December 2015

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Mote Postdoctoral Research Fellow returns home to Sarasota from a two-week shark-research expedition

Mote Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr. Heather Marshall just returned home to Sarasota from a two-week shark-research expedition aboard the internationally known M/V OCEARCH in the Gulf of Mexico. Marshall collected shark blood samples in this team effort to gather previously unattainable data on these important top predators.

The multi-partner expedition — led by OCEARCH with scientific leaders from Texas A&M University — departed Nov. 4 from Corpus Christi, Texas, and completed its voyage on Nov. 13 in Morgan City, La.

UPCOMING EVENTS: Volunteer Holiday Party

The air is getting colder, the holidays are near, a time for celebration with those we hold so dear!

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium cordially invites you to join us for a festive holiday celebration!

Thursday, the seventeenth of December six o'clock in the evening

Please RSVP to (sign-up sheets are also located in the volunteer lounges)

An Introduction to Interpreting Climate Change

Workshops will be offered:
Saturday, December 19 9:30am - 12:30pm

Please email to register for the workshop to be held in the WAVE Center.
Space is limited.
We are offering a new, special course for volunteers!

The world's climate is changing, and the changes will have an enormous impact on our planet's people, animals, ecosystems, cities, and energy use. Organizations like Mote Marine Laboratory are researching impacts from climate change on marine ecosystems and animals. As an aquarium, we have a unique opportunity to discuss this global issue and associated research with our guests. This 3-hour course is an introduction into research-based techniques for incorporating climate change information, strategies for mitigation and impacts on animals/habitats to aquarium guests.

Otters coming to Mote Aquarium in Sarasota
Meet the furry faces of Florida's watershed ecosystems in the special exhibit "Otters & Their Waters," opening in early 2016 at Mote Aquarium.
The exhibit will feature North American river otters and provide an otter's-eye view of their watershed homes. Watersheds — lands that drain water toward rivers, estuaries and the sea — are important to people and myriad wildlife, including river otters, their prey and many animals from land to the coastal oceans where Mote Marine Laboratory scientists carry out their research.

Falling for a Dolphin---and Two Manatees

"Buffett at Sunset" by Rolla R. Schuh
What does someone from the Bronx know about dolphins, someone who never heard of a manatee?

A few months after moving to Longboat Key, a friend of mine told me about a stranded dolphin being cared for at Mote and they needed volunteers. I said I didn't know anything about dolphins and was told they would train me. Sure enough, I volunteered and was trained on the job by Jay Gorzelany, who was in charge of the Stranding Team, and Sarah, the volunteer coordinator.

"Freeway" was a bottlenose dolphin who had stranded up the Manatee River near I-75. He was brought to Mote and cared for in the small pool behind the Shark Tank. Since he could not swim and come up for air on his own, he was being held 24/7. Then, one day he decided to swim while I was holding him. He sunk and we picked him up. He kept trying and eventually was able to do so.

A Gargantuan Octopus Rendered with Discarded Ballpoint Pens by Ray Cicin

Inspired in part by his graphic-designer friends disparaging comments about the lowly ballpoint pen, artist Ray Cicin took it upon himself to collect all their discarded pens and embarked on this drawing of a mammoth octopus. The piece is inspired by German naturalist Ernst Haeckel's famous illustration of squid and octopuses, and is part of Cicin's ongoing Deep Blue series.

Deep Blue, Octopus. Ballpoint pen on archival Bee Rag paper, 62 x 64 inches

Founded in 1955, Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 research organization based in Sarasota, Fla., with field stations in eastern Sarasota County, Charlotte Harbor and the Florida Keys. Mote is dedicated to today's research for tomorrow's oceans with an emphasis on world-class research relevant to conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, healthy habitats and natural resources.

Research programs include studies of human cancer using marine models, the effects of man-made and natural toxins on humans and on the environment, the heath of wild fisheries, developing sustainable and successful fish restocking techniques and food production technologies and the development of ocean technology to help us better understand the health of the environment. Mote research programs also focus on understanding the population dynamics of manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks and coral reefs and on conservation and restoration efforts related to these species and ecosystems.

Mote's vision includes positively impacting public policy through science-based outreach and education. Showcasing this research is The Aquarium at Mote, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 365 days a year. Learn more at

Mote Marine Laboratory meets all requirements specified by the Florida Solicitation of Contributions Act. A copy of the official registration #SC01050 and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling 1-800-435-7352 within the state. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state.