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Ecology and Biodiversity

Facilities in Ecology & Biodiversity


School of Biological Sciences


The Research Division for Ecology & Biodiversity holds excellent research facilities in the Kadoorie Biological Sciences Building and Hoi Oi Chow Building at HKU and is closely associated with the Swire Institute of Marine Science (SWIMS), an off-campus marine research institute located adjacent to the only marine reserve in Hong Kong. 


The Division hosts three marine and freshwater facilities with re-circulating water systems across the two buildings, a zebrafish/medaka culture facility, and a greenhouse.


Since 2010, the Division has spent over HKD58 Million to renovate research labs and acquire state-of-the-art research facilities for establishing an environment to encourage research collaboration among staff and research postgraduate students.

We also host the Science Faculty’s Central Research Facilities (e.g., Stable Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometers including EA-IRMS, GC-IRMS, Thermo Delta V Advantage IRMS; Triple TOF; Qtrap LC-MS/MS; GC Triple Quad MS; ICP-MS/-OES; Flow Cytometer; Confocal Microscope) as a platform for promoting interdisciplinary collaboration across different departments and faculties within HKU and beyond.

More recently, we have received internal grants of HKD3.6 Million to purchase an extracellular flux analyser, Thermo IRMS, Seahorse XFe 24 Analyzer, and Single-cell Encapsulator.


Stable Isotope Laboratory

In the Stable Isotope Laboratory, there are three Continuous Flow-Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (CF-IRMS) systems which serves research and teaching needs for stable isotope ratio users.


System 1

Brand: (EA) Eurovector / (IRMS) Nu Instruments, Model: (EA) EA3028 / (IRMS) Perspective

(EA) EA3028 / (IRMS) Perspective

 (EA) EA3028 / (IRMS) Perspective


Samples are oxidized, followed by reduction inside the elemental analyzer to convert into CO2 and N2

Alternatively, they are pyrolyzed by the HT furnace into CO and H2. The gases are separated by packed column gas chromatography and analyzed by the IRMS.

The equipment is used for analyzing the isotope ratios of C and N in organic matter (plant/animal tissue) and sediments, as well as H and O isotope ratios in water.

System 2

Brand: (GC) Agilent / (IRMS) Nu Instrument, Model: (GC) 7890A / (IRMS) Perspective

(GC) 7890A / (IRMS) Perspective

(GC) 7890A / (IRMS) Perspective


Volatile organic compounds are first separated by capillary gas chromatograhy, followed by oxidation or pyrolysis inside a dual furnace to convert in to CO2 or H2 and analyzed by the IRMS. 


This instrument is used for analyzing the isotope ratios of C and H of individual compounds, such as amino acids, from geological and environmental samples.

System 3

Brand: (EA) Thermo/ (Gas Bench) Thermo/ IRMS (Thermo), Model: (EA) EA Isolink/ (Gas Bench) Gas Bench II/ (IRMS)Delta V Advantage

(EA) EA Isolink/ (Gas Bench) Gas Bench II/ (IRMS)Delta V Advantage

(EA) EA Isolink/ (Gas Bench) Gas Bench II/ (IRMS)Delta V Advantage

This isotope ratio mass spectrometer is interfaced with 2 different sample preparation units:


1: Elemental Analyzer

A temperature ramped GC is included in this EA. As a result, the analysis time for each sample can be reduced with improved separation, making it suitable for measurement of the isotope ratio sulphur, as well as nitrogen and carbon of bulk organic substrates.


2: Gas Bench with Denitrification Kit

Gas Bench is an innovative solution for high precision on-line isotope and molecular ratio determination of headspace samples. Gas sample is entrained in a helium stream via a sampling needle. The gas then passes through a CO2 scrubber (Ascarite) and N2O is trapped and concentrated in liquid nitrogen cryo-traps. The N2O is carried by helium to the IRMS via a gas chromatography column which separates N2O from the interfering gases. This equipment is mainly used to measure gaseous nitrogen or nitrogen oxides, which are created by biological decomposition of samples containing nitrogen.

Please visit our Stable Isotope Laboratory to know more about our equipment.

For more details on our facilities, please visit :