CityU co-organises first-ever cetacean-themed exhibition in Hong Kong
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The first-ever cetacean-themed exhibition in Hong Kong, titled “CSI of the Cetaceans: Hope of Solutions”, co-organised by City University of Hong Kong (CityU) and the Hong Kong Science Museum, is open to the public from 26 April to 29 May.
The exhibition showcases works undertaken by the Cetacean Virtopsy Laboratory (CVL), a unit under CityU’s State Key Laboratory of Marine Pollution, and the “Jockey Club Enhancing Youth Empathy Project through Immersive Visualisation”. Such works include specimens made by CVL from skeleton of Chinese White Dolphin and finless porpoise stranded in Hong Kong waters, and how they used advanced virtopsy and conventional necropsy evidence to help identify the threats faced by cetaceans. Through visiting the exhibition, the public can learn more about the investigations undertaken on stranded cetaceans and the importance of virtopsy in such investigations.
The exhibition also presents the 3D printed specimen of Omura’s whale skeleton, a mobile app and virtual reality (VR) games produced by CityU students under WOW (Walking with Omura’s Whale Project) of the “Jockey Club Enhancing Youth Empathy Project through Immersive Visualisation”. The mobile app and VR games can help users identify different species of cetaceans and understand the threats they face in Hong Kong waters.
The opening ceremony was held on 26 April, officiated by Professor Matthew Lee Kwok-on, Vice-President (Development and External Relations) and Project Leader of the “Jockey Club Enhancing Youth Empathy Project through Immersive Visualisation”, Ms Paulina Chan Shuk-man, Director of the Hong Kong Science Museum, Dr Brian Kot Chin-wing, Research Fellow of the State Key Laboratory of Marine Pollution and Visiting Assistant Professor of CityU’s Department of Infectious Diseases and Public Health, and Mr Peter Lee, General Manager (Environment) of the Airport Authority Hong Kong.
Professor Lee said at the opening ceremony, “In this first exhibition featuring cetaceans in Hong Kong, CityU presents the problems faced by cetaceans in Hong Kong waters through virtual reality technology and virtopsy evidence to promote a sense of empathy for nature among the public, prompting them to reflect on their living habits and reduce their negative impact on the environment. We also hope to nurture interest among our next generation in marine conservation.”
Ms Chan acknowledged the efforts made by the CityU research team in producing the cetacean specimens, which involves complicated procedures, so that the public can understand their living habits and survival threats. “Through this exhibition, we hope that the public will be inspired to take action to go green and protect our oceans,” she said. “We hope our next generations will still have an opportunity to admire the colourful marine world.”
The work of CityU’s CVL, the first of its kind in the world, includes using various radiological imaging technologies, such as Computed Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging, to perform virtopsy scans on stranded cetaceans to analyse their pathological changes and causes of death. The analytical data will be saved and stored permanently. Also, if necessary, the CVL research team will perform 3D scans on cetacean carcasses to record their size, volume and other external attributes. These data can be used to produce specimens of actual size for later measurements, which will be very useful for studying the ecology of cetaceans.
Lectures and workshops on virtopsy, 3D imaging technology, and the concept of “One Ocean, One Health” will be held during the exhibition to enable the public to learn about these concepts and related knowledge.
“CSI of the Cetaceans: Hope of Solutions” Exhibition
Date: 26 April – 29 May 2019
Venue: G/F Exhibition Hall, Hong Kong Science Museum