Shannon Barry, a Ph.D. student in Florida Tech’s Shark Conservation Lab, has been recognized with a $5,000 Guy Harvey Scholarship. She is one of eight college students in Florida to receive the prestigious award for 2022-23.
With a focused mission to better understand and conserve the ocean environment, the Guy Harvey Foundation collaborates with local, national and international organizations to conduct scientific research and provides funding to affiliated researchers who share this objective. As part of that mission, the non-profit organization annually recognizes undergraduate and graduate students at Florida colleges and universities whose research focuses on the biology, ecology, habitat or management of sustainable marine fisheries in Florida’s marine environment with a Guy Harvey Scholarship Award.
Barry is a biological sciences Ph.D. candidate at Toby Daly-Engel’s lab whose research focuses on the genetic diversity of bull sharks migrating poleward in response to climate change. Barry and research collaborators have collected and extracted DNA samples from more than 1,000 bull sharks throughout the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and northwestern Atlantic Ocean.
“The Guy Harvey Foundation provides an extraordinary opportunity for students engaged in conservation research, and I’m honored to have been chosen as a recipient of this scholarship to aid in my dissertation work,” Barry said. “The funds from this scholarship will go towards next-generation sequencing of bull shark DNA to identify signatures of local adaptation within vital nursery habitats. These genetic data can then be used to predictively model how climate change may impact future habitat use of bull sharks.”
In addition to the scholarship, each student receives a certificate designed and signed by world-renowned marine wildlife artist, conservationist and Foundation founder and Chair Emeritus Guy Harvey, Ph.D.
“It is vitally important that we fund research and also support the efforts of the next generation of marine researchers, scientists and conservationists,” Harvey said. “With these scholarships, we can continue to inspire and attract more bright young minds as they pursue research opportunities that will ensure a properly balanced ocean ecosystem for years to come.”
Another student in Daly-Engel’s lab, Eloise Cave, won a Guy Harvey Scholarship in the 2021-22 awards cycle. Her research focused on applying sharks’ adaptive immune system genes to discover the potential for local adaptation to environmental conditions.