Prof Xu Jie serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the Faculty of Science and Technology, and the Interim Director of Centre for Regional Oceans. He obtained his PhD degree in marine environmental science from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2007. Before joined the UM last year, he was a deputy director and researcher at the State Key Laboratory of Tropical Marine Environment, South China Sea Institute of Oceanography, Chinese Academy of Sciences. His research focuses on nutrients (such as nitrogen, oxygen) and plankton in the ocean, which play key roles in marine and global ecology.
As the base of the food chain, nutrient in the ocean is food producer and an important element in earth’s climate balance. Prof Xu said that it enables the growth and reproduction of algae and plankton in the ocean. In addition, plankton is eaten by small marine organisms which are in turn eaten by other larger organisms. Therefore, the amount of nutrients determines the level of food production also the biodiversity of ocean. Without nutrients, entire food chain around the world would likely collapse. To save the earth from climate change, algae can absorb billions of tons of CO2 every year is extremely important to reduce CO2 emissions. Prof Xu explained, “It may take ten or even decades for planting trees, but as the growth of algae is fast, it is more effective than a tree at fighting climate change.”
Prof Xu shared the reason of studying marine environmental science, he studied about ocean when he was a master student. Although ocean provides large amounts of natural resources, plays an important role in removing CO2 and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, general public does not has enough awareness of its functions, it makes Prof Xu determined to explore this specific area. However, a challenge of doing research in Macao is that it is hard to organise sea expedition, some expeditions in mainland Chines have been postponed under the epidemic, makes it harder to collect samples. For this reason, Prof Xu now focuses more on local coastal research. He explained that Macao is densely populated, there is a large volume of discharged sewage. He wishes to maintain the water quality and the health of marine ecology by controlling the substances in the sewage, in order to contribute to environmental protection and marine resources management of Macao.
In regards of teaching at UM, Prof Xu said, “The international environment of UM provides a broader platform for ocean research, making it easier to carry out external cooperation and recruit potential doctoral students. Also, UM has excellent scholars in different field, we can carry out high-quality interdisciplinary research.” For students who are interested in conducting research, he shared his experiences that independent research skills, writing and reporting skills are very helpful in their future career. In the near future, Prof Xu hopes to better serve local community with cutting-edge research and high-quality articles, so as to build a better marine ecological environment for Macao.
More about Prof Xu Jie and his research: https://www.fst.um.edu.mo/people/xujiest/