental biology.  Computational models are especially valuable in studying long-lived, mobile and hard-to-follow vertebrates such as cetaceans.  In my research project, I apply multistate population modelling to investigate the ecology of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) in the Pearl River Estuary (PRE).  Although the dolphins inhabiting PRE are believed to be the largest population of this species in the world, recent findings indicate rapidly declining trend in population numbers which, in conjunction with the severely degraded state of the environment, might place this population under a serious threat within the lifespan of just three generations. Recently produced demographic models indicate that over 70% of the population might be lost within 60-70 years, which highlights the severity of the conservation issue.  There is a need for a better understanding of the population processes that determine the population vulnerability and its biological viability.  In my postgraduate project, I applied computation ecology approach to generate population models and test them for effects of stochasticity and environmental covariates.  Demographic parameters, geographic structure, behavioural dynamics, and population trends were quantified, providing insights into the mechanisms that shape population processes of a group living marine mammal in complex coastal habitats under increasing anthropogenic pressure. This study advances our understanding of delphinid population ecology, especially socio-demographic processes and population dynamics, and contributes new data that will be of particular value to the conservation management of this iconic species of major biodiversity significance.  

Current Research Topics
  • Socio-demography and connectivity of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) across the Pearl River Delta region, southeast China

  • Spatial ecology of sympatric Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) and spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) in the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape, central Philippines

  • Population genetics and demography of Benguela dolphins (Cephalorhynchus heavisidii) off south-west Africa: Integration of mark-recapture and genetic models

  • Population demography of threatened African megaherbivores: African elephants (Loxodonta africana), white (Ceratotherium simum) and black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) in South African protected areas

Research Grants

As PI

  • 2019/2021: Night-time distribution and abundance of Chinese white dolphins (Sousa chinensis) in Hong Kong waters: Conservation implications.  (with Y-W. Ho)  -  Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong

  • 2014/2015:  Ecology of Chinese White Dolphins (Sousa chinensis) in the Pearl River Estuary. Phase 2: Population Processes, Demography and Spatio-behavioural Dynamics.  (with CKM. Or and L. Karczmarski)  -  Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong

As Co-PI

  • 2012/2013:  Conservation Ecology of Chinese White Dolphins (Sousa chinensis) in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Estuary. (with CKM. Or and L. Karczmarski)  -  Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong

Publications

Chan SCY & Karczmarski L. (2019). Epidermal lesions and injuries of coastal dolphins as indicators of ecological health.  EcoHealth, DOI: 10.1007/s10393-019-01428-0

Lin W, Karczmarski L, Li J, Chan SCY, Guo L & Wu Y. (2018). Differential population dynamics of a coastal porpoise correspond to the fishing effort in a large estuarine system. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2998 

Lin W, Chan SCY, Zeng C, Karczmarski L & Wu Y. (2018).  Mark-recapture technique for demographic studies of Chinese white dolphins – Applications and suggestions.  Acta Theriologica Sinica, 38(6), 586-596.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150171.

 

Chan SCY & Karczmarski L.  (2017).  Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins (Sousa chinensis) in Hong Kong: Modelling Demographic Parameters with Mark-Recapture Techniques.  PLOS ONE 12(3): e0174029. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0174029

Karczmarski L, Huang S-L & Chan SCY.  (2017).  Threshold of Long-term Survival of a Coastal Delphinid in Anthropogenically Degraded Environment: Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins in Pearl River Delta.  Scientific Reports, 7, 42900. DOI: 10.1038/srep42900

Karczmarski L, Huang S-L, Or CKM, Gui D, Chan SCY, Lin W, Porter L, Wong W-H, Zheng R, Ho Y-W, Chui SYS, Tiongson AJC, Mo Y, Chang W-L, Kwok J HW, Tang RWK, Lee ATL, Yiu S-W, Keith M, Gailey G & Wu Y.  (2016).  Humpback Dolphins in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta: Status, Threats and Conservation Challenges.  Advances in Marine Biology, 73(2), 27-64.

Zheng R, Karczmarski L, Lin W, Chan SCY, Chang W-L & Wu Y.  (2016).  Infanticide in the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis).  Journal of Ethology, 34(3), 299-307.

Karczmarski L, Huang S-L, Wong WH, Chang W-L, Chan SCY & Keith M.  (2016).  Distribution of a coastal delphinid under the impact of long-term habitat loss: Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins off Taiwan's west coast.  Estuaries and Coasts, 40(2), 594-603.

Karczmarski L, Huang S-L, Wong WH, Porter L, Ho YW, Or CKM, Lin W, Chan SCY, Zheng R, Chui SYS, Gailey G & Wu Y.  (2014).  The Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis): Hong Kong Red List Assessment.  WWF Hong Kong and Hong Kong Red List Authority. 22 pp.

Online Resources
Manual

Chan SCY, Gailey G, Wong W-H, Sychenko O & Karczmarski L.  (2018).  User Manual: DISCOVERY 2.0: Photo-Identification Data-Management System for Individually Recognizable Animals.  Web address: (In Press). 

Wong W-H, Gailey G, Chan SCY, Sychenko O, Or CKM, Yiu S-W, Chang W-L, Behrmann C & Karczmarski L (2012).  Users Manual: DISCOVERY 1.2  Web address: http://www.biosch.hku.hk/ecology/staffhp/lk/Discovery/manual.html [PDF]

 

Conferences / Workshops / Public Talks

Chan SCY, Karczmarski L, Lin W, Wu Y.  (2019).  Metapopulation dynamics of coastal dolphins through mark-recapture techniques: A case study from southeast China.  Oral presentation  at  2nd World Marine Mammal Conference, Barcelona, Spain. 

Chan SCY.  (2019).  Conservation of marine mammals in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Estuary: Importance of Lantau.  Public talk (invited speaker)  at  Environmental Association: ECF Lantau the Precious, Hong Kong.  

Chan SCY, Gailey G & Karczmarski L.  (2017).  DISCOVERY: Photo-Identification Data Management System for Wildlife Research.  Invited talk at  Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, USA.

 

Chan SCY & Karczmarski L. (2017). Survival or extinction of a declining population?  Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins at the brink in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Estuary.  Poster presentation (Best Doctoral Poster Presentation) at  22nd Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, Halifax, Canada.

 

Chan SCY, Gailey G & Karczmarski L.  (2016).  Photo-Identification Data Management System Workshop: DISCOVERY.  Primary workshop instructor at  Australia/New Zealand Student Chapter for the Society of Marine Mammalogy (ANZSCSMM), Adelaide, Australia.

Chan SCY & Karczmarski L.  (2016).  Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) in Hong Kong: Modelling demographic parameters with mark-recapture techniques.  Oral presentation at  Australia/New Zealand Student Chapter for the Society of Marine Mammalogy (ANZSCSMM), Adelaide, Australia.

Chan SCY, Or CKM, Huang S-L, Lin W, Wu Y & Karczmarski L.  (2016).  Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins in Hong Kong and Pearl River Estuary: A Disappearing Regional Flagship Species in Marine Conservation?  Keynote speaker at China Conservation Expo 2016, Beijing, China.

Chan SCY, Karczmarski L & Gailey G.  (2016).  DISCOVERY: A Photo-Identification Data Management System.  Oral presentation  at  14th Savanna Science Network Meeting by South African Nation Parks, Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Chan SCY & Karczmarski L.  (2015).  New demographic insights: The first mark-recapture analysis of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) in Hong Kong.  Oral presentation at 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, San Francisco, USA.

Chan SCY, Gailey G & Karczmarski L.  (2015).  Discovery-R: A Gentle Introduction. Keynote speaker at International Wildlife Photo-ID Network Workshop II, Koli, Finland.

Chan SCY & Karczmarski L.  (2015).  Tough life of urban dolphins: Skin disorders and traumatic mutilations of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) in Hong Kong with a special case study.  Poster presentation  at  International Conference on Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation of Marine Ecosystems (BECoME) 2015, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

Chan SCY, Karczmarski L, Ho Y-W, Or CKM, Wong W-H, Lin W, Mo Y, Zhang R, Chui SYS, Huang S-L, Gailey G & Wu Y.  (2015).  Research and status of the conservation of Chinese White Dolphins in Hong Kong.  Oral presentation at Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Chinese White Dolphin Conservation Workshop 2014-2015, Zhuhai, China.

Chan SCY  (2015).  Demographic modelling and mark-recapture analysis of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) in Hong Kong.  Oral presentation at SYSU-HKU Graduate Consortium of Ecology and Conservation (GCEC), Guangzhou, China.

Chan SCY, Karczmarski L, Lin W, Or CKM, Wong W-H, Mo Y, Zhang R, Huang S-L & Keith M. (2014).  Summary of research on Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins in Pearl River Estuary. Oral presentation  at  Workshop of Planning for Sousa chinensis Corridors and Protected Areas in the Southeast Asian Sea Ecoregion, Xiamen, China.

Chan SCY, Or CKM, Chang W-L, Mauroo N, Fernando N & Karczmarski L.  (2013).  Tough living in Hong Kong? Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins with skin disorders and traumatic mutilations in a highly developed estuarine system.  Poster presentation at  20th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, Dunedin, New Zealand.

International/Regional Conservation Meetings
  • 2019:  Pearl River Estuary Chinese White Dolphin Conservation Vision Workshop. -  WWF-Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

  • 2017Chinese White Dolphin (Sousa chinensis) Population and Habitat Viability Assessment Workshop.  -  Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) of IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) and Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong (OPCFHK), Hong Kong.

  • 2016:  China Conservation Expo 2016.  -  Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP), Beijing, China.

  • 2016:  WWF Marine Hotspot Map Workshop 3.  -  WWF-Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

  • 2016:  WWF Marine Hotspot Map Workshop 2.  -  WWF-Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

  • 2016:  Chinese White Dolphin (Sousa chinensis) Population Viability Analysis Workshop.  -  Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) of IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) and Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong (OPCFHK), Hong Kong.

  • 2016:  WWF Marine Hotspot Map Workshop 1.  -  WWF-Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

  • 2015:  Meeting of Preliminary Boundaries and Management Plans of the Proposed Southwest Lantau and Soko Islands Marine Parks.  -  Agriculture, Fishery and Conservation Department (AFCD), HKSAR, Hong Kong.

  • 2015:  Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Chinese White Dolphin Conservation Workshop 2014-2015.  -  Administration of Ocean and Fisheries of Guangdong Province and Guangdong-Pearl River Estuary Chinese White Dolphin National Nature Reserve, Zhuhai, China.

  • 2015:  Workshop 3 on Chinese White Dolphins.  -  Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD), HKSAR, Hong Kong.

  • 2014:  International Wildlife Photo-ID Network Workshop I.  -  University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland.

  • 2014:  Workshop of Planning for Sousa chinensis Corridors and Protected Areas in the Southeast Asian Sea Ecoregion.  -  Xiamen University, Xiamen, China.

  • 2013:  44th Meeting of Marine Mammal Conservation Working Group.  -  Agriculture, Fishery and Conservation Department (AFCD), HKSAR, Hong Kong.

Organizing Committees (member)

2nd Regional Training Workshop in Computational Behavioural Ecology: Spatial Ecology and Quantitative Analyses of Animal Movement

1st Regional Training Workshop in Computational Behavioural Ecology: Quantitative Ecology and Population Modelling using NOVA Computational Platform

9th South-East Asian Training Workshop in Marine Mammal Research Techniques: Quantitative Socio-Behavioural Analyses using SOCPROG.  

2nd - 6th South-East Asian Training Workshops in Marine Mammal Research Techniques.  

Scholarships and Awards
  • 2019:  Conference Travel Award -  World Marine Mammal Conference, Society for Marine Mammalogy

  • 2017:  Best Doctoral Student Poster Presentation  -  22nd Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, Society of Marine Mammalogy

  • 2016ANZSCSMM Travel Support Australia/New Zealand Student Chapter for the Society of Marine Mammalogy

  • 2016Pilot Scheme for International Experience for RPg  -  Faculty of Science, The University of Hong Kong

  • 2015Student Travel Grant Award  -  Society for Marine Mammalogy

  • 2013-2017Postgraduate Scholarship  -  The University of Hong Kong

  • 2009Dean’s Honours List  -  Faculty of Science, The University of Hong Kong

  • 2008Entrance Scholarship for Outstanding Students  -  Faculty of Science, The University of Hong Kong

Relevant Experience
  • Research Assistant, Cetacean Ecology Lab, The Swire Institute of Marine Science  (2011 - 2013)

  • Undergraduate Final Year Project (Title: Short-term group dynamics of Indo-pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) off Western Lantau Island, Hong Kong), School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong  (2010 - 2011)

  • Summer Research Fellowship Scheme (Title: Coastal carbonate system dynamics under changing climate: a Hong Kong perspective), Faculty of Science, The University of Hong Kong (2009 - 2010)

© Stephen Chan

© Stephen Chan

© Stephen Chan

© Stephen Chan

© Stephen Chan

© Stephen Chan

Post-Doctoral Research Scientist

Cetacea Research Institute

Thesis

Demography and socio-ecology of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis) metapopulation in the Pearl River Estuary.  (2019).
Ph.D. Thesis.  The University of Hong Kong.

CETACEAN ECOLOGY LAB

The Swire Institute of Marine Science, The University of Hong Kong

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