Dr. Henry Choong

Curator of Invertebrate Zoology

Henry Choong joined the Royal BC Museum as curator of Invertebrate Zoology in 2016. His PhD is from the University of Toronto (1999). He has published on hydrozoan taxonomy, biogeography, dispersal mechanisms and invasive species. Hydrozoans are mostly marine animals related to jellyfish and corals. Their polyp forms are called hydroids. Henry’s work on BC's natural history include the discovery of several new species of hydroids off Vancouver Island as well as a new family of athecate hydroid, Similiclavidae, from southern British Columbia with colleagues from BC and the Royal Ontario Museum. He also prepared a checklist of west coast hydrozoa for the Biological Survey of Canada to support the development of a comprehensive and publicly-accessible census of species diversity in Canada.

Currently, Henry is focusing on the taxonomy of leptothecate hydroids [Leptothecata (=Leptomedusae, Thecata), Anthoathecata (=Anthomedusae, Athecata) and Siphonophorae are the three main groups of Hydroidolina (=Leptolinae), a clade of hydrozoans]. Representatives of Leptothecata are present in all marine environments worldwide and include more than half of all known extant (>3,800) hydrozoan species. One objective of Henry’s research is to address unresolved taxonomic problems of the hydroid fauna of coastal British Columbia. Other projects include being part of a collaborative group of scientists from Canada and the U.S. studying the transoceanic dispersal of biota on the marine debris field from the catastrophic Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami of 2011. Anthropogenic, non-biodegradable floating materials in the open sea can provide substrates capable of lasting far longer in the ocean than most natural substrates. These materials create rafting opportunities for hydroids, and other benthic fauna, including potentially invasive species, to BC’s coast.

Education

PhD, University of Toronto (1999)

Areas of Interest

Areas of Expertise: Hydrozoan (Cnidarian) fauna of the North East Pacific Region (with a focus on coastal British Columbia), and the Sea of Japan, Hydrozoan species dispersal, Natural History collections in museums and their importance in biodiversity discovery

Specialties: Taxonomy, systematics, Natural History collections

Contact Dr. Henry Choong

Email: hchoong@royalbcmuseum.bc.ca