The team

Hannah S. Mumby - Principal Investigator

 

Having conducted research on long-lived mammals for almost fifteen years and focused my efforts on elephants for over ten, I'm very fortunate to be leading this diverse group, and to be incorporating other study systems.

 

Please read more about me in other sections of the website, including the hannah CV, elephant research, boar research and publications pages. I'll be making updates about the group and our projects in the blog section. I'll also be adding a teaching page, where I'll upload resources I use for my courses.

Derek Murphy - Postdoctoral Researcher

 

Derek graduated with a BA in psychology at University College Dublin, Ireland, and a MSc (with distinction) in animal behaviour at the University of Exeter, UK. He then went on to complete his PhD in biological sciences at the University of Aberdeen, UK, with Professors David Lusseau, Louise Barrett and Peter Henzi, researching the social network dynamics of primate groups. He then became a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Hannah Mumby on the Bull Elephant Network Project in the Conservation Science Group in the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK, where he used social network analysis to investigate the temporal dynamics of male African elephant social groups, and simulations to determine the efficacy of network analytic techniques under constrained data sampling conditions. 

 

Derek is interested in how sociality shapes the lives of group-living animals, such as elephants, and the implications of social structure for social learning, communication, disease transmission, and conservation.

Email: dmurphy[at]hku.hk 

Yifu Wang- Postdoctoral Researcher

Yifu graduated from McGill University with a bachelor’s degree majoring in Environmental Biology in 2015. In the same year, she enrolled in University of Cambridge as a PhD candidate. Her PhD project focused on understanding pangolin trade and markets in China to better conserve this group of highly trafficked mammals. 

 

Yifu’s postdoc project at HKU will investigate the conflict between humans and wild boars in Hong Kong. The reasons why more wild boar appear in urban settings, how people perceive the nuisances they cause and the potential management plans for this species will be the focus of this project. The outputs will potentially feed into real-life policies to manage wild boar and human interactions in Hong Kong.

Email: yw393[at]hku.hk

Sagarika Phalke- PhD student

Sagarika has an MSc in the Psychology of human-animal interactions from the University of Stirling, UK. Her focus lies in understanding and improving conditions for wild and captive elephants which can experience differing levels of welfare due to their interactions with humans. Therefore, by working with humans that have an impact on elephants, she hopes to create an inclusive approach to elephant welfare and conservation. Her long-term goal is to look at improving welfare conditions across the different captive elephant management systems in India, through work with mahouts and the administration and also work with local communities that are affected by negative human-elephant interactions. 

 

Having worked for a grassroot organization in India, her experience in the field involves research on captive elephant welfare in extensive systems of management and community- based initiatives in dealing with negative interactions with elephants.

Email:u3007068[at]connect.hku.hk

Teresa Santos- PhD Candidate

Teresa completed her Master's degree in 2017 on Evolutionary and Developmental Biology at the University of Lisbon, Portugal. For her thesis, she used population genetics to study African elephants across two protected areas in South Africa, under the supervision of Dr Hannah Mumby and Dr Carlos Fernandes. She previously participated in molecular ecology projects at the University of Sheffield, UK, and the University of Aveiro, Portugal. Her research interests lie in molecular ecology, population genetics, evolution, and conservation genetics of mammals.

Email:teresaInsantos[at]campus.ul.pt

Hannah Tilley- PhD student

Tilley is a conservation biologist with a passion for investigating behavioural ecology using different systems. She graduated with a degree in Zoology and went on to complete a masters of research at University College London, before undertaking different behavioural projects with birds in Hong Kong and bats in Panama.

 

Tilley is currently a PhD student with the lab working on how elephant sensory systems impact behaviour. This will require extensive time at our field site in Nepal; training elephants on behavioural tasks and using complex statistical methods to analyse results.

Email:htilley[at]connect.hku.hk

Calvin Ma- Research Assistant

Calvin completed his Bachelor degree of Science in Ecology and Biodiversity at the University of Hong Kong. He is a bird lover and he wrote his final year project on birds and its interaction with the environment. He used stable isotope analysis to study the trophic response of rainforest birds along a gradient of habitat conversion in Malaysian Borneo.

He is currently a research assistant in the lab, helping to establish a study on the human-wild boar interaction and boar's environmental impacts in Hong Kong. His research interest is species conservation and management. Meanwhile, he is looking forward to obtaining opportunities to take part in research projects in Australia.

Email: cnma[at]connect.hku.hk

Annaëlle Surreault- Research Assistant

 

Annaëlle has a background in animal behaviour and conducted a project on gestural communication and social learning in wild vervet monkeys in South Africa for her master’s thesis. She is now looking forward to starting her PhD project on how animals use their social environnent to adjust their behaviour and acquire new skills. Social learning includes a set of underlying rules and mechanisms involving different degrees of cognitive competences. 

 

Annaëlle’s main interest is investigating the rules driving social learning in Asian elephants and its underpinning mechanisms. She is interested in when and how elephants use social information. 

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Sammi Lo- Research Assistant

 

Sammi completed her bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Biodiversity; and is presently a master’s student of Environmental Management at the University of Hong Kong. She is interested in the integration of science and policies on managing the environment. For her undergraduate dissertation, she compared the effectiveness of different coastal ecological engineering approaches. Sammi also has a background in mammal studies, having interned at the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, studying the distribution of terrestrial mammal species in Hong Kong.

 

She is currently also a research assistant at the ABEC lab, working on human-wild boar interactions and the diet of wild boar in Hong Kong. She is looking forward to starting her PhD studies soon. Her research interests include behavioural ecology of mammals and the application of ecology on environmental management.

Email: u3537088[atconnect.hku.hk

MO Man Yi (Anna)-Research Assistant

 

Anna is currently majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Geography at The University of Hong Kong. Within the ABEC lab she is working on the ecological impacts of wild boar in Hong Kong. Her interests lie in wildlife conservation and she hopes to pursue this passion of hers as a career.

Email: u3556829[at]connect.hku.hk

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Cheuk Yiu Cheung (Cherry) – Research Assistant

 

Cherry is a BSc graduate in Ecology and Biodiversity from The University of Hong Kong, and has completed her MSc from the Vrije Universiteit, Brussels focussing on Tropical Biodiversity and Ecosystems. Her main research interest is mangrove ecology, specifically focussing on crabs. Her master’s thesis was on the ecology and phylogeny of Haberma tingkok, an endemic tree-climbing crab species in Hong Kong which she helped discover.

Cherry is also interested in the ecology, conservation, and management of other terrestrial and marine species. She is currently a research assistant studying the environmental impacts of wild boars, and the boar-human interaction in Hong Kong.

Email: u3503880[at]connect.hku.hk

Iris Woo- Volunteer

 

Iris completed her bachelor's degree in Biodiversity and Conservation at Brigham Young University, USA. She has a background in animal behavioural studies, conducting studies at the Ocean Park, Hong Kong and National Taiwan Normal University, studying cooperative activities in dolphins, and fighting ability among damselfly.

 

She currently volunteers on the elephant sensory project and looks forward to contributing to the other projects within the lab.  

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Eric Lee- Technician

Eric provides invaluable research support and technical knowledge to all of our team. He also supports student teaching and and provides technical support to other faculty members.

Collaborators

  • Dr Josh Plotnik - Hunter College, City University of New York

  • Dr Lucy Bates - University of Sussex

  • Dr Janine Brown - Smithsonian Institute

  • Dr Michelle Henley - Elephants Alive

  • Prof Andrew Balmford - University of Cambridge

  • Prof George Wittemyer - Colorado State University

  • Dr Deborah Dawson - University of Sheffield

  • Mélody Busuttil - Université de Neuchâtel

   Alumni​

 
  • Kaja Weirucka- Former Post-doc working on elephant vocalisations and olfactory preferences. Now post-doc at the University of Zurich. 
  • Sylvia Lam- Former volunteer working on human-boar interactions in Hong Kong
  • Caitlin Black - Former Post-doc funded by my Branco Weiss Fellowship to measure tusk size, body size and age from photographs, now Post-doc at the University of Zürich.
  • Ronny Makukule - Former Field Assistant, now researcher at Elephants Alive.
  • Amy Morris-Drake - Former Research Assistant on communication, now PhD student at the University of Bristol.

  • Jessica Wilmot - Former Field Assistant, now Master's student at Central European University.

  • Christin Winter - Former Field Assistant. Now working for elephant non-profit in Namibia.

  • Sam Yue - Former Research Assistant on the wild boar project and continued collaborator. Now based in Canada.