Thursday, June 30, 2011

NSU’s Guy Harvey Research Institute Receives $100,000 from Guy Harvey

FT. LAUDERDALE-DAVIE Fla. — Guy Harvey, the renowned artist, scientist, and conservationist, recently donated $100,000 to Nova Southeastern University’s Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) to conduct research on fisheries.

The funding will be used to support the ongoing research projects at the GHRI, which is run by NSU Oceanographic Center Professor Mahmood Shivji, Ph.D. The GHRI conducts high quality, solution-oriented basic and applied scientific research needed for effective conservation, biodiversity maintenance, restoration, and understanding of the world's wild fishes.

“This signification donation from Guy Harvey will help advance the important work we do at GHRI to make new discoveries,” Shivji said.

The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF), created by Guy Harvey, funds inspired scientific research and innovative educational programs to encourage conservation and best management practices for sustainable marine environments. The Guy Harvey Research Institute has received generous support from GHOF over the years.

Growing up in Jamaica, Guy Harvey spent many hours fishing and diving with his father along the Island's south coast. He was obsessed with the creatures of the sea and began drawing pictures of the many different fish he observed. Harvey’s artwork can be found in art exhibits, stores, galleries, restaurants and at fishing tournaments. He makes appearances at store openings as well as public appearances for a variety of environmental causes.

Harvey is a unique blend of artist, scientist, diver, angler, conservationist and explorer, fiercely devoted to his family and his love of the sea.

Established in 1999, the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) is a collaboration between Harvey, and the Oceanographic Center. The mission of the GHRI is to provide the scientific information necessary to understand, conserve and effectively manage the world's marine fishes and their ecosystems.

The GHRI is one of only a handful of private organizations dedicated exclusively to the science-based conservation of marine fish populations and biodiversity. The research, education and outreach activities of the GHRI are supported by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, AFTCO Inc., extramural research grants, philanthropic donations by private businesses and individuals, and Nova Southeastern University.

The GHRI is conducting a wide variety of research on the ecology, genetics, behavior, physiology, and evolution of fishes with the aim of providing information critically needed for effective conservation efforts worldwide. GHRI research is being conducted both in the laboratory and in field locations around the globe in association with U.S. and international scientists.

As director of the GHRI, Shivji led an international research team in 2007 who showed for the first time that female sharks can reproduce without mating with a male. This is done through a type of asexual reproduction called parthenogenesis. GHRI is dedicated to conducting the research required for conservation and proper management of the world’s wild fishes.

“This discovery completely rewrites the textbook on how sharks can reproduce,” Shivji said.

Shivji has also co-led a research team that discovered a new species of billfish that looks like white marlin. This finding means that many white marlin have been misidentified for decades, casting doubt on previous scientific information about the overfished species. The discovery could have a major impact on commercial fishing, which has reduced white marlin populations.

Using DNA methods, Shivji and his students also traced hammerhead shark fins from the Hong Kong markets, where the fins are prized delicacies used in soup, to their geographic origins in the western Atlantic Ocean, where the sharks are endangered. This discovery will better help conserve and manage the species.

In addition, Shivji, who also directs the OC’s Save Our Seas Shark Center, which is dedicated to shark research and conservation, has invented a DNA test that can determine which species of shark a fin came from in a matter of hours. Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice used his test to successfully prosecute a Florida man who participated in dealing illegal shark fins.

Shivji’s efforts have impressed America’s most famous museum: The Smithsonian Institution. The institution is now displaying his work at The Sant Ocean Hall inside the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.

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