Staff Profile

School of Science and Technology People Key Staff Staff Profile
Dr. Astudillo Placencia Juan Carlos 博士
BSc UCN-Chile, PD UCN-Chile, PhD HKU
Assistant Professor
School of Science and Technology


Dr. Juan Carlos Astudillo earned his PhD at the University of Hong Kong in 2015.  He is a marine ecologist with strong interest and experience in marine biodiversity assessment, invasion biology and ecological engineering for habitat rehabilitation. 

Dr. Astudillo was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Swire Institute of Marine Science – School of Biological Science at the University of Hong Kong and a Research Associate at the State Key Laboratory of Marine Sciences – City University of Hong Kong.

The current research focus of Dr. Astudillo is to understand and apply ecological and engineering concepts for enhancing the biodiversity and ecosystem functioning/services (e.g., biofiltration, carbon storage, nursery ground, etc.) of degraded coastal ecosystems. The goal of his research is to develop ecologically engineered technologies/methods for ecological restoration that will support sustainable coastal development.  In regard to the ecological concept, his research elucidates the environmental and biological factors that affect biodiversity such as surface temperature, desiccation, surface pH, habitat complexity, seasonality, competition, predation, etc. As for the engineering concept, his research includes the development of novel ecologically friendly materials (e.g., an eco-concrete using local waste materials that is pending patent), novel designs that incorporate complex microhabitats and surfaces that benefit species recruitment and survival, the implementation of ecologically engineered shorelines and testing their performance in terms of biodiversity enhancement. These are fundamental aspects for developing successful and cost-effective ecologically engineered solutions to achieve sustainable development in Hong Kong, the South China Sea and elsewhere.     

As a researcher, Dr. Astudillo has a good track record in the study of biodiversity and ecological engineering, with several publications on the ecology of benthic communities and invasive species. Currently, he is the Principal Investigator of one research fund and one citizen science fund, and the Co-Investigator of seven research funds. These projects are in the field of ecological engineering and biodiversity assessment.

Dr. Astudillo has been appointed as Thematic Editor of Hong Kong Register of Marine Species (HKRMS) under the World Register of Marine Species. He is also a founding member of the recently established “Hong Kong Marine Ecological Association” that was born with the main goal of promoting ecosystem restoration and environmental education in Hong Kong. Dr. Astudillo is a member of the editorial board of a new International Journal titled “Maritime Technology and Research”, which was launched in 2019 by Kasetsart University, Thailand. This journal covers a broad range of maritime technology, including engineering, maritime policy, environment and logistics. He has also been a reviewer for eight international scientific journals such as Marine Pollution Bulletin, Regional Studies in Marine Science, Aquatic Invasion, Molluscan Research, Helgoland Marine Research, Marine Ecology Progress Series, Maritime Technology and Research, and Revista de Biología Marina y Oceanografía.

Academic & Professional Experience

Ecological Engineering and Environmental Restoration Projects

2022-2023.    Shore up with shells: Enhancing marine biodiversity on artificial rip-rap seawalls with a nature-based approach Marine Ecology Enhancement Fund (MEEF) HK$ 499,800, as Principal Investigator (PI), Hong Kong Marine Ecological Association.

2022-2023.   Shells to Hotels: Building micro-habitats with oyster shells for the rehabilitation of marine biodiversity. Sea the Future Funding, Interflow Foundation, HK$ 411,400, as PI, Hong Kong Marine Ecological Association.

2022-2024.    Pilot site trials of sustainable measures at seawalls within Victoria Harbour – Revitalized typhoon shelter precinct at Victoria Park Road Waterfront. Planning and Lands Branch, Development Bureau (DEVB), HK$ 1,199,405, as Co-I, City University of Hong Kong.

2021-2023 Ecological restoration with oyster shell reefs at Sham Wan Restricted Area, Hong Kong Offshore LNG Terminal Project – Marine Conservation Enhancement Fund: MCEF20113, HK$ 1,198,200, as PI, City University of Hong Kong.

2021-2023 Enhancement of marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning along Lantau eco-shoreline with low-pH sea-sand seawater eco-engineered seawall panels, Lantau Conservation Fund (LCF): RE-2020-08, HK$ 2,269,000, as Co-Investigator (Co-I), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

2021-2023 Enhancing marine biodiversity on the artificial seawall of the Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF) with innovative and environmentally friendly eco-engineered fixtures, Environmental and Conservation Fund (ECF) project: 19/2020, HK$ 1,200,000, as Co-I, City University of Hong Kong.

2021-2022 Ecological Monitoring for the Eco-enhancement of Seawall - Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), Mott MacDonald Hong Kong Limited, HK$ 385,080, as Co-I, City University of Hong Kong.

2021-2022 Provision of Services for Post-Construction Marine Ecological Survey at Lung Mei Beach, Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD), HK$ 1,300,000, as Co-I, City University of Hong Kong.

2019-2022.    Pilot site trials of sustainable measures at seawalls within Victoria Harbour - Tsuen Wan Promenade. Planning and Lands Branch, Development Bureau (DEVB), HK$ 1,084,417, as Co-I, The University of Hong Kong.

2018-2020 Second Pilot Trial of Eco-shoreline at the Taishan Receptor Site, Civil Engineering and Development Department, HK$1,400,000, as Co-I, The University of Hong Kong.

2018-2020 Site Trials of Eco-shoreline on Seawalls at Sai Kung, Lung Kwu Tan and Ma Liu Shui, 2018-2022, Civil Engineering and Development Department, HK$2,702,500, as Project Manager (PM), The University of Hong Kong.

2018-2020 Conceptual scheme for full-scale implementation of eco-shoreline at Taishan Receptor Site, 2017-2018, Civil Engineering and Development Department, HK$ 150,000, as PM, The University of Hong Kong.

2018-2020 Pilot trial of eco-shoreline at the Taishan Receptor Site, 2016-2018, Civil Engineering and Development Department, HK$ 980,000, as PM, The University of Hong Kong.


Ecology and Biodiversity Projects

2017-2018 Assessing the marine biodiversity and ecology of Tolo Harbour and Channel, with particular reference to coastal marine environments of Ting Kok and Shuen Wan Hoi – Phase II, ECF Project: 2016-79, HK$ 4,233,490, as PM, The University of Hong Kong.

2015-2017Assessing the marine biodiversity and ecology of Tolo Harbour and Channel, with particular reference to coastal marine environments of Ting Kok and Shuen Wan Hoi – Phase I, ECF Project: 2014-64, HK$ 4,233,490, as Senior Research Assistant (SRA), The University of Hong Kong.

2011-2012 Assessment survey of non-native marine species in Hong Kong, ECF Project: 2010-28, HK$ 500,000, as PM, The University of Hong Kong.

2011-2011 Global Approach by Modular Experiments (GAME) project IX - Which impact does ecological resource predictability have on distribution patterns of marine species? as Collaborator, GEOMAR Institute, Kiel, Germany.

2009-2010 Functional importance of sea urchins and coral-feeding invertebrates on bioerosion of corals. Research Assistant (RA), The University of Hong Kong.


Selected Publications

Journal Articles

  • Bradford TE, Astudillo JC, Lau ETC, Perkins MJ, Lo CC, Li CH, Chung SL, Ng TPT, Strain EMA, Steinberg PD, Leung K.M.Y (2020). Provision of refugia and seeding with native bivalves can enhance biodiversity on vertical seawalls. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 160:111578
  • Astudillo JC, Bonebrake TC, Leung KMY (2018). Deterred but not preferred: Predation by native whelk Reishia clavigera on invasive bivalves. PLOS ONE 13(5): e0196578.
  • Astudillo JC, Bonebrake TC, Leung KMY (2017). The recently introduced bivalve Xenostrobus securis has higher thermal and salinity tolerance than the native Brachidontes variabilis and established Mytilopsis sallei. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 118: 229-236
  • Astudillo JC, Leung KMY, Bonebrake TC (2016). Seasonal heterogeneity provides a niche opportunity for ascidian invasion in subtropical marine communities. Marine Environmental Research, 112: 1-10
  • Lai RWS, Perkins MJ, Ho KKY, Astudillo JC, Yung MMN, Yung, Russell BD, Williams GA, Leung KMY (2016). Hong Kong's marine environments: History, challenges and opportunities. Regional Studies in Marine Science, 8(2): 259-273
  • Astudillo JC, Wong JCY, Dumont CP, Bonebrake TC, Leung KMY (2014). Status of six non-native marine species in the coastal environment of Hong Kong, 30 years after their first record. Bio-Invasions Records, 3(3): 127-137
  • Dumont CP, Lau DCC, Astudillo JC, Fong KF, Chak STC, Qiu J-W (2013). Coral bioerosion by the sea urchin Diadema setosum in Hong Kong: Susceptibility of different coral species. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 441(0): 71-79.

Selected Professional & Community Services

  • 2020-2022. Founder Member, Hong Kong Marine Ecological Association, Hong Kong.
  • 2018-2022. Thematic Editor, The Hong Kong Register of Marine Species (HKRMS).
  • 2018-2022. Editorial Board Member, Maritime Technology and Research (MTR).
  • 2022-Pres. Founder Member, afterNATURE (eco-engineering startup).

Further Information

Link to personal homepage

Link to Google Scholar page

Modified Date: 03 Nov, 2023
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Jonathan Chiu
Marketing Director
3DP Technology Limited

Jonathan handles all external affairs include business development, patents write up and public relations. He is frequently interviewed by media and is considered a pioneer in 3D printing products.

Krutz Cheuk
Biomedical Engineer
Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital

After graduating from OUHK, Krutz obtained an M.Sc. in Engineering Management from CityU. He is now completing his second master degree, M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering, at CUHK. Krutz has a wide range of working experience. He has been with Siemens, VTech, and PCCW.

Hugo Leung
Software and Hardware Engineer
Innovation Team Company Limited

Hugo Leung Wai-yin, who graduated from his four-year programme in 2015, won the Best Paper Award for his ‘intelligent pill-dispenser’ design at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering’s International Conference on Consumer Electronics – China 2015.

The pill-dispenser alerts patients via sound and LED flashes to pre-set dosage and time intervals. Unlike units currently on the market, Hugo’s design connects to any mobile phone globally. In explaining how it works, he said: ‘There are three layers in the portable pillbox. The lowest level is a controller with various devices which can be connected to mobile phones in remote locations. Patients are alerted by a sound alarm and flashes. Should they fail to follow their prescribed regime, data can be sent via SMS to relatives and friends for follow up.’ The pill-dispenser has four medicine slots, plus a back-up with a LED alert, topped by a 500ml water bottle. It took Hugo three months of research and coding to complete his design, but he feels it was worth all his time and effort.

Hugo’s public examination results were disappointing and he was at a loss about his future before enrolling at the OUHK, which he now realizes was a major turning point in his life. He is grateful for the OUHK’s learning environment, its industry links and the positive guidance and encouragement from his teachers. The University is now exploring the commercial potential of his design with a pharmaceutical company. He hopes that this will benefit the elderly and chronically ill, as well as the society at large.

Soon after completing his studies, Hugo joined an automation technology company as an assistant engineer. He is responsible for the design and development of automation devices. The target is to minimize human labor and increase the quality of products. He is developing products which are used in various sections, including healthcare, manufacturing and consumer electronics.

Course Code Title Credits
  COMP S321F Advanced Database and Data Warehousing 5
  COMP S333F Advanced Programming and AI Algorithms 5
  COMP S351F Software Project Management 5
  COMP S362F Concurrent and Network Programming 5
  COMP S363F Distributed Systems and Parallel Computing 5
  COMP S382F Data Mining and Analytics 5
  COMP S390F Creative Programming for Games 5
  COMP S492F Machine Learning 5
  ELEC S305F Computer Networking 5
  ELEC S348F IOT Security 5
  ELEC S371F Digital Forensics 5
  ELEC S431F Blockchain Technologies 5
  ELEC S425F Computer and Network Security 5
 Course CodeTitleCredits
 ELEC S201FBasic Electronics5
 IT S290FHuman Computer Interaction & User Experience Design5
 STAT S251FStatistical Data Analysis5
 Course CodeTitleCredits
 COMPS333FAdvanced Programming and AI Algorithms5
 COMPS362FConcurrent and Network Programming5
 COMPS363FDistributed Systems and Parallel Computing5
 COMPS380FWeb Applications: Design and Development5
 COMPS381FServer-side Technologies and Cloud Computing5
 COMPS382FData Mining and Analytics5
 COMPS390FCreative Programming for Games5
 COMPS413FApplication Design and Development for Mobile Devices5
 COMPS492FMachine Learning5
 ELECS305FComputer Networking5
 ELECS363FAdvanced Computer Design5
 ELECS425FComputer and Network Security5