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Academic Staff

Dr James Kar-Hei Fang
PolyU Scholars Hub

Dr Fang Kar-hei, James

Associate Professor

Research Overview

I am a marine physiologist and toxicologist dedicated to promoting ocean health and seafood sustainability. As the leader of the Marine Ecology and Aquaculture Laboratory (MEAL;, our research primarily focuses on four key areas: [1] Seafood nutrition and contamination – We investigate how the physiology and nutritional profiles of seafood species can be affected by climate change and ocean acidification. Another goal is to understand how these environmental changes can impact the uptake of contaminants by seafood; [2] Monitoring of microplastics – MEAL places special emphasis on studying microplastics, which have become prevalent in both the environment and food. We examine the presence of microplastics in seafood and assess their toxicology and potential health impacts on animals and humans; [3] Marine aquaculture technologies – We explore innovative approaches to sustainable aquaculture. For instance, we develop improved feed formulations for fish and shellfish, and investigate the potential of seaweed aquaculture for both food production and carbon sequestration; [4] Conservation of coral reefs for food – We recognise the vital role that coral reefs play in supporting biodiversity and providing important nurseries for seafood species. MEAL focuses on the conservation of these ecosystems, for example, by employing 3D printing technology for ecological restoration efforts. To support these research endeavours, we have successfully secured over 30 external competitive grants with me serving as the PI or Co-PI, amounting to over HK$35 million (approximately US$4.5 million). Our dedication has resulted in over 100 scientific publications.

Education and Academic Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Science, The University of Plymouth
  • Master of Philosophy, City University of Hong Kong
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland

Professional Qualifications

  • Marine Fellow, The Pew Charitable Trusts, USA 
  • Chartered Biologist, Royal Society of Biology, UK 
  • Director, Hong Kong Marine Ecological Association, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (HKSAR) 
  • Occupational Scientific Diver, Australian Diver Accreditation Scheme, Australia 
  • Open Water Diver, Professional Association of Diving Instructors, HKSAR 

Academic and Professional Experience

  • Associate Professor, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, HKSAR (2023–Present)  
  • Adjunct Professor, Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution and Integrative Omics, Guilin Medical University, China (2024–Present) 
  • Principal Investigator, State Key Laboratory of Marine Pollution, China, a consortium of eight universities led by City University of Hong Kong, HKSAR (2017–Present) 
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, HKSAR (2017–2022) 
  • Associate Editor, Environmental Geochemistry and Health, Springer (2022–Present) 
  • Associate Editor, Regional Studies in Marine Science, Elsevier (2022–Present) 
  • Review Editor, Frontiers in Toxicology, Frontiers (2022–Present) 
  • Guest Editor, Marine Pollution BulletinMarine Environmental ResearchRegional Studies in Marine Science, and Journal of Sea Research, for the Joint Special Issue: The 10th International Conference on Marine Pollution and Ecotoxicology, Elsevier (2024–Present) 
  • Guest Editor, Journal of Visualized Experiments, JoVE (2022–2023) 
  • Guest Editor, Journal of Sea Research, Elsevier (2022–2023) 
  • Guest Editor, Toxics, MDPI (2021–2022) 
  • Guest Associate Editor, Frontiers in Physiology, Frontiers (2019–2021) 
  • Peer-Reviewers for over 50 international scientific journals and books 
  • Scientific Committee Member, Marine International Standard Innovation Centre of Shandong Province cum International Standard Research Centre of Ocean Negative Carbon Emissions (ONCE), China, part of the Decade Actions of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, United Nations (2023–Present) 
  • Technical Expert, Hong Kong Laboratory Accreditation Scheme, Hong Kong Accreditation Service, Innovation and Technology Commission, HKSAR Government (2023–2024) 
  • Professional Liaison Group Member, Tung Chung New Town Extension Project, Civil Engineering and Development Department, HKSAR Government (2024–Present)
  • Marine Park Committee Member, Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, HKSAR Government (2019–Present) 
  • Management Committee Member, Fisheries Enhancement Fund, Airport Authority Hong Kong, HKSAR (2022–Present) 
  • Scientific Committee Member, Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong, HKSAR (2019–Present) 
  • Application Reviewer, Faculty Development Scheme, Research Grants Council, HKSAR (2024) 
  • Application Reviewer, Environment and Conservation Fund, HKSAR Government (2021–2023) 
  • Board Member, Faculty of Science, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, HKSAR (2022–Present) 
  • Adjunct Fellow, Global Change Institute, The University of Queensland, Australia (2018–2020) 
  • Postdoctoral Scientist, Research Group of Benthic Resources and Processes, Institute of Marine Research, Norway (2013–2017) 
  • Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Geobiology, University of Bergen, Norway (2013–2016) 
  • Visiting Scientist, Department of Ecosystem Studies, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, The Netherlands (2014) 

Research Interests

  • Seafood Nutrition and Sustainability
  • Seafood Contamination and Risk Assessments
  • Microplastics and Nanoplastics
  • Coral Reefs and Oyster Reefs
  • Impacts of Ocean Warming and Acidification
  • Marine Ecophysiology and Ecotoxicology
  • Marine Aquaculture Technology
  • 3D Imaging Technologies for Ecological Applications


  • Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, USA (one of the six global awardees selected in 2024) 
  • Graduate Fellowship, International Society for Reef Studies (one of the two global awardees selected in 2010) 
  • Research Scholarship and International Research Tuition Award, The University of Queensland, Australia (2009) 
  • Prize for Outstanding Presentation, The 5th International Conference on Marine Pollution and Ecotoxicology, 3–6 June 2007, HKSAR 
  1. Wu R, Sin YY, Cai L, Wang Y, Hu M, Liu X, Xu W, Kwan KY, Gonçalves D, Chan BKK, Zhang K, Chui APY, Chua SL, Fang JKH*, Leung KMY* (2024) Pharmaceutical residues in edible oysters along the coasts of the East and South China Seas and associated health risks to humans and wildlife. Environmental Science and Technology 58, 5512–5523. 
  2. Leung RKL, Chui APL, Liu X, Lee HW, Leung MMK, Wang Y, Hu M, Kwok KWH, Wu RSS, Jin L, Kong HK*, Fang JKH* (2024) Bioaccumulation of pollutants in the green-lipped mussel Perna viridis: assessing pollution abatement in Victoria Harbour and its adjacent aquaculture area, Hong Kong, and the minimal human health risks from mussel consumption. Marine Pollution Bulletin 201, 116086. 
  3. Fang JKH*, Tse TW, Maboloc EA, Leung RKL, Leung MML, Wong MWT, Chui APY, Wang Y, Hu M, Kwan KY, Cheung SG* (2023) Adverse impacts of high-density microplastics on juvenile growth and behaviour of the endangered tri-spine horseshoe crab Tachypleus tridentatus. Marine Pollution Bulletin 187, 114535. 
  4. Ho YW, Lim JY, Yeoh YK, Chiou JC, Zhu Y, Lai KP, Li L, Chan PKS, Fang JKH* (2022) Preliminary findings of the high quantity of microplastics in faeces of Hong Kong residents. Toxics 10, 414. 
  5. Lee CH, Fang JKH* (2022) Effects of temperature and particle concentration on aggregation of nanoplastics in freshwater and seawater. Science of the Total Environment 817, 152562. 
  6. Leung MML, Ho YW, Maboloc EA, Lee CH, Wang Y, Hu M, Cheung SG, Fang JKH* (2021) Determination of microplastics in the edible green-lipped mussel Perna viridis using an automated mapping technique of Raman microspectroscopy. Journal of Hazardous Materials 420, 126541. 
  7. Fang JKH*, Rooks CA, Krogness CM, Kutti T, Hoffmann F, Bannister RJ (2018) Impact of particulate sediment, bentonite and barite (oil-drilling waste) on net fluxes of oxygen and nitrogen in Arctic-boreal sponges. Environmental Pollution 238, 948–958. 
  8. Fang JKH*, Schönberg CHL, Mello-Athayde MA, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Dove S (2014) Effects of ocean warming and acidification on the energy budget of an excavating sponge. Global Change Biology 20, 1043−1054. 
  9. Fang JKH*, Mello-Athayde MA, Schönberg CHL, Kline DI, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Dove S (2013) Sponge biomass and bioerosion rates increase under ocean warming and acidification. Global Change Biology 19, 3581−3591. 
  10. Fang JKH, Wu RSS, Zheng GJ, Lam PKS, Shin PKS* (2008) Induction, adaptation and recovery of lysosomal integrity in the green-lipped mussel Perna viridis. Marine Pollution Bulletin 57, 467−472. 
  1. Chan CKM, Fang JKH, Kan CW* (2024) Microfibres from textile industry effluents. In: Rathinamoorthy R, Raja Balasaraswathi S (Eds) Microfibre Pollution from Textiles: Research Advances and Mitigation Strategies. CRC Press and The Textile Institute, Manchester, DOI: 10.1201/9781003331995-5. 
  2. Dellisanti W, Seveso D, Fang JKH* (2022) Nutrition of corals and their trophic plasticity under environmental conditions. In: Chimienti G (Ed) Corals – Habitat Formers from the Shallow to the Deep. IntechOpen, London, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.104612. 
  3. Schönberg CHL*, Fang JKH, Carballo JL (2017) Bioeroding sponges and the future of coral reefs. In: Carballo JL, Bell J (Eds) Climate Change, Ocean Acidification and Sponges. Springer, Cham, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-59008-0_7. 
  4. Wu RSS*, Chan AKY, Richardson B, Au DWT, Fang JKH, Lam PKS, Giesy J (2008) Measuring and monitoring POPs: a critique. In: Murakami Y, Nakayama K, Kitamura SI, Iwata H, Tanabe S (Eds) Interdisciplinary Studies on Environmental Chemistry: Biological Responses to Chemical Pollutants. TERRAPUB, Tokyo, pp. 1−6. 


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