Visiting Research Intern from HKUST

Article by Ada Yuen, HKUST
Edited by Dr Natasha Keasberry

Ada Yuen, a 2nd year student from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) spent three months in UBD as a research intern to assist Masters students carrying out projects on Acacia plants under Dean of FOS BRC grant.

Acacia is a non-native plant species introduced to Brunei that has been found to be invasive and threatens the population of the native plant species. One of the aims of the BRC project is to develop a way to control Acacia growth in Brunei.

Several experiments were carried out by Ada, one of which was to test the amount of phosphorus and exchangeable K, Na, Ca and Mg in soils where there are no Acacia’s, and compare this to the soil in Acacia-growing areas. From this, how Acacia growth threatens local plant species can be determined.

Ada also surveyed the tree diversity in the rainforests. She measured the tree diameter at breast height, and also tagged and painted the trees. This was to determine the number and health condition of the trees. A branch of leaves from each tree was also collected in order to identify the tree species.

The following are a few words from Ada describing her experience in Brunei:

“This is an invaluable experience for me to know more about the environmental problems of Brunei and provide me opportunities to protect the environment that we live in. Especially working in the rainforests, it reminds me that how important we should conserve the natural environment. Furthermore, it lightens my passion towards protecting the environment again which once was ruined by the heavy workload in my major. This overseas internship in Brunei also enlightens my new thoughts on the global environmental issues. It also helps me for my further study in my major – Environmental Management and Technology”.