Studying marine environmental ecology, multi-scale circulation and dynamics
Professor Cai Zhongya has joined UM in 2020 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). He is also one of the research members of State Key Laboratory of Internet of Things for Smart City (SKL-IoTSC) and the Centre for Regional Oceans. Prof Cai obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Ocean University of China, which is a university well-known for studying marine and aquatic subjects. Afterwards, he completed his Ph.D. degree in marine environmental sciences at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His research areas include seawater flow, marine environmental ecology, and multi-scale circulation and dynamics in the South China Sea. Among them, Prof Cai is better at numerical simulation, inputting data into the designed model, observing and analyzing the results. Since the mid-December of 2015, the sea area of Macao has been clearly defined as 85 square kilometers. The protection and sustainable use of marine resources is more urgent than ever. Prof Cai’s research can help Macao better use marine resources and provide reference for reasonable utilization of the ocean.
Experiences on the research journey
Prof Cai, who has been studying seawater circulation since his undergraduate degree, said that the journey of research is difficult, because marine research expedition and sampling are required for studying this subject. With the rolling waves and swaying boats, Prof Cai felt seasick and nauseous at first, but slowly he loves to explore the sea and go out for marine research. He also shared his unforgettable experiences during the expedition, he says, ‘once we were having an expedition in Hong Kong, the boat hit the reef and turned on its side, and it was almost 90 degrees to the surface of the sea. For a moment, all the research members were very frightened. Fortunately, there was a fishing ship nearby and they came to rescue us immediately. But the bottom of the boat fell into the water after being pierced, we also needed to assist to pump out the water.’ Although the expedition was very thrilling, it did not hinder Prof Cai’s enthusiasm of the ocean research. For the first time to teach at UM, online and offline teaching will be launched due to the COVID-19. Prof Cai said that although he must take care of students from both sides, he is willing to accept challenges. As for the current situation that Macau has less marine research, Professor Cai hopes that in the future, he will be able to provide more meaningful research and data for Macau as reference.