Outstanding Young Researcher Award 2019
Dr David M BAKER is an Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences, Division of Ecology and Biodiversity and the Swire Institute of Marine Science, and Director of the Science Faculty’s Stable Isotope Mass Ratio Spectrometry Laboratory. He received his PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University, followed by postdoctoral appointments at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Geophysical Laboratory, and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.
Dr Baker leads a diverse international team of students, research assistants and postdocs, without whom this award would not have been possible. Together, they focus on coral reefs – the most diverse ecosystems in the ocean – to better understand humanity’s impact on their past, present and future. His core research spans both time and space, the latter ranging from the cellular biochemistry of symbiotic associations to the ecosystem level. He is the founder and Principal Coordinator of the MarineGEO–Hong Kong project, an important initiative that seeks to understand how humans interact with biodiversity along our coasts, generously supported by ~HK$10M from the Environment and Conservation Fund and the Collaborative Research Fund. His work has been published in prestigious journals including Science Advances, The ISME Journal, and Global Change Biology. He received the Research Grants Council’s Early Career Award and was a nominee for the Pew Marine Conservation Fellowship.
Dr Baker is also a founding member of the University’s Conservation Forensics Laboratory, formed by members across Faculties to address Hong Kong’s important role as a hub for illegal wildlife trade. The team works with local government and NGO stakeholders to enhance intelligence and enforcement activities, while forming a scientific foundation for species conservation efforts worldwide.