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Teaching Staff

Dr. CANNICCI, Stefano

Dr. CANNICCI, Stefano

Associate Director of SWIMS and Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, HKU

BSc (University of Florence); PhD (University of Florence)

  • 2299 0673
  • 2559 9114
  • KBSB 2S-04

Teaching Areas

  • Marine biology
  • Marine invertebrates form and function
  • Marine invertebrates phylogeny
  • Mangrove ecosystem functions and services
  • Mangrove conservation and management
  • Ecology of temperate and tropical mangrove systems
  • Ecology of nearshore Hong Kong habitats
  • Vertebrate biodiversity and phylogeny

Research Interests

  • Integrated mangrove ecology
  • Mangrove macrobenthos ecology and evolutionary adaptations
  • Behavioural ecology of mangrove crabs
  • Heavy metal bioaccumulation in mangrove crabs
  • Physiological adaptation of intertidal crabs to global change
  • Morphological and physiological adaptations of terrestrial crabs
  • Microbiome-crab symbioses in terrestrial environments
  • Population genetics of Indo-Pacific brachyuran carbs
  • Phylogeny of Indo-Pacific mangrove crabs (Sesarmidae and Ocypodidae)

Current Research

  • Role of crabs in Hong Kong mangrove ecosystem functions
  • In-depth analysis of Hong Kong mangrove food webs
  • Heavy metal pollution in Hong Kong mangroves
  • Heavy metal bioaccumulation in mangrove crabs
  • Impact of macro-plastic and rubbish on Hong Kong mangrove ecosystems
  • Patterns and trends of tree and macrofaunal diversity in Hong Kong mangroves
  • Role of microbiomes in crabs terrestrialisation
  • Evolution of terrestrial adaptations in brachyuran crabs

Research Team

Ms Laura E. Agusto, PhD student

Ms Rebekah J. Butler, PhD student

Mr Pedro Juliao Jimenez, PhD student

Ms Lok Yi Cheng, PhD Student

Ms Ying Luo Yu, MPhil student

Ms Ka Hei Ng, MPhil student

Mr Hernique Bravo Gouveia, Senior Research Assistant

Ms Thea Bradford, Research Assistant


  • Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation
  • Member of The Crustacean Society
  • Member of the IUCN SSC Mangrove Specialist Group
  • Member of the Italian Union of Zoologists
  • Member of the Italian Society of Ethology

Publications and News

  • Cannicci S., Fusi M., Cimò F., Dahdouh-Guebas F., Fratini S., 2018. Interference competition as a key determinant for spatial distribution of mangrove crabs. BMC Ecology. 18:8 DOI: 10.1186/s12898-018-0164-1
  • Fusi M., Babbini S., Giomi F., Fratini S., Dahdouh-Guebas F., Daffonchio D., McQuaid C.D., Porri F. Cannicci S., 2017. Thermal sensitivity of the crab Neosarmatium africanum in tropical and temperate mangroves on the east coast of Africa. Hydrobiologia, 803: 251-263.
  • Cannicci S., Ng P.L.K., 2017. A new species of micro-mangrove crab of the genus Haberma Ng & Schubart, 2002 (Crustacea, Brachyura, Sesarmidae) from Hong Kong. ZooKeys, 662: 67–78.
  • Fusi M., Cannicci S., Daffonchio D., Mostert B., Pörtner H.-O., Giomi F., 2016. The trade-off between heat tolerance and metabolic cost drives the bimodal life strategy at the air-water interface. Scientific Reports, 6, 19158.
  • Fusi M., Beone G.M., Suciu N.A., Sacchi A., Trevisan M., Capri E., Daffonchio D., Din N., Dahdouh-Guebas F., Cannicci S., 2016. Ecological status and sources of anthropogenic contaminants in mangroves of the Wouri River Estuary (Cameroon). Mar. Pollut. Bull. 109: 723-733.
  • Fusi M., Giomi F., Babbini S., Daffonchio D., McQuaid C., Porri F., Cannicci S., 2015. Thermal specialization across large geographical scales predicts the resilience of mangrove crab populations to global warming. Oikos, 124 (6), pp. 784-795.
  • Giomi F., Fusi M., Barausse A., Mostert B., Pörtner H.-O., Cannicci S., 2014. Improved heat tolerance in air drives the recurrent evolution of air-breathing. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281(1782), 20132927.
  • Lee S.Y., Primavera J.H., Dahdouh-Guebas F., McKee K., Bosire J.O., Cannicci S., Diele K., Fromard F., Koedam N., Marchand C., Mendelssohn I., Mukherjee N., Record S., 2014. Ecological role and services of tropical mangrove ecosystems: A reassessment. Global Ecol. Biogeogr., 23: 595-609.

Award and Honours

  • Fellowship, the Royal Institute of Navigation