Guy Harvey Scholarship Program

The Guy Harvey Foundation offers scholarships to university students in Florida studying marine science and working to become future ocean conservation leaders.

Established in 2010, the partnership between Florida Sea Grant and the Guy Harvey Foundation has provided scholarships totaling $439,000 to support the research of 90 students at 12 different Florida universities. This fellowship not only bolsters academic research but also strengthens the connection between Florida Sea Grant and the next generation of marine scientists.

“This next generation of bright minds is bringing us one step closer to understanding what it will take to protect Florida’s fragile marine environment and ensure its sustainability,” said Dr. Harvey. “Through our ongoing support of marine research and by drawing attention to the important work of these students, the GHF is helping to safeguard a healthy ocean ecosystem for generations to come.”

In 2024, eight students were selected from seven Florida universities. Their research focuses on the biology, ecology, habitat or management of sustainable marine fisheries in Florida’s marine environment. Each student received a $5,000 Guy Harvey Scholarship Award.

2024 Guy Harvey Fellowship recipients

John Francis Hlavin

University of Miami

John Francis Hlavin is a Ph.D. student from Vienna, Virginia, studying environmental science and policy at the University of Miami. His research focuses on the importance of various ecological dynamics to the management of nursery areas for coastal predatory fish. He is particularly interested in using minimally invasive techniques to study the ecology of juvenile great hammerhead sharks within Biscayne Bay - an identified great hammerhead nursery - to better understand how patterns of resource and habitat-use can inform the conservation of this critically endangered species at a highly vulnerable life-stage.Additionally, Hlavin has projects looking at the trophic ecology of the understudied Atlantic guitarfish and the potential impact of invasive lionfish on nursery habitat use in Great Barracuda. By studying these high-priority species and their interactions, his work helps scientists to better manage local ecosystems for the conservation of South Florida’s predatory fish.

Eric Bovee

University of Florida

Eric Bovee is a graduate student from Queens, New York, pursuing a master’s degree in fisheries and aquatic sciences at the University of Florida. His research focuses on tagging and tracking the Gray Snapper (Mangrove Snapper), a species found in spawning aggregations located 80 to 100 miles offshore in the Florida Middle Grounds. Engaging in extensive fieldwork, he tags the fish during their offshore presence and subsequently collaborates with fishers to recover valuable information about the fish, including their recovery locations. Bovee’s research is all about using dispersal modeling to predict where Gray Snapper eggs and larvae go after they're spawned in the ocean.This is important because too much fishing in these spawning areas can be harmful. By figuring out where the larvae end up, Bovee can help scientists understand the connectivity between the offshore spawning areas and the coastal areas where they live and grow up.

Sarah F. Webb

Florida Atlantic University

Sarah F. Webb is a Ph.D. candidate from Milltown, New Jersey, studying integrative biology at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Her research focuses on evaluating estuary conditions, such as salinity, and its impacts on fish movements and behaviors. She examines the potential resurgence of nursery habitat in the St. Lucie Estuary for the endangered smalltooth sawfish, a species historically found in the area. Webb’s dissertation utilizes extensive fish and water quality monitoring to provide essential insights into the effects of these stressors, such as excessive freshwater inflow, on various fish species, including various estuarine-dependent sportfish, juvenile goliath grouper and juvenile smalltooth sawfish.Webb’s work is crucial for resource managers seeking to better understand the dynamics of this unique ecosystem, which is part of the northern Everglades component of the RECOVER program. Understanding how these animals respond spatially to these inputs is vital for species conservation and predicting the impacts of water management decisions on marine populations.

Zeke Tuszynski

Florida Atlantic University

Zeke Tuszynski is a graduate student from Wenatchee, Washington, pursuing a master’s degree in biological sciences at Florida Atlantic University. His research focuses on studying the migration patterns of Blacktip sharks along the east coast of the U.S. Taking advantage of the large gatherings of Blacktip sharks in Southeast Florida during winter, the research aims to investigate the extent of their northward migration along the U.S. eastern seaboard using satellite transmitters and the environmental factors influencing their movement.Given the Near Threatened Species status of Blacktip sharks, understanding their habitat use and migratory patterns becomes crucial for management and conservation efforts.

William Sample

Florida International University

William Sample is a Ph.D. candidate from Jacksonville, Florida, studying biology at Florida International University in Miami. His research focuses on how environmental factors influence juvenile bull shark habitat use and foraging ecology in the coastal Everglades. Sample’s study aims to focus on the energy landscapes sharks encounter, how they change over time and space and how sharks adapt to them.Given the challenges sharks are likely to face from climate change and sea level rise, Sample’s work will be important for the conservation of juvenile sharks and their habitats and in informing restoration and management efforts. By using historical data from more than 150 tagged bull sharks and new methods such as high-resolution accelerometry, he aims to provide insights applicable beyond his study area.

Susannah Cogburn

Florida Gulf Coast University

Susannah Cogburn is a master’s student from Winter Garden, Florida, studying environmental science at Florida Gulf Coast University. Her research focuses on the bioaccumulation of contaminants, such as heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in bull sharks, Carcharhinus leucas. Sharks are apex predators, so contaminant levels are likely high in their tissues, especially in species, such as C. leucas, which spend a portion of their life in estuaries with high contaminant loads.The results of this research will have direct fisheries impacts by helping to quantify pollutants and their persistence within our local fisheries stock. The bull sharks will also act as a proxy for other marine fishes to identify if the pollutants are present and the direct effect on their osmoregulation - the process of maintaining salt and water balance within the body.

Annais Muschett-Bonilla

Florida State University

Annais Muschett-Bonilla is a Ph.D. student from Houston, Texas, studying biological sciences, with a focus on ecology and evolution at Florida State University. Her research focuses on the maternal reproduction of elasmobranch fish, which includes sharks, rays, skates and sawfish. These fish have various ways of nourishing their embryos, and each method has different physiological and energetic demands of the mother. Annais’s research seeks to quantify the effects of reproductive energetic demands on the performance of pregnant elasmobranchs, particularly in mature female Hypanus sabinus - a type of stingray - and possible influences on maternal survival.Given their slow repopulation rates and diverse embryo nourishment strategies, understanding and prioritizing species with similar reproductive strategies are crucial for efficiently managing and conserving elasmobranch species and safeguarding their diversity.

Alexis Mitchem

University of South Florida

Alexis Mitchem is a Ph.D. student from Pensacola, Florida, studying marine science at the University of South Florida. Her research focuses on DNA barcoding to identify fish eggs and efforts to make molecular research tools more accessible and affordable. Accurate identification of the early life stages of fish is critical for conservation biology. However, eggs are challenging to identify due to a lack of distinguishing morphological features. Her research project involves using DNA barcoding - a tool used for species identification based on specific genes - to identify fish eggs down to the species level.Building on 10 years of fish spawning data during the summer season on the West Florida Shelf, Mitchem plans to expand sample collection to cover all seasons over several years to determine when other important fish species are spawning and will team up with a physical oceanographer to model egg movement by surface currents.

Natalia Jaworski

Florida Atlantic University

Natalia Jaworski, from Chicago, is a graduate student at FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute studying environmental science. Her work focuses on quantifying the impacts of prey density on predator consumption. In collaboration with Dr. Matthew Ajemian and Mote Marine Lab, Jaworski will study the individual functional responses of white-spotted eagle rays and other shell-crushing predators that are predating on hard clams.

Clark Morgan

Florida Atlantic University

Clark Morgan, from Orlando, is a Ph.D. candidate at FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute studying marine science and oceanography. His research focuses on generating knowledge that contributes to the sustainable management of the goliath grouper fishery by monitoring fine-scale behavior and investigating best catch and release practices optimal for barotrauma mitigation.

Shannon Barry

Florida Institute of Technology

Shannon Barry, from Woodridge, Illinois, is a biological sciences Ph.D. candidate at Florida Institute of Technology whose research focuses on the genetic diversity of bull sharks that are migrating poleward in response to climate change. Barry and fellow research collaborators expect to collect and extract DNA samples from more than 1,000 bull sharks throughout the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and northwestern Atlantic Ocean.

Nicholas Castillo

Florida International University

Nicholas Castillo is from Fort Myers, Florida and an environmental science, fish ecology and ecotoxicology Ph.D. candidate at Florida International University. His research focuses on studying the presence, exposure and potential risks of pharmaceutical contaminants in coastal marine ecosystems and bonefish fisheries in South Florida and the Caribbean Basin.

Jack Dales

Jacksonville University

Jack Dales, from Kalamazoo, Michigan, is pursuing a master’s degree in marine science at Jacksonville University and is investigating how abiotic and biotic factors of geographically distinct nursery habits affect juvenile lemon sharks. Dales is also studying nursery habitats along the southwest coast and Bahamas, using stable isotope analysis and acoustic telemetry.

Ashley Ohall

University of Florida

Ashley Ohall is from Tampa and is an undergraduate student at UF’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences majoring in biotechnology. Her research focus is studying the effects of varying nitrogen conditions on photosynthetic processes and cultural growth in the marine diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana. Ohall also works at the Durham Lab within the Department of Biology.

Adam Searles

University of Florida

Adam Searles from Palm Bay, Florida, is Ph.D. candidate of interdisciplinary ecology and works within the School of Natural Resources and Environment at UF. His research assesses the impacts of tropical marine herbivores on local fisheries and habitats by identifying and comparing the diets of herbivorous fishes via stomach content analysis.

Alex Siegel

University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Alex Siegel, from Moorhead, Minnesota, is a graduate student pursuing a masters in conservation biology at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg. His research focuses on evaluating the potential species and habitat benefits in the restoration site of the Robinson Preserve, a more than 600-acre coastal preserve located in northwestern Bradenton in Florida. Siegel will utilize environmental DNA (eDNA) to evaluate the spatial and temporal biodiversity of migratory animals, such as sharks and large bony fishes, monitoring where they go and how long they are utilizing the preserve as a nursery.

Steve Roden

Steve Roden is the CEO of Guy Harvey Enterprises as well as co-chair of GHOF. A knowledge entrepreneur, Roden has spent his career turning around small companies and building a series of start-ups that were either sold to public companies or merged with larger entities. Roden has also worked closely with Florida State University mentoring professors in launching ideas through creativity and innovation. He was named “Partner of the Year” by the FSU Research Foundation and has been recognized twice as a top entrepreneur in Florida by FSU’s Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Guy Harvey

Dr. Guy Harvey founded the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation with 10 board members in 2008. Its original purpose was to provide financial aid to scientific projects that were being delayed due to complicated funding channels.

Now named Guy Harvey Foundation it has grown to encompass educational initiatives and provide man power to carry out projects the foundation is involved with. Dr. Harvey has a PhD. in Fisheries Management from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica and uses his lifetime of experience and trained expertise to affect change needed to save our oceans.

Jessica Harvey

Jessica Harvey was born and raised in the Caribbean. Her love of the wildlife and the outdoors was inspired by her parents and led her into her career as an environmental conservationist. Now as the new Co-Chair of the Foundation, Jessica will work with her team to expand the STEAM driven marine educational resources provided by the foundation and it’s partners to move our global community towards a greener economy and healthier environment – one country at a time. Her role lies predominantly with education. Partnering with local NGOs, Government departments, corporations and private citizens, Jessica and her team plan creative ways to engage the community and bring awareness to the importance of a balanced and healthy marine ecosystem.

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