Originally published in print in Art Hive Magazine Issue #24
Artist, conservationist, angler, diver, scientist, entrepreneur and explorer; those are some of the many achievements that describe Dr. Guy Harvey’s impressive career.
Growing up in Jamaica, Harvey spent many hours fishing and diving with his father along the Island’s south coast. He was obsessed with marine life and began drawing pictures of the many different fish he observed.
ABOVE: Photo Credit: Instagram @drguyharvey
This childhood passion for the ocean and its living creatures not only inspired him to draw, but fueled a burning interest that prompted a formal education in marine science. He graduated with honors in marine biology from Aberdeen University in Scotland in 1977, and returned home to Jamaica to resume his education, earning his Ph.D. from the University of the West Indies in fisheries biology in 1984.
He became a professor of fisheries biology for a short time but eventually pursued his love of art full-time after selling all of his artwork at his first appearance at a Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show. Harvey’s brand was born shortly afterward. His depictions of sealife, particularly marlin and dorado, are now reproduced in prints, posters, T-shirts, jewelry, clothing, and other consumer items. He’s also become known for his techniques in photographing and filming aquatic life.
On Feb. 7, the Palm Beach State College Foundation welcomes him as the keynote speaker for the Foundation’s 2018 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) luncheon presented by Bank of America. The affair, chaired by South Florida businesswoman and philanthropist Yvonne Boice, takes place at 11:30 a.m. at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts’ Cohen Pavilion in West Palm Beach. Tickets are $150. A table of 10 is $1,500.
During the event, Harvey will discuss his travels to better understand the habits and habitats of the marine wildlife he paints, discoveries in deep sea research and his work in marine conservation efforts through the Guy Harvey Research Institute and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.
The Reef Hope Project
Harvey’s appearance comes at an ideal time, given the College’s launch last summer of The Reef Hope Project. Led by PBSC professor Dr. Jessica Miles, the initiative allows students to study and conduct hands-on work at both artificial and natural reefs in Palm Beach County.
“With local and global reef ecosystems facing many critical threats, this project is well timed, and critically positioned, to serve in aiding the reef’s conservation and future sustainability,” said PBSC President Ava L. Parker, J.D. “Not only are the reefs critical to sustaining marine life, their biodiversity is key to finding new medicines for the 21st-century. Many drugs are now being developed from coral reef animals and plants as possible cures for cancer, arthritis, human bacterial infections, viruses and other diseases.”
To maximize the project’s success, the PBSC environmental science department is working on interdisciplinary activities with the college’s art, engineering technology and biotechnology departments.
One student project will be to compare different artificial reef structures to determine what varieties of life each attracts.
Engineering technology students also plan to collaborate on a prototype low-voltage electricity unit for deployment. According to Miles, organisms like corals and oysters have their growth stimulated when they are in the presence of low-voltage electricity. These students also assembled two Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) deployed both at the Andrew “Red” Harris artificial reef. Another three ARMS were placed near the Jupiter Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area in shallow water.
The systems will be on the reefs for three years and then recollected and analyzed to determine the local species biodiversity living in and on them.
“Ultimately, we want the data that we collect to be a road map for other environmental scientists around the world for them to use so they can help restore coral populations in their areas,” Parker said.
Last summer, Miles went scuba diving for the first time at the Andrew “Red” Harris artificial reef site, which has become a hot spot for diving enthusiasts, with PBSC Professor Rick Householder. During the dive, they gathered information for the Geographic Information Systems class to create a map of the reef.
PBSC technology students created an initial map last summer. Over time, students in the GIS class will be able to add data to it to understand how the reef is growing and changing.The project also plans for science students to measure oceanographic variables in relation to the reef, along with plans to conduct biological and conservation studies. Art students will design an underwater sculpture to enhance the habitat and inspire visitors to come see the underwater treasures in our area, and math students will complete statistical analysis of research project data.
In the end, hundreds of PBSC students will benefit from the project through hands-on experience, and the College will have gathered valuable data as to how to sustain local reefs.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, currently one-quarter of coral reefs worldwide are already considered damaged beyond repair, with another two-thirds under serious threat.
“Coral reefs are unique because their health is directly impacted by water quality,” Harvey said. “As the oceans become more acidic, corals can no longer produce the calcium substrate that give the reefs their shape. Increased nutrients also promote algae growth, which hurts corals.”
Harvey also believes overfishing is another serious problem facing our oceans. “As the human populations continue to grow exponentially, more people will be looking to the oceans as a source of protein. If our marine fisheries were to collapse, that would have serious, worldwide implications.”
FOR MORE INFO ON TICKETS TO THE 2018 LUNCHEON FEATURING DR.GUY HARVEY : https://secure.qgiv.com/for/pbevents/event/786476/