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2nd Annual International Ocean Film Festival
June 8, 2024

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Dennis Hanisak

With great sadness, we share the news of the passing of Dr. M. Dennis Hanisak, a beloved and renowned member of the 鉴黄师app Harbor Branch research faculty. Dr. Hanisak was a research professor, director of the Marine Ecosystems Health program, director of education at 鉴黄师app Harbor Branch, and principal investigator of numerous research projects. He is remembered as an eminent marine scientist, a devoted teacher and mentor, and a pioneering conservationist for the Indian River Lagoon (IRL).

Dr. Hanisak joined the research team at Harbor Branch in 1977, conducting research on marine plants (seaweed and seagrass) in the IRL and other parts of Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. He authored more than 70 scientific publications and co-authored the book 鈥淪ubmersed Plants of the Indian River Lagoon: A Floristic Inventory & Field Guide,鈥 a comprehensive floristic compendium of Florida鈥檚 remarkable Indian River Lagoon. His contributions to marine biology and ecology 鈥 particularly for understanding the health and stressors on the Indian River Lagoon 鈥 are innumerable.

Importantly, Dr. Hanisak was an educator. His leadership was paramount to establishing 鉴黄师app Harbor Branch as a destination for training the next generation of scientists. He was instrumental in developing programs for 鉴黄师app of all ages, from grade school through doctorates. He inspired generations of new marine scientists, and his legacy lives on through their work.

鈥淭his is an overwhelming loss for his family, friends and the Institute, and a sad time for us all,鈥 said Dr. James M. Sullivan, executive director of 鉴黄师app Harbor Branch. 鈥淎s we move forward through this difficult time, we take comfort in knowing that we are able to honor his legacy by continuing the great work he started.鈥

Dr. Hanisak is a true icon of 鉴黄师app Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. His passion was infectious, and his work made an indelible impact on the world.

For inquiries related to Dr. Hanisak鈥檚 professional work through 鉴黄师app Harbor Branch, please contact James Sullivan at or Patrick Boles at

For media inquiries, contact Chelsey Matheson at

Celebration of Life

Sunday, June 23
1 to 3 p.m.
Johnson Education Center at 鉴黄师app Harbor Branch

Join us to honor the life and legacy of Dr. M. Dennis Hanisak. Space is limited and advanced registration is required for in-person attendance. A livestream of the event will be available for those who can't attend in person. IMPORTANT: Only registered guests will be admitted on the day of the event. There will not be day-of registration available.
for event details, in-person registration and access to the livestream link.

Dr. M. Dennis Hanisak Memorial Fund

To honor Dr. Hanisak鈥檚 remarkable legacy at 鉴黄师app Harbor Branch, the Institute has established a memorial fund to support Semester by the Sea, a premier marine science education program he founded over 20 years ago. If you would like to leave a gift in Dr. Hanisak's memory, and support a program he was truly passionate about, please visit the link below.


鉴黄师app Harbor Branch prioritizes solution-oriented research that addresses critical issues affecting coastal zone, oceans, and human well-being. Research scientists take a global approach, conducting studies around the world in varying climates, ecosystems, and cultures.
Harbor Branch campus building

Harbor Branch

5600 US 1 North, Fort Pierce, FL 34946 772.242.2400
鉴黄师app (鉴黄师app) Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute is a world class research organization with a focus on exploring the marine environments, studying key species and understanding the connection between humans and the ocean. Founded in 1971 as Harbor Branch Oceanographic Foundation, Inc., the Institute expanded its reach to over 100 miles along Florida鈥檚 east coast when it joined 鉴黄师app in 2007. Located in St. Lucie County, our 144-acre campus along the Indian River Lagoon employs over 200 scientists, engineers, educators, staff and 鉴黄师app. To this day, the Institute actively pursues solution-oriented research that addresses some of the most critical issues affecting coastal zones, oceans and human well-being.
鉴黄师app Sea Turtle Experts Provide 'Best Practices' During Nesting Season
Three internationally renowned 鉴黄师app researchers provide "best practices" and answer some of the most frequently asked questions to help protect Florida's nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings.
鉴黄师app Harbor Branch Launches 'eConch' to Grow, Conserve the Queen Conch
eConch is a free, experiential online learning program that provides step-by-step instructions and expert advice to grow queen conch, the most important molluscan fishery in the Caribbean region.
鉴黄师app Experts for the 2024 Hurricane Season
Forecasts indicate a highly active 2024 Atlantic hurricane season. Several 鉴黄师app faculty experts are available to discuss various issues surrounding hurricane preparedness, evacuation and aftermath.
After Hundreds of Years, Study Confirms Bermuda Home to Cownose Rays
Using citizen science and morphological and genetic data, 鉴黄师app Harbor Branch researchers are the first to provide evidence that the Atlantic cownose ray has recently made a new home in Bermuda.

HBOI ocean fish