It isn’t the first time that Dr. Michael Harvey has had his name associated with a newly discovered species. He received the honor a few times before, as he’s been doing research work for almost 20 years in South America and Asia.

“Having a specie name after you is usually done to recognize and honor your work in the field,” explains Dr. Harvey, a professor of Biology at the Broward College A. Hugh Adams Central Campus in Davie. “For this latest species, the puppet toad S. harveyi, the authors of the publication where the toad is described, decided to give it my name because I was one of the authors on the paper where we first introduced the species.”

Dr. Harvey was essential to the research taking place as he received the grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation to fund the expedition. Over four years, Harvey and a team of ten American and Indonesian scientists and students, including a Broward College student, spent two months at a time exploring the mountaintops and volcanos in the Sumatran jungle searching for new species.

Nature Lover from a Young Age

Dr. Michael HarveyAs a Texas native who grew up in the country and spent most of his childhood hunting, it’s only logical that Dr. Harvey would be interested in nature and animals. “I was the type of boy who would go around catching reptiles and amphibians,” he admits. “I could have ten different species of snake in my house at any given time!”

As he got older, he knew that pursuing a career in science was the right path for him. He received a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences with a specialization in Systematics from the University of Texas in Arlington (UTA). Afterward, he received his Doctorate in Quantitative Biology from UTA, as well.

The Life of a Researcher

The selling point for Dr. Harvey to become a researcher, besides his love for nature and scientific curiosity, was the opportunity to travel the world. “Being able to travel and explore this beautiful planet while doing something that I’m so passionate about is a blessing,” he says.

During the first decade or so of his professional journey, he was focused on exploring South America, mostly Bolivia. It wasn’t until a few years ago that he decided to focus his research in Indonesia. “I always had a curiosity to go Indonesia because it has a reputation of being poorly explored, and I know that there is so much to discover, and I guess I just wanted to be a part of that,” he says. The island of Sumatra, where their expedition took place, is estimated to be home to over a hundred new species of reptiles and amphibians.

Elevating Broward College Students

As a professor, the experience Dr. Harvey gains while out in the field is priceless. He can elevate the classroom experience thanks to everything he learns while he’s doing research work. Most of the time he uses his work as, data example in his lectures.

“I know how important it is for students to start gaining experience in their field of interest as early as possible. I have been able to include students in research papers, scientific meetings, and even have taken them on these trips” he says. “And by doing so, we are placing our students ahead of other undergrads because it’s very rare to see students having their name on a scientific publication.”

Having such milestones in their resume is often key to being granted tenure, receive funding, or grants for research and other benefits.

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