March 2015

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For the Love of Turtles
Mote recently received a generous donation from organizers of the fifth annual Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition that was raised during the 2014 event. This annual sand-sculpting day on the sand benefits our Sea Turtle Conservation and Research and has raised more than $100,000 over the past five years.

Don't forget to join us in November for the 2015 event! (Updated details will be posted later this year at

Run for the Turtles

You don't have to wait until November to support sea turtles. Join us on April 4 for Mote's 29th Annual Run for the Turtles — a sanctioned 5K and 1-mile walk/run — on Siesta Beach, including a special opportunity for youths to be healthy and support turtles, too!

Now through April 4, youths ages 23 and younger who launch their own fundraising projects for Mote's sea turtle conservation programs will have the funds they raised matched up to $37,000 by Positive Tracks and funding partner Gulf Coast Community Foundation. This special opportunity will double dollars raised by young people before and during the Run, adding extra "oomph" to the Run's support for Mote.

> Learn more about the Youth Challenge Grant and how to participate

6th Annual Florida Keys Ocean Fest: Benefitting Our Coral Reef
Sea fans should join us for the 6th Annual Florida Keys Ocean Festival & Waterfront Craft Show — a free day of ocean-themed education and fun from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 4, at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center, 35 East Quay Road at Truman Waterfront in Key West. The Festival benefits our coral reef restoration and research and the Lab's Protect Our Reefs program.

> Details

> Many thanks to our sponsors!

The festival features:

  • Touch pools with living animals
  • Marine artist Wyland doing a special painting with kids; crafts & local artwork
  • Food
  • Music by Howard Livingston & the MM24 band
  • Kids' fishing seminar
  • And don't forget the annual 5K Tuna Trot Race for the Reef at 8 a.m., leaving from the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center.
Lydia the Shark Update
In 2013, Mote scientists were part of an OCEARCH team that tagged a great white shark nicknamed Lydia. Two years later, the satellite tag she was outfitted with continues to send signals about her oceanic travels. Lydia, tagged just off Jacksonville, Fla., has logged more than 35,000 miles, over the mid-Atlantic ridge, toward Europe and western Africa and back again. Dr. Robert Hueter, director of Mote's Center for Shark Research, said her international travels indicate the need for international partnership. "If we want to understand these animals and even more importantly, protect them from extinction, then we've got to work with other countries."

Register Now! Mote Summer Camps
Sign up now for Mote summer camps — where kids can get involved in something fishy. Our hands-on, feet-wet programs immerse kids ages 2 through high school in ocean discovery. But spaces fill quickly, so make your choices now!

>Camp details & registration

Supporting Coral Reef Recovery

Mote Senior Scientist Dr. Kim Ritchie was on the team that helped to write the recently released coral recovery plan developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service. The plan outlines the criteria that will be used to determine recovery for two key reef-building coral species, threatened staghorn and elkhorn corals, which play an important ecological role on Florida's reef. The plan outlines actions that need to occur to support the reef's recovery — including restocking programs like that already being undertaken at Mote's Summerland Key research laboratory.

In fact, supporting coral reef health and recovery is a key reason that Mote leaders announced exciting new plans for the expansion of its Florida Keys research facilities during a special celebration of Mote's 60th Anniversary in February at the Galleon Resort & Marina in Key West. The expansion is a key priority of Mote's comprehensive campaign: Oceans of Opportunity: The Campaign for Mote Marine Laboratory.

At our Summerland lab, we have developed some of the most cutting-edge techniques designed to better understand the effects of ocean acidification and to restore damaged and depleted reefs in work that is showing great scientific promise. But expanding our facilities is critical to achieving success in these areas.

The Gardener Foundation, a Sarasota-based private foundation, has seen the need and is helping Mote kick-off its Florida Keys expansion through the significant initial investment of $5.14 million given as a loan but fully realizing the expansion still needs community support.

> Read More

> Learn how you can support Oceans of Opportunity

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