The UWI Mona mourns the passing of Mr. Peter Gayle

The UWI Mona Campus is deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Peter Gayle.  Mr. Gayle was the Principal Scientific Officer at The UWI’s Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory (DBML). He joined The UWI family in 1985 and remained with us until the time of his passing.

A hands-on leader in the field of marine science, not only was Mr. Gayle an academic, boasting authorship of scores of publications, he was also responsible for all aspects of the Lab’s operation, including scientific operations related to research, teaching and outreach. He was the Safety Manager for Hyperbaric Chamber Operations – the arm responsible for the treatment of SCUBA diving accidents as well as maintenance of buildings, machinery/equipment and sea vessels – the Marine Lab was his baby!

He was also a reviewer for the Revista de Biologia Tropical & Wildlife Biology in Practice – an Open Access journal of the University of Costa Rica aimed at specialized personnel in the fields of Biology and Conservation which has been publishing since 1953 and now has both electronic and printed editions.

On learning of Mr. Gayle’s passing, retired Director of the Centre for Marine Sciences, Dr George Warner recalled, “Sir G.” he used to call me; which I did not deserve!  He was my right-hand man at DBML and a good friend.

“I dived often with him and his calmness and grace underwater were exemplary, as was his concern for all those novice divers that he would take on training dives, and his rapid action when (rarely) this was needed. We will all miss him greatly!”

He has been described by his peers as the consummate professional. Mr. Gayle has served as an adviser to and Co-Chair of Diving Sub-Group of the Working Group on Fisheries Management and Related Matters of the National Council on Oceans and Coastal Zone Matters (since 2004). He was also a founding member of The UWI Sub Aqua Club which assisted in the training of Jamaica’s Scuba Diving Marine Scientists.

Mr Gayle served his country as admirably as he did his profession. He was a Lieutenant (s.g.)/Captain for Jamaica Defense Force Coast Guard (National Reserve) as a Diving & Weapons Officer; a member of Jamaica Institute of Environmental Professionals and an Honorary Game Warden for NEPA (National Environmental Protection Agency). He was The UWI’s representative on the Board of the Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean (AMLC) since 2002,  serving as AMLC president from 2012 to 2013, and as Chair of the Publication Committee since 2016.  He was instrumental in the development of the Acropora Iron Reef (AIR) Coral Reef Nursery and the first successful coral micro-fragmentation nursery at the DBML.

His academic achievements and research interests are no less impressive as Mr. Gayle has an M.Phil. where he studied the Ecology of deep fore-reef corals and was a Ph.D. candidate studying Reef Rehabilitation using coral gardening and artificial reef techniques. Among his special competence in the fields were: Tropical Marine & Fisheries Ecology, Coral Reef Monitoring Environmental Impact Assessments, Geographic Information Systems, Integrated Coastal Zone    Management, Technical (Nitrox & Mixed Gas) Deep Diving, Underwater Photography & Videography and Emergency Medical Technician.

He was also a reviewer for the Revista de Biologia Tropical & Wildlife Biology in Practice – an Open.

Mr. Gayle, with the assistance of colleagues, assisted the Alloa Discovery Bay Fishers Association (ADBFA) (an NGO) to acquire a US$44,500 grant in January 2018 from the Global Environmental Fund– Small Grants Program to fund a research initiative to ‘Evaluate Discovery Bay Inshore Coastal Water Quality in an effort to Improve Capacity for Environmental Management’.

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Mona Campus, Prof. Dale Webber and Director of the DBML Prof. Mona Webber, remember Peter as an avid researcher. “One of Peter’s stellar contributions for which he was selected as the co-recipient of the Principal’s Research Award in 2013 for the Research Project Attracting Most Research Funds, was a project that saw the construction of a 300 m Boardwalk at the DBML. Peter was always striving to do a little more, push a little harder and maximize an opportunity, he wanted and got more out of life.”

Mr Gayle’s contribution to the marine science community of Jamaica and the wider Caribbean through his work at The UWI is beyond measure. He will be missed by all. The University extends condolences to his family, friends and colleagues as they mourn his passing.

I dived often with him and his calmness and grace underwater were exemplary, as was his concern for all those novice divers that he would take on training dives, and his rapid action when (rarely) this was needed.

We will all miss him greatly!