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It's very, Very HOT! Climate change on Hong Kong's rocky shores

July was Hong Kong’s hottest month on record with the hottest day reaching air temperatures of 36.1°C; but for rocky shore species that’s only just warm! Summer surveys of Hong Kong’s rocky shores as part of an Environment and Conservation Fund project have recorded rock temperatures of almost 63°C and Valerie Hickey and her team are monitoring what effect this has on the biodiversity of these shores.

The summer heat is also impacting key species such as ecosystem engineers which provide habitat for other species to take refuge from the heat. Jackson Lau and his co-workers are simulating mortality of mussel and oyster beds as part of a UGC General Research Fund project, exploring how loss of these species will affect rocky shore biodiversity.

In another project, funded by the HK Offshore LNG Terminal Project Marine Conservation Fund, Tommy Hui is monitoring the impact of rock temperatures in combination with changes in seawater salinity on species distribution patterns at sites around Lantau Island.

As we still have a few months of the hot season to go, its likely that this could be the hottest summer on record in Hong Kong. Watch this space to learn more about how Hong Kong’s intertidal communities are affected by these extreme temperatures.

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