Chi-Yeung Choi (aka Jimmy Choi) is a postdoctoral research fellow working on the Gladstone migratory shorebird monitoring project, which involves tracking local movement, modelling count data for transiting number and passage date estimates, and estimating carrying capacity. He is interested in animal behaviour, shorebird ecology and ways to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts. He has been studying migratory shorebirds since 2005 and involved in shorebird projects on the breeding grounds, migration stopping sites and non-breeding grounds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.
Migratory shorebirds are fascinating subjects for research. Their epic migration and synchronised aerial acrobatics never cease to amaze people and lead to the questions of why and how do they manage these journeys. Their annual cycles span across continents and yet for most of the time, they congregate in large numbers at open coastal wetlands, where detailed studies can be carried out. Their preference for productive coastal wetland near estuaries often overlap with human settlement and conflicts become inevitable. Jimmy’s latest research focuses on mitigating such conflicts by making quantitative predictions on the effects of environmental change on shorebird population size.
For his MSc, Jimmy studied the wintering ecology of Dunlins at Chongming Dongtan in Shanghai. He developed an effective age-determination method for Dunlin along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway using the feather characteristics on primary coverts, median coverts and tertials (Choi et al. 2010). After that, he investigated the age-related variations in migration timing, energetic condition and moult pattern in Dunlin. He found that although most first-year Dunlins migrated in their first breeding season, they may not be as successful in breeding due to their lower energetic state and earlier returning time compared to adults (Choi et al. 2011). Comparison between Dunlins and four other calidrid sandpipers at Chongming Dongtan indicated that the body condition and fuel deposition patterns differed among species that employ different migration strategies. These patterns also varied within each species between seasons and between age groups (Choi et al. 2009). Finally, he studied the habitat use of Dunlins and found that aquaculture ponds could provide alternative roosting and supplemental foraging habitat for shorebirds if managed properly (Choi et al. 2014b).
During his PhD, Jimmy studied the northward migration stopover ecology of Bar-tailed Godwits and Great Knots in the Yalu Jiang Estuary National Nature Reserve in China. He showed the importance of Yalu Jiang coastal wetland to Bar-tailed Godwits and Great Knots during northward migration (Choi et al. 2015). Surprisingly, these two shorebird species competed for the same bivalve prey despite the marked morphological differences. Their coexistence was enhanced by ample food resources rather than niche differentiation. His study provided important scientific information on the numbers of birds using Yalu Jiang coastal wetland, their prey resource availability (Choi et al. 2014a), their dietary compositions, and behaviours that are crucial for their conservation management in the reserve and potentially in other stopping sites in the Yellow Sea.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ecology), Massey University (2014, supervisors: Dr Phil Battley, Prof. Murray Potter, Prof. Zhijun Ma)
Master of Sciences (Ecology), Fudan University (2009, supervisor: Prof. Zhijun Ma)
Bachelor of Sciences with Honours (Biological ecology), The University of New South Wales, Australia (2004, supervisor: Dr David Croft)
Choi, C.-Y., Battley, P. F., Potter, M. A., Rogers, K. G., & Ma, Z. J. (2015). The importance of Yalu Jiang coastal wetland in the north Yellow Sea to Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica and Great Knots Calidris tenuirostris during northward migration. Bird Conservation International, 25, 53-70.
Choi, C.-Y., Battley, P. F., Potter, M. A., Ma, Z. J., & Liu, W. L. (2014a). Factors affecting the distribution patterns of benthic invertebrates at a major shorebird staging site in the Yellow Sea, China. Wetlands, 34, 1085-1096.
Choi, C. Y., Gan, X. J., Hua, N., Wang, Y., & Ma, Z. J. (2014b). The Habitat Use and Home Range Analysis of Dunlin (Calidris alpina) in Chongming Dongtan, China and their Conservation Implications. Wetlands, 34, 255-266.
Choi, C. Y., Hua, N., Gan, X. J., Persson, C., Ma, Q., Zang, H. X., & Ma, Z. J. (2011). Age structure and age-related differences in molt status and fuel deposition of Dunlins during the nonbreeding season at Chongming Dongtan in east China. Journal of Field Ornithology, 82(2), 202-214.
Choi, C. Y., Hua, N., Persson, C., Chiang, C. Y., & Ma, Z. J. (2010). Age-related plumage differences of Dunlins along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Journal of Field Ornithology, 81(1), 99-111.
Choi, C. Y., Gan, X. J., Ma, Q., Zhang, K. J., Chen, J. K., & Ma, Z. J. (2009). Body condition and fuel deposition patterns of calidrid sandpipers during migratory stopover. Ardea, 97(1), 61-70.
The Conservation Leadership Programme – Future Conservationist Awards 2015 (Stopover ecology of spoon-billed sandpipers and Nordmann’s greenshanks, China)
The Conservation Leadership Programme Alumni Grant 2015
The Ornithological Society of New Zealand, AOC 2013 travel scholarship
Oriental Bird Club Conservation Grant 2012 (Southward migration phenology and impacts of aquaculture on shorebirds at the Dandong Yalu Jiang Estuarine Wetland National Nature Reserve, Liaoning, China)
Miranda Naturalists’ Trust the Sibson Award 2010
New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarships 2009
The Conservation Leadership Programme Alumni Grant 2009
The Conservation Leadership Programme – Future Conservationist Awards 2008 (Wintering Ecology of Hooded Crane at Chongming Dongtan)
Silver prize award in verbal presentation at the Beijing Normal University 2nd Kingfisher Student Conference, July 2006, Beijing
Scholar for the People’s scholarship at Fudan University 2006, 2007, 2008
Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Honours scholarship 2004
Advanced BTEC Diploma in tropical Habitat Conservation 2003
Sam Cracknell Memorial scholarship 2002
Faculty of Science Vacation Research Scholarship 2002