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Biodiversity and Conservation in Hong Kong

Enrollment is Closed

About This Course

Although it’s small in size, Hong Kong is a treasure trove of ecological highlights. This course, BIOLS301XE, aims to engender an appreciation for this unique biodiversity. BIOLS301XE  connects global issues, concerns, and trends in conservation and biodiversity studies to the Hong Kong SAR, and demonstrates how Hong Kong has already shown the world how dense human habitation can co-exist in a sustainable way with natural resources, and how these natural resources can in turn provide much-needed ecological services for urbanized environments. BIOLS301XE  therefore addresses topics that are of great current importance – not only because of their inherent interest, but because they affect the very future of our world.

In its five weeks of study, BIOLS301XE takes you on a journey to some of Hong Kong’s most fascinating landscapes and habitats, from mangrove forests to coral reefs. It also introduces the development of conservation in the Hong Kong context, including a look into one of Hong Kong’s most noteworthy ecological resources, i.e. its fung shui woods. Each week of study features videos, multimedia presentations, photo slideshows, activities and online discussions, plus an online quiz. We hope this course offers you the opportunity to explore this fascinating area in ways that both help you learn, and that you find enjoyable.


  • Define and explain the core and correlated concepts of conservation and biodiversity.
  • Outline the unique features of Hong Kong as part of the biogeographic region of south China.
  • Describe the diversity of Hong Kong’s ecological habitats, and explain how these habitats contribute to both biodiversity and ecological integrity.
  • Distinguish some of the major categories of biodiversity within Hong Kong.

Course Staff

Prof. Gordon Maxwell

Professor Gordon S Maxwell, World Medal of Freedom (US, American Biographical Institute, Washington DC), FLS, FABI, has degrees in botany, ecology, philosophy and education earned from four universities: two in New Zealand, one in the UK, and one from the University of Hong Kong, where Prof. Maxwell obtained his PhD with an ecogeographic study of two mangrove trees in three countries. Prof. Maxwell has been an Assistant/Associate Professor at OUHK, and visiting professor at universities in Japan, Thailand, and China. He is the author of books on environmental impact assessment, ecology, earth science, and mangrove vegetation. From time to time he joins UNESCO consultancies to China and countries in southeast Asia. He owns a farm and a forest in New Zealand, both of which are managed with ecoagroscience and sustainability in mind.

Dr Klinsmann Cheung

Dr Cheung earned his PhD at The Chinese University of Hong Kong; his research topic was related to hillfire disturbance to faunal recolonization and faunal biodiversity. In addition, for his MPhil he studied the colonization of benthic fauna in Hong Kong Wetland Park, which earned him an Outstanding Young Scientist Award at an IUCN conference in 2005.
Dr Cheung has experience with Hong Kong biodiversity in both marine and terrestrial habitats as he has worked in the marine and coastal laboratory of City University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Wetland Park, World Wide Fund (HK), Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, ecological consultant companies, and other eco-tour companies. In addition to his ecological knowledge, he is an experienced ecological interpreter and consultant who has taught and led field studies at CityU, CUHK, and OUHK; who conducts EIA studies, ecological studies and monitoring; and who has extensive experience in the design of ecological survey methods, data analysis, reporting and impact assessment.

Mr Ross Vermeer

Ross Vermeer hails from Iowa in the USA, where he obtained a BA in English at a liberal arts college. Soon thereafter he came to Hong Kong to teach English at Chinese University. He joined the OUHK as an Assistant Editor in 1992, and has thoroughly enjoyed seeing the University grow over the years. He obtained an MA with distinction in Open and Distance Education from the Open University of the UK, and is now a Senior Instructional Designer in the OUHK's Educational Technology and Development Unit.

School of Science and Technology, The Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK)

The School of Science and Technology, OUHK offers various programmes in Environmental Studies to impart modern scientific knowledge to students and develop their professional skills. The programmes are offered in full-time and part-time (distance learning) modes, suitable for students and working adults.

Programmes included:

  • Two-Year Full-Time Partnership Degree Programmes
  • Two-Year Day-Time Top-Up Degree Programmes
  • Part Time (Distance Learning) programmes
  • Master's Programmes in Energy and Environmental Sustainability
  • Master's Programmes in Energy and Environmental Technology Management
  • Master’s Programmes in Safety, Occupational Health and Environmental Management/ Environmental Studies