May 2019
Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Executive Director, Jim Sullivan, Ph.D., and four additional expert researchers and leading scientists to the newly established Blue-Green Algae Task Force. The focus of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force is to support key funding and restoration initiatives and make recommendations to expedite nutrient reductions in Lake Okeechobee and the downstream estuaries. 
From left, Tara Pitts, biological scientist, Esther Guzmán, Ph.D., associate research professor, principal investigator of the study, and Dedra Harmody, research technician.
Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute have received $801,000 from the Florida Department of Health’s Bankhead Coley Cancer Research Program for a project to investigate the use of marine natural compounds as potential treatments of triple negative breast cancers.  Esther Guzmán, Ph.D., principal investigator of the study and an associate research professor of cancer cell biology at FAU Harbor Branch explained, “These compounds could potentially be developed as novel therapeutics to treat this form of cancer or to serve as probes to expand our understanding of this disease.”
The pictured NEEMO 22 diver is collecting a scientific sample for coral research using proxy tools, techniques, technologies, and training envisioned for future NASA planetary science exploration missions. Image Credit: NASA
Shirley Pomponi, Ph.D., research professor at Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute will be joining NASA's international crew on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean this summer to prepare for future deep space missions during the 10-day NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 23 expedition slated to begin June 12. As an analog for future planetary science concepts and strategies, marine science will be performed under the guidance of FAU Harbor Branch. During the NEEMO 23 expedition, Pomponi will be conducting experiments to test various tools developed for small volume tissue sampling, measuring of sponge metabolism and sponge reproduction. 
FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Research Professor John Reed and Stephanie Farrington, members of the Cooperative Institute of Ocean Exploration, Research and Technology (CIOERT) will be embarking on a two-week cruise in June on the NOAA Ship Pisces to study the shelf-edge marine protected areas (MPAs) off the southeastern The cruise in collaboration with NOAA Fisheries will use a remotely operated vehicle and multibeam echosounder to conduct surveys inside and outside six marine protected areas as well as inside the Oculina Experimental Closed Area (OECA) in the south Atlantic to assess the efficacy of this management tool to protect species of grouper, tilefish and Oculina coral.
FAU Harbor Branch research professors, Jim Masterson, Ph.D., Shirley Pomponi, Ph.D. and John Reed, Ph.D. will be assisting NOAA to conduct research via live stream during a two-part, telepresence-enabled ocean exploration expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. The crew will be collecting critical baseline information about unknown and poorly understood deepwater areas of the Southeastern United States from June 20 through July 12. A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) will send high-definition live video to host institutions, including Harbor Branch’s Command Center. 
FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute graduate student Ryan Eckert, Michael Studivan,Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow and Joshua Voss, Ph.D., an assistant research professor recently published a paper in Scientific Reports investigating genetic connectivity of Montastraea cavernosa populations across a depth gradient on the Belize Barrier Reef. The results suggest there may be variability in oceanographic currents and environmental variables across depth zones driving the observed genetic differentiation. His research is a product of a collaborative effort led by the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research and Technology (CIOERT) headquartered at FAU Harbor Branch. 
Education Spotlight
Vero Beach Magazine recently featured FAU Harbor Branch's Junior Scientists Fellow Program, a partnership between Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and Indian River Land Trust, young minds are helping shape the future of conservation. Dennis Hanisak, research professor, leads the program. 
John William Brandon, IV graduated from the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University in May with a B.S. in Marine Biology. Since the sixth grade, John has blazed an academic path that no one has done before. In 2008, he enrolled in the first class of Marine and Oceanographic Academy (MOA) Prep at Forrest Grove Middle School, a new program aimed at identifying and preparing students with an interested in marine science for MOA, a specialized high school that was also in its infancy, based at FAU Harbor Branch. Brandon went on to graduate from MOA, and continued his college education at FAU, participating in the 2018 Semester By The Sea (SBTS) Program at FAU Harbor Branch. His success is a model for other students who are interested in an educational path that allows them to explore and study the natural environment of the Treasure Coast. 
Mission: Ocean Discovery
The Ocean Discovery Visitors Center will be hosting an FAU Harbor Branch World Oceans Day Celebration: Keep the Sea Plastic-Free on Saturday, June 8th from 10 A.M.-4 P.M. Learn more about plastic pollution, ways that it can impact marine animals and how you can make a difference during this free family-friendly event.
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University received TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence for the second year in a row. The recognition is based on the consistently great reviews Harbor Branch has earned on the world’s largest travel site. Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute now ranks #10 out of 72 for things to do in Fort Pierce. HBOI is a destination where the community can come to learn about the research conducted by the marine scientists, engineers and students at FAU Harbor Branch.
Job & Training Opportunities
Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution is seeking the following Postdoctoral Fellows:
  • Bioluminescence Sensor Development
  • Bioluminescence Response
  • Lidar Development
  • Compressive Sensing
  • Molecular Ecology
  • Hyperspectral Imaging
  • Passive Remote Sensing
  • Unmanned Robotic Platforms
Apply now to join FAU on its race to excellence. 
Application Deadline: July 31, 2019
Founded in 1971, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University is a research community of marine scientists, engineers, educators and other professionals focused on Ocean Science for a Better World. The institute drives innovation in ocean engineering, at-sea operations, drug discovery and biotechnology from the oceans, coastal ecology and conservation, marine mammal research and conservation, aquaculture, ocean observing systems and marine education.