26 August – dispersing

As always the end of these courses is a bit bittersweet. We are sorry to disband our merry crew of course, but all of us have things to attend to, whether getting ready for graduate work (Allen and Arielle), getting ready for our upcoming school year (most students), or returning to the tsunami of work that awaits us in regard to grad student supervision, writing grants, preparing lectures (Bojian, Yuxiang, Steve), or returning to overseeing the Queen;s University Biological Station (Steve). I left at 5:00 am for Pudong Airport with two large bags filled with guides and equipment with the assistance of Bojian – my trip Pudong-Tokyo-Toronto-Kingston taking about 24 hours total. Others like Allen, Sacha and Vicki will return a bit later via different routes. Arielle and Renata will undertake their own independent adventures in China before returning westward. The 2+2 students and students from Chinese universities will return home and then back for another term of school.


Haneda Airport Tokyo

25 August – Shanghai Natural History Museum & official course end

Our class assembled for the final day of our field course at 9:00 AM today, after a scrumptious meal at the SSAW Boutique Hotel’s breakfast buffet. Although the skies were rainy, our spirits were high as we took taxis to the Shanghai Natural History Museum. One of the largest in the country, the Natural History Museum was established in 1956 and moved to its present building, a 40 000 m2 leviathan shaped partly like a nautilus, in 2015. The museum has a massive collection of 240 000 samples, featuring rare exhibits and taxidermy such as a giant panda, a mastodon skeleton and life-like animatronics of various dinosaurs. With the theme of “Nature, People and Harmony”, Shanghai Natural History Museum presents the mystery of origin, the long river of life, the way of evolution, colorful life, ecological vigor, survival wisdom, human and land, Shanghai story, future road, and the earth exploration through the three main lines of “evolutionary movement”, “picture of life” and “history of civilization”. The museum displays more than 11 000 specimen models from seven continents, including nearly 1000 specimens of rare species. There are nearly 1500 square meters of walk-in restoration scenes, vividly recreating the vibrant African savanna; The combination of multiple models and multimedia venues integrates into a technological yet intensely human feast for the senses.

We arrived, bought our tickets (12 RMB for students, 30 RMB full price), and set off to explore the museum at 10:30 AM. As it was the last Saturday before September, the museum was a veritable human sea, with over 4500 people packed within, out of a maximum capacity of 5700 by 11:00 AM. We squeezed our way into the second floor and the Mysterious Beginnings exhibit, which focused on the origins of the universe.

The universe originated from the Big Bang approximately 13.8 billion years age, and our planet formed 4.6 million years ago. Humans persistently pursue clues to the origins of the universe and life, and constantly propose various explanatory hypotheses, some of which have been supported and others debunked. The “Mystery of Origins” exhibition area led us to follow the footsteps of scientists and find all the answers together. Compress the Earth’s entire history into a single year, and multicellular organisms don’t appear in the ocean until late June. Land plants appear in late November, dinosaurs dominated the planet in mid-December, but then went extinct on Boxing Day, about the same time that the Rocky Mountains were uplifted. Early humans appear during the evening of December 31st.

The “Evolution Road” exhibition hall is on the basement level. It showed us the origin of life, changes in climate and terrain cause new species to evolve, and our evolution from pre-humans to modern Homo sapiens. The difference is that there is a video area behind each exhibition area. Perhaps this is the reason why there were so many people in this area, but it is not crowded. The exhibit that attracted us the most was the display on human evolution. Our common ancestors with modern apes already had flexible hands to climb and pick food. They gradually gained tool usage and bipedal locomotion. There was a damaged baby girl’s skull, which may have been the result of hawk predation. Then came the exhibit on early and late Homo sapiens. As the skull of the early H. sapiens is significantly different from late H. sapiens, it is considered to be an important transition in the evolution of human beings.

We left the museum at approximately 1 PM and found a quiet, tree-sheltered nook to hold the final discussion of our field course. Dr. Wang and Dr. Lougheed regaled us with the history of the China-Canada Biodiversity Field Course, the challenges of budgeting and logistics, equipment acquisition and gaining access to various venues. They told us about the mandatory field courses in the past and their transformative impact on students.

Though our time together was a mere 13 days, our diverse group of eight Canadian students, five 2+2 students, and three Chinese students built an everlasting bond forged through sweat, mosquito bites and last-minute seminar preparation. Our experiences together were indeed metamorphic, bridging viewpoints and upbringings separated by millennia of divergent cultural development and 12 time zones. We will carry what we’ve learned in this field course in our minds as we progress in our careers and fields, whatever they may be.


今天上午9点,我们的课程在柏阳君亭酒店享用了丰盛的早餐后,我们开启了野外课程最后一天的行程。虽然天空多雨,但我们的心里正艳阳高照。出租车把我们带到了上海自然历史博物馆。自然历史博物馆是中国最大的自然历史博物馆之一,成立于1956年,并于2015年搬迁至现在的建筑物,占地面积为40 000平方米,形似于鹦鹉螺。上海自然博物馆以“自然,人与和谐”为主题,通过“演化的乐章”、“生命的画卷”、“文明的史诗”三大主线,呈现起源之谜、生命长河、演化之道、大地探珍、缤纷生命、生态万象、生存智慧、人地之缘、上海故事、未来之路等10个常设展区。展馆陈列了来自七大洲的11000余件标本模型,其中珍稀物种标本近千件;近1500平方米的步入式复原场景,逼真再现生机勃勃的非洲大草原. 辅之以多媒体放映讲解,使整个展馆时代感鲜明又还原度极高,给我们的视觉和听觉带了冲击。我们到了,买了我们的门票(学生12元,全价30元),10:30开启了博物馆的探索之旅。由于这是九月之前的最后一个星期六,博物馆竟有了跨年夜“外滩”的感觉。到上午11点,最多可容纳5700人的展厅就以饱和。我们挤进了二楼的“起源之谜”展览。

宇宙起源于大约138亿年前的大爆炸,我们的星球则形成于460万年前。人类不断寻求宇宙和生命起源的线索,并不断提出各种解释性假设,其中一些得到了支持,另一些被推翻。 “起源之谜”展区让我们跟随科学家的脚步,一起找到了答案。将地球的整个历史压缩到一年,多细胞生物直到6月下旬才出现在海洋中。陆地植物出现在11月下旬, 恐龙在12月中旬统治了这个星球,但随后在节礼日灭绝,大致与落基山脉升起的时间相同。与人类相似的动物出现在12月31日晚上。



虽然我们在一起的时间只有13天,但通过汗水,蚊虫叮咬和最后一分钟的研讨会,我们的8个加拿大学生,五个2 + 2学生和3个中国学生建立了永久的纽带。我们在一起互相交流,切磋观点,一同成长,这些观点和成长将经过千年的发展和12个时区的分离,并随着我们在职业和领域而发展。但无论它们是什么,我们在这次野外实习中学到的知识将永远伴随着我们。


24 August – Visit to Chongming Island & Shanghai

August 24th, 2018  
Hot, sunny
Vicki Zhang, Zhenglin Yu 

作者:Zhenglin 和 Vicki

Our day started off with a delicious buffet breakfast. The professors weren’t lying when they said that the food here is good. And we found forks; eating has never been so efficient!

It was game time when we got to Chongjin Island though. The professors divided us into 3 teams for ‘The Big Hour’, where we tried to see and ID as many bird species as possible. Not to brag, but our team won! Thanks to Allen and Huining’s fast identification skills, Olivia’s quick work with the DSLR and Zhenglin’s sharp eye, we saw 13 native species, including the Eurasian tree swallow, intermediate egret, little egret, and the oriental turtle dove.

After lunch at the Dongtan wetland reserve canteen, we gathered outside and started debated the different conceptions of nature between the Canadian and Chinese students, and compared solutions to ongoing problems. It was emphasized that China does care about nature, but due to the country’s long history and sheer number of people, there are few places that are untouched; nonetheless, there are places in China are virtually untouched. Meanwhile, although Canada has the notion of a pristine wilderness, there are still millennia of Aboriginal history. We concluded that there was no real “correct” solution on how to restore wetlands and care for nature, but it was a stimulating discussion. We also talked about the importance of museums and botanical gardens. Apart from education, museums and botanical gardens function as outreach facets, as archives and as research stations.

We also presented the biology and ecology of our team mascot, of which our groups were named after! They were educational and had some fun twists. The Red-Swamp Crayfish group did a dance, and the Chinese Fire Belly Newt group quizzed us on their species distribution. A common theme was that these species are facing anthropogenic threats. The Yangtze Finless Porpoise uses echolocation for navigation and hunting, but noise pollution will disturb their ecology. The Black Faced Spoonbill is frequently disturbed by humans during mating season. The Yangtze Alligator burrows underground, and since they disrupt agriculture, face human prosecution. Finally, some species were invasive. The Canada Golden Rod is invasive in China since it outcompetes native plants; similarly, the Red-Swamp Crayfish is invasive due to their high fecundity and resilience.

Finally, we visited an organic farm. These farmers employ polyculture, growing rice with soft-shelled turtles and crayfish. This is a mutualistic relationship – the turtles and crayfish eat the insects and weeds, and the rice and floating plants provide shelter and physical structure. The farm has found the optimal total yield per volume of water body, while being ecologically-friendly. Organic fertilization techniques are employed: nitrogen-fixing legumes are grown during the off season, the rice crops are fermented after harvest, and animals excrete waste that naturally fertilize crops. It’s an uphill battle for this farm though, since insects may congregate from other pesticide-spraying farms, affecting yield. Despite this, there are ways to increase revenue through branding. The Ministry of Agriculture’s goal of integrating polyculture in 6.7% of farms in China by 2020 can be reached using this organic farm as a model, and hopefully it will encourage farmers to use sustainable methods and reduce pesticides and fertilizers.

We ended the day with hot pot! It’s a new experience for a lot of our Canadian students, and it was so much fun. Conversation and beer flowed, we watched Ernest eat a lot of meat and ruffage, and we tried a lot of new and delicious foods. We are nearing the end of this field course, and it feels bittersweet, but we are still making the most of these jam-packed educational days.


今天早上我们吃完早餐,遍坐上大巴前往令人向往的崇明岛东滩湿地保护区。在路上王教授把我们分成三组,开启了一个观鸟竞赛。 竞赛的内容是让我们三组同学在短短一小时内,通过各种鸟的外部特征和观鸟手册识别尽可能多的鸟类。我,Allen,Huiting,Olivia四人组成了黑杰克组。是不吹不黑,在大家的共同努力下,我们组夺得了头筹,一共认出了13种在东滩湿地栖息的本地鸟类,包括欧亚树燕,中白鹭,小白鹭和斑鸠等。







23 August – GongHu Museum, trip to Shanghai, and East China Sea Fisheries Institute. [2018年8月23日] – 上午江湖保護區博物館及下午東海水產研究所參觀

Blog Entry Written By Team: Golden Rod
Team Members: Ernest Hon-Hin Yeung (Queen’s), Mengze Zhang (Waterloo)
Weather: Sunny in the morning and a bit cloudy in the afternoon

Today is our final day visiting the GongHureconstructed wetland & TaiHu conservation area in Wuxi. Luckily, there was a nice breeze due to the rain in the early morning that had a wonderful cooling effect. We arrived at the GongHu Conservation Museum and began a discussion entered on seven key topics.

We first has a brief introduction to the GongHu reconstructed wetland. The GongHu wetland is one of several famous spots for tourists and is providing students with many different learning opportunities, while enhancing knowledge of the importance of ecosystem protection to the local people.

Second the museum shows the relationship between TaiHu and GongHu. TaiHu is the second largest lake in China (by area) and GongHu is situated at the opening for water from Yangtze river which flows into TaiHu. TaiHu is also one of the main water sources for citizens of Wuxi. There was a map in the museum showing the direction of water flow from the Yangtze river through to Shanghai.

The third theme covered by the displays was environmental management in TaiHu. Water quality of TaiHu in previous years was so poor that it caused serious algal blooms, affecting water quality for millions of citizens. This caught the attention of the provincial and central government which lead to more active environmental management, and closing of many fishponds and factories in the surrounding areas.

There were also displays showing the ecological composition of GongHu wetland, including the array of species that reside in the wetland, other displays pertaining to to training and technology (e.g.  data showing how plants play a significant role in such wetland locations).

The final theme focused on  how one could use different technology to perform real time detection to manage the quality of water in the wetland – with a possible vision for management plan and future directions for improving the overall water quality of all of TaiHu.          This visit allowed us to develop a deeper understanding on the history of TaiHu, how different strategies and methods are being established and applied, and also how anthropogenic activities greatly affect the environment. We must recognize humans impinge on the ecosystems and resolve issues before they have catastrophic consequences for both humans and nature. Habitat reconstruction of degraded habitat and active conservation pf species and ecosystems are pivotal.

In the afternoon, we arrived at the East China Sea Fishery Institute & Museum. First Dr. BoJian Cheng gave a lecture about a few research projects that he has done such as the effects of environmental factors on physiological and ecological characteristics of fishes in the Three Gorges reservoir area, stress response of antioxidant defense system in turtles and how personality traits affect the mate choice in several mosquito fish. One interesting fact from Dr. BoBo Chen was that the morphological plasticity grants the possibility for some fishes to change their capillary surface area under different temperatures; this process is also reversible. Furthermore, we learned that fish also have personality traits like boldness, activity in open water body and their sociability. These three indicators, along with physical characteristics like body size could affect their mating preferences to or toward others. After this, another speaker Dr. Zongli Yao gave a lecture about physiology of aquatic animals acclimated to saline-alkaline water. This type of habitat is very fragile and is very sensitive to both climate change and human activities like hydrological engineering. He also shared some of the different adaptations fish can have under these kind of saline-alkaline water environments.

After these wonderfully-informative lectures, we went to visit one of labs inside the institute which studies how different types of fishing trawlers would affect the aquatic environment and how to enhance the life-time of fishing nets.

We also visited the museum collections with myriad archived specimens. Many species housed in the collections would not be seen in our daily lives, including the Chinese sturgeon (Acipenser sinensis), Ocean sunfish (Mola mola), and the skeleton of a baby whale. One of the species we found most interesting was from the Siganoidei fish family – the species is omnivorous preying on diatoms and algae and some have suggested that might be useful as a partial solution to algal blooms caused by eutrophication. However, since this kind of fish only lives in sub-tropical water and most algal blooms happen in the northern parts of China, the suggestion is probably not feasible.

Last, we visited the museum of fisheries tools and ships. This museum shows different techniques that can be used in fisheries, type of fishing tools being used in different parts of China, and different types of fishing nets and boats we would normally see.

The visit to the institute has given us some idea and understanding for current studies related to aquatic organisms and fish. Additionally, through our visit to the archive, it has shown us how diverse the aquatic organisms can be, how species can adapt to different environments through different techniques, morphologically and through behaviours. At last from the fisheries tools museum, it showed us how closely human and marine organisms are related to each other from a long time ago. This visit enlightened us on the importance of conservation for aquatic ecosystems.





下午我们来到东海 水产研究所进行学习。首先由Bo Jian 老师给我讲了他做的一些研究项目,环境因素对生理和生态特征的影响,三峡库区鱼类的应激反应在海龟的抗氧化防御系统和个性特征如何影响G. affinif 的配。BoBo Chen博士又提出的一个有趣的事实,形态学的可塑性使得一些鱼类在不同温度下改变它们的毛细血管表面积成为可能;这个过程也是可逆的。此外,我们还了解到,鱼还可以在开放水域活动和社交。三个指示的方式包括体型,身体特征可能会影响他们对他人交配得偏好。之后由姚老师给我们讲了一场关于水生动物适应盐碱水生理学的讲座。这种栖息地非常脆弱,对气候变化和水文工程等人类活动都非常敏感。他还分享了鱼在这种盐碱水环境下的一些不同适应性。讲座结束后我们来到渔网强度实验室,研究不同种类的捕捞爬虫会如何影响水生环境,以及如何提高渔网的寿命。




22 August – Day 3 of the GongHu Bay reconstructed wetland assessment. [2018年8月22日] – 贡湖湾湿地公园评估第三天

Blog Entry Written by Team: Red Swamp Crayfish (Procambarus clarkii)

博客撰写小组:小龙虾组(Procambarus Ccarkii)

Team Members: Sasha Main (Queen’s), Zhizhou He (Fudan), and Zihan Dong (Waterloo)


Weather: Light showers in the morning, cloudy, humid, and about 30 degrees Celsius all day. Heavy rain came in the afternoon which cleared up around 5pm, followed by partly cloudy, humid weather with a cool breeze.


For our third and final day of wetland assessments at GongHu, we left at 8am sharp. Upon arrival we used the ‘Bobo courier service’ (aka Dr. Bojian Chen with an electric tricycle) to transport the experimental equipment to the various locales. We had some logistical challenges organizing the movement of the equipment among sampling locales on the previous day as the reconstructed wetland is a quite large at 2.32km2. This resulted in half the groups finishing their data collection and the other tree groups needing to infill some data gaps. It worked out quite well as some of us were out gathering our data (e.g. water chemistry measurements, birding point counts, physical observations and benthic macroinvertebrate samples) or at the local café on the causeway. Our team headed out to our site (31° 27′ 33″ N 120° 20′ 36″) to finish some physical observations and do one more fixed radius bird count. We were accompanied by the cute stray pup from the café  – mostly because we fed her dried bananas.


Our sampling site is a point of land surrounded by open water on the causeway, with minimal aquatic vegetation coverage. We noted that the bank has a northern aspect and was comprised of a man-made metal cage filled with stones beside ‘natural’ grassy banks on a 4° incline. During our bird count we spotted one Common Moorhen (Galinula chloropus), two Little Grebes (Tachybaptus ruficolis), four Long-tail Shrikes (Lanius schach), about 40 Intermediate Egrets (Ardea intermedia) outside, three Black-billed Magpies (Pica pica), one Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) and two unknown species. It was much more difficult without Dr. Lougheed, but it made us appreciate the knowledge and skill required to be a great birder. By the time we finished up, most groups had collected their data and Renata even collected water chemistry samples from TaiHu with Dr. Chen for comparison in our report.

我们的观测点是一个突出的人工平台,其周围是开放的水域和极少植被覆盖的堤道。我们注意到河岸是一个里面填装着石头且面北的人造金属笼子,再旁边则是天然的绿堤。绿堤倾斜度手机测量为4°。在观鸟的过程中,我们发现了一只黑水鸡(Galinula chloropus)、两只小䴙䴘(Tachybaptus ruficolis)、四只长尾伯劳(Lanius schach),大约40只中白鹭(Ardea intermedia)停栖在观测范围之外、三只黑嘴喜鹊(Pica pica)、一只灰鹭(Ardea cinerea)和两种未知物种。没有了Lougheed博士,我们的观鸟过程变得困难得多,但这使我们深刻认识到,成为一名经验丰富知识广博的“鸟人”有多么不易。等到我们组完成的时候,大多数小组已经收集好了他们的数据,同时Renata甚至和波波一起从太湖收集了水化学样本用以在我们的报告中作比较研究。

Fairly heavy rain started during lunch, so Dr. Wang and Dr. Lougheed kindly arranged some presentations and a movie for the afternoon. The first presentation was from one of our fellow students Allen Tian, who has just started his master’s program in Dr. Wang’s laboratory (co-adivsed by Dr. Lefevbre) studying the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance of  cyanobacteria – to serve as an early warning and monitoring system. The genus Microcystis can release harmful toxins when they die, such as microcystin, with potentially profound ecological and economical impacts. Allen informed us of the difficulties in controlling cyanobacteria, the pros and cons of different monitoring systems, the obstacles of using UAVs and his hopes for future developments. One funny (but serious) challenge with UAVs is that some birds may see them as a threat and attack the drone! The presentation was very engaging and especially applicable to Wuxi as in 2007 the city experienced an algal bloom in TaiHu resulting in 2 million people losing access to drinking water for two weeks, and ultimately triggering this local wetland reconstruction project.


Allen’s presentation was followed by Dr. Lougheed speaking on the topic of environmental DNA (eDNA); the presence of DNA from organisms’ feces, shed skin, gametes, and more found in air, water and soil. He explained its importance as a tool in assessing ecosystem health, different collection methods, different processing techniques and tools for analyses. The talk focused on three main applied eDNA studies conducted by Dr. Lougheed’s students. Whether it was finding the hibernacula of Northern map turtles (Graptemys geographica), detecting for microcystic producing algae, or identifying the diversity of aquatic species that comprise the diet of finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis), we were intrigued by the vast applications of eDNA.

然后Lougheed博士讲述了有关环境DNA的话题。环境DNA是存在于粪便,皮肤,生殖,甚至于空气,水,土壤中的DNA。环境DNA对于生态健康评估,收集方法,处理方法以及分析方法至关重要。话题主要集中在三项Lougheed博士的学生进行的eDNA应用研究。是否可以找到Northern map turtles(北地图龟)的冬眠芽,检测产生藻类污染的微囊藻,或者是辨识损害江豚饮食的水生物种。eDNA的应用之广,让我们产生了浓厚的兴趣。

After the presentations, we watched the movie The Big Year– a hilarious movie about three birders competing to see as many species as possible in one year. It was really nice to laugh and curl up with some tasty popcorn while it down poured outside. Altogether we had a great time, and the movie inspired some of us to start birding ourselves.


It was a bittersweet feeling as we left our favourite little café and our sites for the last time, but we were excited to see what the next days in Shanghai would bring.



21 August – GongHu fieldwork (Wuxi). 2018/8/21无锡贡湖

Blog written by team: Black-faced spoonbill (Platalea minor)

Team members: Lu Bai (Waterloo), Yuan Liu (Queens) and Arielle Vary-O’Neal (Ottawa)

Weather: Hot and cloudy, with an average of 30˚C



天气:多云, 日均温度:30摄氏度

Today was a very long day, but very fulfilling. We went to the shores of Gong Hu Lake in Wuxi, a reconstructed wetland funded by government monies, to begin a a class project on wetland assessment. The Gong Hu Lake project began in early 2000 and today, in 2018, is in Phase IV – comprised of monitoring its success, maintenance and assessing how it might ultimately attain some  independence from continued need for inputs. Our assessment project will later give us some general idea of ​​the success of this final project phase.

We immediately went to work after learning of our sampling site – the afternoon proved to be very hot! The physical assessment of our site was the first thing on our list: the angle of the slope, aspect (compass direction of the slope), percentage of water covered by macrophytes, percentage of canopy covering the site. Dr. Lougheed, armed with binoculars, later came to our site to help us count and identify the bird species. For 15 minutes, we scanned the sky and the trees and ended up identifying 6 species, including the Long-tailed shrike (Lanius schach) and the Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis). We even saw a family of Little Grebes (Tachybaptus ruficollis), with two adults and two juveniles. This is an excellent sign, as this means birds are able to successfully reproduce here. Even before taking further assessment measures, we already knew that Gong Hu was going in the right direction – the presence of birds and their great diversity we thought an excellent indicator of a healthy ecosystem.

Walking on the causeway after lunch, we were struck by how much the appearance of Gong Hu was different from that of Tai Lake, though only divided by a few meters of concrete. Gong Hu water seemed crystalline in comparison, while detritus and cyanobacteria floated on the surface of Tai Hu. But we remain optimistic! Gong Hu’s efforts seem to be working, and we have hope that the same efforts and dedication will one day be applied to all of Tai Lake.

After these initial activities, we performed a benthic biodiversity analysis using an Eckman grabber. The only organisms we identified were gastropods. We hypothesized that the sediment, mainly comprised of very fine mud and dark clay, was anaerobic and unfit for supporting many species.

Our final assessment included measuring water chemistry attributes including pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity, conductivity and turbidity. As we were performing these tasks, a local family seemed really interested in what we were doing. They stepped right in and watched us very closely, as we tried to explain the project to them. After we finished collecting water chemistry parameters, Bobo drove us back to the coffee shop to meet up with the rest of the group for watching Unmanned arerial vehicle (UAV) demonstration. We were stunned by the ‘show.’ The UAV can go up to 100 meters high and take picture every 3 seconds for the entire field of view (transmitted to the tablet so we see it in real time), is used for monitoring environmental changes.

Today definitely provided much to reflect upon. Tired but satisfied, we returned to the hotel. Another equally busy day awaits us tomorrow!


充实又漫长的一天又开始啦。我们今天依旧来到了位于无锡市的贡湖湾,在湖的不同位点进行水质检测. 始于2000年的贡湖项目现如今处于四期-着重于维持生态系统可持续发展。贡湖湾项目是湿地修复重建的一个成功典例.

到达取样点后,我们立即开始测量取样点的相关地势参数:坡度,水中的植被覆盖率,树荫遮盖率等。接着罗汉德教授带着望远镜来帮助我们统计取样点鸟类的种类及个体数. 我们用了15分钟来扫视天空与树木并在最终观测到包含鷿鷉和白头鹎在内的6种鸟类. 我们在进行水质检测前就了解到贡湖水质已然提高,但是鸟类多样性的存在进一步验证了生态系统的优化和改善.

午饭后,我们走上堤道再次去往取样点的途中对仅有一桥相隔的贡湖及太湖的水质相差之悬殊所震惊. 相比之下,贡湖的水清晰透彻而太湖的水面却浮着很多垃圾与蓝藻. 但是我们相信在看到贡湖湾项目取得的成果后,相关部门最终也会解决太湖的污染问题!






20 August – GongHu Reconstructed Wetland

Blog Entry Written by Team: Finless Porpoise

Team Members: Yanling Wang (Queen’s), Shidan Wen (BNU), Renata Sampaio (Laurier)

Weather: Cloudy, Temp 33ºC

Wow what a day! Today was our first day learning about wetland assessments at Gonghu Bay. We arrived at Gonghu Bay where we met Mrs. Hua Cheng who is an employee of an eco-engineering company, Jiangda, which has taken up the post-project management and maintenance of the bay. As we shuffled onto a boat we observed some of the different species inhabiting the wetland such as the black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) soaring through the sky or little grebes (Tachybaptus ruficollis) swimming and diving in the wetland.

Mrs. Cheng explained how Jiangda has been maintaining the restoration of the Gonghu Bay and that they were on Phase IV of the total project. She further explained how the bay undertook four main steps into the reconstruction of the wetland. Phase I consisted of dredging, or the removal of contaminated aquaculture sediment, from the bottom of the bay to produce new environments which aided in increasing the diversity of species found in the wetland. Phase II focused on the improvement of habitat in which sloped, vertical and rocky banks were engineered for the natural aesthetics, the separation of Gonghu Bay from Tai Lake and the prevention of erosion, respectively. Next, Phase III centered on the introduction of functional plants and benthic invertebrates, such as snail and mussels, as well as fish species back into the bay. She continued to report that the health of the wetland ecosystem had increased and that the bay now included 70 plant species combined with 20 fish species. Finally, Phase IV was the maintenance and management of the post-project to assure that the wetland’s ecosystem is progressing and so that they may start to improve Tai Lake in a similar fashion.

We headed back to the base where Dr. Lougheed gave a lecture of bird identification and characteristics used to identify different species of birds such as size, color, beak, wing shape and most importantly range. After a quick rest we went back into the field to undertake the task of identify the diversity of birds in the wetland. We saw and identified several different species which included but were not limited to the black-crowned night herons (Nycticorax nycticorax), grebes (Tachybaptus ruficollis), intermediate egrets (Mesophoyx intermedia), Chinese grey shrikes (Lanius sphenocercus), mynah (Acridotheres tristis) and light-vented bulbuls (Picnonotus sinensis). We regrouped at a local coffee shop while enjoying ice cold cappuccinos and coca-colas before making our way back for to base.

Once back on the base Dr. Wang explained some of the different methods we would be using out on the field the following days to evaluate the water quality of the wetland. He demonstrated how to use several instruments which would measure the salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, conductivity and pH of the water and how these measurements are vital in defining the overall status of health of the aquatic ecosystem. We concluded the day at Gonghu Bay with Dr. Lougheed enlightening the group with specie concepts which partake in biomonitoring which included; indicator species, keystone species, flagship species and umbrella species and outlined the importance of such species in supervising ecosystems. It was truly a wonderfully jam-packed day full of exploration and discovery in uncovering what it takes to nurture a reconstructed aquatic ecosystem, such as the Gonghu Bay wetland, plus the effort it takes to maintain such a project for the long term.



接下来,Dr. Lougheed教授为我们介绍了鸟类物种识别的基本方法。黎明(或黄昏)时是观察鸟类的最好时间。鸟类物种识别主要依赖以下特征:体型、颜色及纹理特征、喙及翅膀的形状、鸣声、冠羽、行为、栖息地和分布范围。根据这些要领,我们在野外进行了实践。沿着湖岸,我们观察到了许多种不同的鸟类,例如黑冠夜鹭(Nycticorax nycticorax),小鷿鷈(Tachybaptus ruficollis),中白鹭(Mesophoyx intermedia),楔尾伯劳(Lanius sphenocercus),白头鹎(Picnonotus sinensis)。



19 August – Lingering Garden in Suzhou 苏州留园

Lingering Garden in Suzhou (Team Chinese fire belly newt)

苏州留园 (中华蝾螈小组)

Blog Entry Written by Team: Team Chinese fire belly newt

Team Numbers: Allen Tian (Queen’s), Huining Luo (SWU), Yuechun Ru (Waterloo)

Weather: Cloudy in the morning & Sunny at noon, Temp: 28-33°C

团队成员:Allen 田(皇后大学)、罗慧宁(西南大学)、汝玥淳(滑铁卢大学)


Our day commenced with a free for all of Suzhou’s famed street breakfast culture and a class rendezvous at 09:00 AM. After making the short walk to the Lingering Garden, Dr. Wang and Dr. Lougheed apprised us with a short lecture on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. The Lingering Garden was built during the Ming Dynasty in the year 1593 by Xutai, a bureaucrat with a love for architecture. It covers 23 300 m2 and consists of the Central, East, North and West gardens, which are all linked by a 700 m long corridor. Each step is a new visage, an iconic impression of various parts of China.

Our journey, shepherded by one of the quarter-hourly guides began in the Central Garden, a fantastical dreamscape of rockeries and pavilions surrounding a central lake graced with sacred lotus. As we sat by the jade-like water in the Green Shade Pavilion, our guide lectured us on the history of each building and artifact.

As we made our way to the East Garden, we saw wonders such as the Natural Picture of Sunshine After Rain, a 1 m diameter, 15 mm thick circle of marble from Yunnan that depicts wild landscapes; an evocation of nature made by nature. Another highlight was the Cloud-crowned Peak, a towering piece of Taihu stone that evoked both graceful and rugged facets of nature. Different windows, which each had unique, distinctive and artful lattices, were like portrait frames glazing into halcyon visages.

The North Garden began with a display of innumerate bonsai, which were unfortunately backdropped by construction. There were tree-based bonsai and rockery focused landscape bonsai. Tree bonsai, for example, five-leaved pine, had metal wires which bound branches and roots into charming shapes. Landscape bonsai balanced greenery, soil, rock and water, empathizing the need for balance in all things. The bonsai’s aesthetics and longevity were maintained through clipping and careful fertilizer application. The high point of this area was a beautiful rockery with pine bonsai, which were reminiscent of Lushan.

Our climb to the West Garden was greeted by a stand of maple trees and the Delightful Pavilion. This idyllic area contained bamboo groves, and a carp and lotus filled brook shaded by peach and willow trees. As we headed back to the exit, we stopped to rest on the hill of the Osmanthus Fragrans pavilion. We reunited with our class at around 11:30. After a short break, we walked through Yongjin Bridge and Fudiao Bridge to the West Park Ring Temple, which is uniquely located outside the west gate of Suzhou City, east of the Lingering Garden, famous for its classical gardens, and the quiet Hanshan Ancient Temple in the west. It cleverly blends Buddhist temples with Suzhou gardens. The ancient wood in the temple is deep, making people step into a clean and solemn sacred place, and we had a monk cooked vegetarian meal there. Although it is urbanely located, strolling inside was pastoral experience for both body and mind.

We received some precious free time after lunch. However, three groups had yet to present their seminars and so we frantically worked all afternoon. We then drove to Wuxi, from 4:30 to 5:30 PM, and presented our seminars after dinner. Group Goldenrod, consisting of Ernest and Mengze, presented on the largely negative impacts of climate change on aquatic ecosystems. Our group, Chinese red bellied salamander, explored the causes, consequences and solutions to eutrophication. Finally, the spoonbill group, consisting of Arielle, Yuan and Li presented on groundwater contamination, with a special emphasis on its effects on human health and cancer rates.

我们的这一天是从品尝苏州的特色美食开始的。饭后我们步行前往留园。趁着Bojian老师购票的间隙,王教授和 Lougheed 教授给我们科普了有关留园的历史。留园始建于明代万历二十一年(公元1593年),为太仆寺少卿徐泰时的私家园林,总占地23300 m2 。整个园林现分为四个部分—分别是由700 m 长的走廊连接而成的中园,东园,西园和北园。

我们跟随讲解员,随着拥挤的人群,先来到了中园,一个高大的假山屹立于湖中央,与湖中的荷花交相辉映。我们坐在绿荫亭的翡翠般的水旁,听导游介绍每座建筑和文物的历史。接着我们穿过厅堂, 看到了“留园三宝”之一的“雨后静观山”,这块奇石上有着雾气笼罩时的山峰和明月,给人雨后观景的静谧与神秘。在我们赞叹自然之力的伟大时,抬头忽见云冠峰, 其高耸的形象又立马把我拉入崎岖的遐想中。不同的窗户上有独特巧妙的花纹,就像肖像框勾勒出一个个宁静的世界。


我们爬上了西园, 迎着枫树有座宜人的亭子。旁边有片竹林,在往旁边看是莲池,里面有些鲤鱼,不停地摆弄着尾巴挑逗池边的垂柳。再次回到出(入)口的时候, 我们在桂花亭中稍作歇脚。我们在11:30左右与我们的班级团聚。短暂的休息后, 我们走过永津桥和福德桥来到了西园戒幢律寺,它坐落于苏州城西阊门外,东靠以古典园林闻名的留园,西邻幽寂的寒山古寺,北倚美丽的虎丘风景区,南临阊门运河,地理位置得天独厚。它巧妙的融合了佛教殿堂与苏州园林。寺内古木幽深, 使人感觉步入了一个清净庄严的伽蓝圣地。在这里,我们还吃了一顿难得的斋饭。临闹市而无喧嚣,近尘寰而不污染,怡然漫步于此寺中,于身于心,都是一种美的享受。

午饭后我们得到了一些宝贵的空闲时间。然而, 有三个小组还没有出席他们的研讨会, 所以我们整个下午都在疯狂地工作。然后, 我们驱车前往无锡, , 并在晚餐后开展了我们的研讨会。由Ernest Yeung和 Mengze 组成的一枝黄组介绍了气候变化对水生生态系统的负面影响。我们中华蝾螈小组则探讨了富营养化的原因, 后果及解决方案。最后, 由 Arielle、yuan、lu组成的黑面琵鹭组对地下水污染问题进行了介绍, 特别强调其对人体健康和癌症发病率的影响。


18 August – Wuhan Botanical Garden

Weather: Cloudy to Rainy, Location: Wuhan Botanical Garden, Guest lecturer: Xiaofan Wang

Group 5: Vicki and Zhenglin

Today started off filled with an exploration of botany! We visited the Wuhan Botanical Garden, where Dr. Xiao Fan Wang (no relation to our professor, Dr. Wang) gave us a tour, indicating many wonderful species and their unique attributes. There were submerged plants (under water), emerged plants, and semi-submerged plants.

There were so many fascinating species at the Botanical Garden! Notably, we saw many lotus species (genus Nymphaea). One species, the giant water lily (Victoria amazonica), native to shallow water bodies of South America, has evolved an incredible adaptation that gives it buoyancy – immense floating leaves with upturned edges that result in more sunlight being received and a very rapid growth rate. We also saw cycads (Genus Cycadophyta), an ancient lineage of flowering plants that has existed since the time of dinosaurs.

Introduced and invasive species were also a focal topic of discussion. For example, we saw climbing plants that grow up larger trees called Taxodium ascendens Brongn (a deciduous conifer), depriving the larger tree of sunlight. There was a path lined with sycamores (Platanus occidentalis), trees with light brown bark that tolerate pollution well, and commonly planted within cities and extensive urban areas. The desert section of the greenhouse was probably our favourite part. We saw cacti, including a species of columnar cactus that was over twice the height of Dr. Wang, aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis), and epiphytes, plants with root systems that are not embedded in substrate and can absorb moisture from the air.

One major theme of this course is identifying plant and animal taxa that can serve as ioindicators of ecosystem health, and we saw many potential examples today. Aquatic macrophytes (‘macro’=large, and ‘phytes’=plants) provide structure and correlate positively with species richness within an ecosystem. We saw many swallows as well, swooping overhead; they are aerial insectivores, and their presence implies lack of pesticides and the present of flying insects. The botanical garden really demonstrates beautifully ecosystems function and how species are adapted to different conditions and how they inter-relate, undoubtedly more important than mere aesthetics.

We saw many facets of the botanical side of ecosystems, and how the ‘mosaic’ of plants and animals create a functional wetland. Because of the language barrier for English speaking students, Dr. Bojian Chen translated –it was a very educational morning!

Afterward, we had a very lively lunch. Dr. Xiong Yang of Jianghan University (another friend and colleague of Dr. Wang) graciously hosted us. We tried dozens of dishes, including deer meat, rice wine soup, local fish, and lotus, and very light beer. It was incredibly delicious! We also had some very good discussions going, ranging from our families and our homes, to our favourite alcoholic beverages. We love how close we are all growing; living and learning together has made us all great friends.

We set out to the train station and arrived early, using the extra time to buy coffee and even more food (we are growing kids, you know). Upon boarding the fast train, we found that we had difficulty finding space for our luggage, having to settle for squeezing our bags and suitcases between rows of seats. We then settled in for the 4.5-hour train ride from Wuhan to Suzhou. On the way eastward, we saw much the same scenery as we witnessed on our fast train ride from Shanghai to Wuhan. We passed through mountains, and the fog made everything look very scenic but perhaps a bit eerie. We saw many examples of aquaculture, as well many hgh-rise residential buildings.

At Suzhou, we checked into our hotel and, to our surprise and delight, discovered that there was a cafe within its lobby, as well as a great bakery within 100 meters! It’s been another tiring but educational day.





制作人: Vicki and Zhenglin


武汉植物园让我们所有的学生大开眼界,光说睡莲科(Nymphaea genus)和莲科的植物就让我们应接不暇。其中看到了一个巨大的水百合(Victoria amazonica),它的叶子进化出了一种可以接受更多阳光,加快其新陈代谢的一种表型。同时,我们还看到了一种远古的植物,名叫苏铁(Cycadophyta)。

在今天的学习过程中,我们还针对外来引进的物种和生物入侵的物种进行了深刻的讨论。首先,我们看到了一些附生植物缠绕在一颗巨大的池杉(Taxodium ascendens Brongn)之上,相互竞争阳光,这种竞争使得池杉越长越高。接着往院子的深处走,我们看到了小径两侧有一排美国梧桐(Platanus occidentalis),这些树浅棕色的树皮可以吸收空气中的污染物, 在中国城市的街道中普遍种植着这种悬铃木作为街边的行道树。由于天气原因,汪老师把我们领入到植物馆中,这里有很多美丽的仙人掌,其中一个仙人掌足足有两人高。我们还看到了芦荟,以及具有气生根的池杉(Taxodium ascendens Brongn)。




17 August – Morning Seminar and Afternoon Conservation Site Visiting (Team Golden Rod) [2018年8 月18日] 上午教學以及下午保護區探訪 (一枝黃花小队)Morning Seminar and Afternoon Conservation Site Visiting (Team Golden Rod) [2018年8 月18日] 上午教學以及下午保護區探訪 (一枝黃花小队)

Blog Entry Written By Team: Golden Rod

Team Members: Ernest Hon-Hin Yeung (Queen’s), Mengze Zhang (Waterloo)

Weather: Cloudy, windy with a few rain drops in the afternoon at the conservation site

Today was our 4th day of our field course. In the morning Professor Lougheed gave us a lecture about avian diversity and conservation. The lecture included characteristics of birds, origins of the vertebrate class, and mono-phyly of birds. The most memorable and interesting part for the lecture was discussion of the discovery of a kind of feathered dinosaurs, Yutyrannus huali, found in fossil beds of Liaoning Province, China. The professor also explained how scientists have used the technology related to detecting fossilised evidence of the cells that produce pigments (melanin) to quantify patterns of the plumage of some fossil birds. Last but not least, Steve also mentioned the importance of birds to human society and that the diversity of birds found in wetlands could help us identify the health of ecosystems.

After the lecture, we departed for Hong Hu natural reserve area and had our lunch at one of the local hotels near the reserve. The theme of the dishes was on local ingredients , like fish and lotus. It was by far one of the best meals we’ve had on this trip.

We finally arrived at the reserve in the afternoon, where we were invited to board a motorboat, so that we could evaluate the progress and effectiveness of the conservation program to the ecosystem in the lake. The lake has many interesting aquatic organisms like wild water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis), wild lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) and many  terns (Family: Sterninae), just some of the species that the government is trying to protect. In Hong Hu, there are about 40km2 of wild lotus in the reserve and we could see different kind of birds inhabiting the lotus (e.g.  little egret, Egretta garzetta), showing the diversity of ecosystem in the reserve and the ability of lotus in enhancing water quality. The class took myriad beautiful pictures during out tour. The section head f the project and our host, Mr. Dung provided us with some basic information on the reserve. The total area of the conservation area is about 162km2 and was once famous for commercial fishing. In 2005, the government proposed a regulation on fishing in the area, only allowing each family to keep 0.1 km2 of pens to raise fish. In 2016, all fishing activities in the reserve were banned and all fishing in the area has now been removed. This of course resulted in a need to address the problem of how to replace lost income for fishers. Originally, they had all lived on boats and received their income through fishing. Their children had no formal education as schools were simply not accessible. It has become a challenge for some now that they have moved to the city or have tried to find other jobs because they lack the necessary skills. Currently, the Chinese government is providing education, training, job, social welfare and a house to those who have been affected. However, these agreements could not solve all the problems that arose. Some fishers may not be able to adapt to such a new environment, and subsidies provided by the government may be insufficient in the long term.

This has led to a debate on whether we should put more consideration toward human well-being or environmental health. In our own opinion, we should probable put more consideration on the environmental side, because environmental conservation and restoration is a long-term process and is necessary for human well-being. If one thinks about the “Tragedy of the Commons” (a term invented by American ecologist Garret Harding), if the government does not interfere, people will not have the incentive or interest to protect the environment, which would ultimately lead to degradation. People will no longer be able to harvest any quality resources from such degraded ecosystems and this would possibly lead to more substantive impacts for the society compared to the ban announced by the government.

Through toady’s investigation and study, we have learned that China have moved forward on natural ecosystem conservation, putting more attention and resources into this domain. The proposed solutions and conservation plans achieving some success. There is always controversy in different environmental projects and stakeholders must work together to obtain the best results.


今天是课程进行的第四天。上午在宾馆的会议厅由 Stephen 教授给我們讲了水生鸟类的多样性和保育。课程中讲了所有鸟类的都具有的特点,鸟类的来源,共源性状。还有一点令我印象深刻的就是在中国发现了一种带羽毛的恐龙,体型比人类大很多,并且Steven教授还解释了科学家们用色谱沉着技术确定恐龙的羽毛颜色。之后还讲了鸟与人类的关系,鸟的数量和种类可以反映出当地生态环境的情况。


下午到达目的地后我们很幸运坐上游艇参观洪湖的治理成果。湖中有许多野生荷花,野生荷花(Nelumbo nucifera), 野生荸荠(Eleocharis dulcis)和燕鷗(Sterninae)都是国家重点保护植物,洪湖有近万亩的荷花淀,有许多水生鸟类栖息在荷花淀中,比如白鹭(Egretta garzetta)。这也说明了洪湖的环境治理是有一定效果的。我们在荷花丛中拍照,因为景色真的很美。在游艇上,当地的负责人鄧先生给我们介绍洪湖一共四万多亩,以养鱼著称,但是湖都是被渔民用渔网围起来分隔开。在2005年的时候开始逐渐的拆除围网,在2016年的时候所有的围网被拆完。但是围网拆完后渔民的生活问题就出现了,这些渔民就是生活在船上,靠养鱼维生,而且他们的孩子也不上学,如何让他们融入社会成了一项挑战。目前政府采取的措施是提供免费的教学,教他们一项技能,还有提供一些岗位,比如参与到保护生态的活动中来。每一家都有安家费,保证每一户都有一个人拥有一份工作。虽然这样看上来政府做的很周到,考虑的也很全面,但是有很多渔民并不能真正的适应新的环境,他们已经在渔船上生活了很多年让他们突然改变生活方式真的很困难,有很多人之后都是靠在城市中捡垃圾为生,几十万的安家费在如今的房价面前也是杯水车薪。



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