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Keys Professor Wins DAN/Rolex Award


KEY WEST, Florida Keys -- A marine science instructor and dive research program coordinator at Florida Keys Community College is to be recognized as a dive industry legend by Divers Alert Network.

Dr. Alex Brylske of Summerland Key is to receive the 2012 DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award for his contributions to dive safety and education. The honor is to be bestowed Saturday, March 24, during the Beneath the Sea dive show, in Secaucus, N.J.

“This award is the highest honor I have ever received,” Brylske said. “It's humbling, really.”

For 35 years Bryslke has been one of the dive industry's most influential voices as an author, expert in coral reef ecology and educator. Holding a Ph.D. in science education, Brylske also consults on sustainable tourism and tropical marine resource management, including coral restoration and marine aquaculture.

It was during a family vacation to the Florida Keys in August 1968 that he took his first scuba dive at Sombrero Reef off Marathon

Bryslke believes that through education he has been able to influence people's attitude toward the ocean. His resounding message is to embrace being environmental stewards, as divers are on the front lines of what's going on in the oceans.

Since joining Florida Keys Community College in 2009, Brylske has played an integral role in developing the marine science curriculum, including launching a coral reef restoration course and helping secure FKCC's induction into the American Academy of Underwater Science in 2011, as only the second community college in the country – and the only one in Florida — awarded membership.

The AAUS affiliation provides internship opportunities for FKCC students to collaborate on research projects with major universities, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and even the Smithsonian Institute.

Winners of the DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award receive a plaque and an engraved Rolex dive watch.

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