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Ocean Research

Drew Harvell

Dr. Drew Harvell is professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell and a Fellow with both Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and the Ecological Society of America. As a teacher, Dr. Harvell leads Cornell’s Marine Ecosystem Sustainability and Invertebrate Biology courses and each spring guides students in an amazing experience of discovery in conservation oceanography in Hawaii and an intensive program of skill development in marine research in the coastal Pacific Northwest.

In the lab and in the field, the focus of Drew's research is on invertebrate biodiversity, host-pathogen interactions and the sustainability of marine ecosystems. This work takes her from the reefs of Mexico, Indonesia and Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Harvell’s research has been published widely in over 180 academic periodicals, including the journals Nature, Ecology and Science.

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A Sea of Glass

Dr. Harvell is passionate about getting her science out to the wider public, writing award-winning books and contributing actively to the New York Times, CNN and The Hill and other venues for popular science communication, most recently with an acclaimed New York Times spotlight on what humans can learn from the marine environment about fighting infectious diseases. With this engagement she has become one of the country’s leading voices about the complex, diverse ways that the earth's marine ecosystems are being restructured in the warming climate of the 21st century.

Drew also embodies a deep appreciation for bringing the perspective of the arts to bear on the study of nature. As the curator of Cornell’s collection of glass sea life sculptures created by the renowned 19th century Bohemian glass artists Rudolph and Leopold Blaschka, she has worked hard to restore the collection from years of neglect—and to share the inspiration that this exquisite artistry can give to humankind about our world’s oceans. A film she co-produced with videographer David O. Brown, “Fragile Legacy,” was named Best Short Film of the Ocean Film Festival's Conservation Summit in 2015.

Ocean Outbreak

Prof. Harvell’s recent books, A Sea of Glass, and Ocean Outbreak, have received wide acclaim both for wonderful writing and for effectively raising public awareness and understanding of the beauty and fragility of our ocean environments. A Sea of Glass was named winner of the National Outdoor Book Award in 2016 and received Honorable Mention for the Rachel Carson Book Award in 2017. This year, 2020, Ocean Outbreak received the Association of American Publishers’ PROSE Award in Biological Science and the Ecological Society of America’s Sustainability Science Award. Video recordings of book talks that Prof. Harvell presented at Mann Library about both titles are available for anyone wanting to learn more about them.