November 2015

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Entangled dolphin calf rescued near Clearwater

Photo credit: National Marine Fisheries Service
A bottlenose dolphin calf estimated to be about 6-months-old is now safely swimming with her mom after rescuers freed her from life-threatening plastic debris and fishing lines caught around her body. The rescue took place Thursday morning, Oct. 15, off the west coast of Florida, near Clearwater.

The calf was first reported by a boat captain to National Marine Fisheries Service's partner Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) staff on Oct. 6. Boaters in the area around the Caladesi Island and Dunedin Causeway were notified via VHF radio to be on the lookout for the calf.

If you see a stranded, entangled, injured or dead dolphin, whale, manatee or sea turtle anywhere in Florida, please call the FWC Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922). For marine mammals and sea turtles in Sarasota or Manatee county waters, you can contact Mote's Stranding Investigations Program, a 24-hour response service, at 941-988-0212.

Marine debris: biodiversity impacts and potential solutions

More than 80 million tons of plastics are estimated to be produced globally each year. These plastics are durable, requiring about 500 years to decompose in the ocean. Their durability and buoyancy allows them to be carried far from their sources.

Globally more than 200 species are known to be affected by marine rubbish including whales, seals, dugong, seabirds, turtles, crabs, seasnakes, sharks, rays and other fish.

While many of these species are threatened, still others form part of our diet. This means that plastic ingested by wildlife not only affect them - their guts may be perforated and they may starve - but toxins from the plastics may also be absorbed by humans.

How do we help? Human behavior needs to change from the current throwaway culture being status quo, and accountability is a fundamental ingredient in this change.

Mote President and CEO becomes SCUBAnauts International Board member

Dr. Michael P. Crosby, Ph.D., President and CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory, has joined the Board of Directors of SCUBAnauts International, which was founded by Capt. David Olson (USN, Ret) in Palm Harbor, Fla. in May of 2001 in an effort to introduce young men and women to informal science education through underwater exploration.

"I am honored and excited to serve as a Board member of SCUBAnauts International," said Mote President & CEO, Dr. Michael P. Crosby. "This organization's goals coincide with Mote's mission of using science, research and education to address the profound challenges marine ecosystems face worldwide. Through 'hands-on' research experiences that the SCUBAnauts gain in partnership with Mote scientists, we are not only enhancing their overall ocean and science literacy, but also restoring our coral reef ecosystems together. When Mote's new, state-of-the-technology research facility on Summerland Key opens in 2017, Mote and SCUBAnauts International will have an even greater impact in conservation of long-term sustainable use of our ocean resources. I am pleased to help the outstanding young men and women of SCUBAnauts International, who represent some of the best in the next generation of ocean conservation leaders."

Thursday, Nov. 12, 9-11 a.m. Mote Presents: Spotted Eagle Ray Conservation with Mote Senior Biologist Kim Bassos-Hull
Kim Bassos-Hull, having received her B.S. in Biology & M.Sc. in Marine Science from the University of California, Santa Cruz works with the following programs at Mote; Shark Biology and Conservation, Education, and the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program. As part of her work with the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program Kim is employed by the Chicago Zoological Society (based at Mote Marine Laboratory as part of a partnership to engage in dolphin research, education, and conservation action).

Kim is also employed part time with Mote and since 2006 has worked with Mote's Education Division as a research mentor for the High School Intern Program. Since 2009 Kim has led a research project documenting spotted eagle ray biology, behavior, and fisheries impacts in Florida, Mexico, and Cuba with the Shark Biology and Conservation Program.

The Spotted Eagle Ray Conservation Research Program's goals are:
  • To gain knowledge about populations of this ray in the Gulf of Mexico and northwestern Caribbean Sea, through field studies of behavior and migration and lab studies of population structure.

  • To raise public awareness and enhance conservation outreach and education on spotted eagle rays in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and around the world.
Come to the Volunteer General Meetin in WAVE Center on Thursday, November 12th from 9:00-11:00 to see Senior Biologist, Kim Bassos-Hull talked about Spotted Eagle Ray Conservation.

Volunteer Opportunity: Mote Teach-A-Kid-Fishing Clinic
Date/Time: Saturday November 7; 9 a.m. to 12:30
Lunch: (included) Sponsored by Sarasota Sportsmens Association
Location: Mote Aquaculture Research Park, 12300 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, FL (7 miles East of I-75).
Ages: 5-16 (plus parents/guardians); Limit 120 children
Cost: $10.00 per child

Volunteers will be needed for various event jobs. Educational stations include Spin and fly casting, Bait and Tackle, Ethical Angling, Gyotaku Fish Printing, Kayak Demonstration, Fly Tying, Pond Fishing and Tours of MAP.

Volunteer Opportunity: William R. Mote Memorial Snook Shindig 2015 honoring Captain Scotty Moore
Date: November 13-14, 2015
Location: Mote Marine Lab on City Island Park
Captains Meeting: Friday November 13, 6:00
Awards Ceremony: Saturday November 14, 5:30-9:00
Fishing Location: Sarasota Bay from Cortez to Venice.

Special catch, sample and release tournament to help document contributions to the fishery of our hatchery reared snook tagged and released into Sarasota Bay. Stocked snook, tagged with coded wire tags before release into Sarasota Bay, are the focus of pilot studies to identify stock enhancement potential and the best release strategies. Snook caught during the tournament are checked by Mote researchers, who recover tag data and use the information to adjust release protocols.

Volunteer Opportunity: 2015 Siesta Key Crystal Classic (Nov. 13-17)
Mote Marine Laboratory is looking for volunteers to help out during the 2015 Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sandsculpting Competition, which takes place Friday, November 13, 2015 to Tuesday, November 17, 2015 The Crystal Classic benefits sea turtle research, rehabilitation and conservation programs at Mote.

To sign up to volunteer, please fill out an online form at which includes volunteer times, days and job duties.

The 5th anniversary Youth Ocean Conservation Summit
The Youth Ocean Conservation Summit was created to provide youth participants of all ages (upper elementary-college) the opportunity to learn from marine scientists and conservationists about the current threats facing marine ecosystems, both locally and globally.

This year we are celebrating the 5th anniversary of the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit, which will be held on Saturday, November 14, 2015, at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, FL!

This annual event teaches participants about the ways other youth are currently working to protect marine ecosystems, and then allows them to work with their peers to develop action plans for their own ocean conservation projects. Workshops offered at the summit allow participants to gain the skills necessary to successfully implement conservation projects, teach participants about career opportunities in marine conservation, and expose them to opportunities they can take part in to help protect our planet's oceans and their inhabitants.

2015 Community Ocean Conservation Film Festival on Friday, November 13th
Join special guest, renowned marine conservation advocate Wendy Benchley, young ocean conservation leaders, and members of your community to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit program at the 2015 Community Ocean Conservation Film Festival.

This special evening will feature a screening of the award-winning film Shark Girl. Shark Girl shares the inspiring story of twenty-one year old Madison Stewart who has made it her life mission to protect sharks and their ocean home.

Come on Friday, November 13, 2015, and be inspired by the work of young conservation leaders through a showcase of student driven ocean conservation projects and films and meet young people making a difference to protect our blue planet!

The event will also feature a silent auction/raffle fundraiser with marine themed artwork and other items. Proceeds will support the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit program. Admission to this event is free. Please check out for more info.

Dave Bowman retires after more than 35 years of service to Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Bowman began volunteering at Mote in October 1980, when the aquarium first opened to the public. He had recently moved down to the Sarasota area to take care of his parents and decided he needed to find a hobby in his free time.

"I went to the volunteer center for the city of Sarasota," Bowman said. "The woman at the desk said that a new aquarium was opening and asked if I'd be interested in that. The very simple answer I had was 'You're damn right I would be."

After 16,000 hours of volunteering, which is 667 days or 21 months, Dave Bowman, Mote Marine Aquarium's longest-running volunteer is saying goodbye, as he prepares to move to Alachua.

Although Bowman is leaving, his legacy at Mote will remain.

Ocean trash photo collages by Mandy Barker

'Soup' is a description that is given to the plastic debris that is suspended in the sea. It is a title which makes particular reference to the mass accumulation of refuse that exists in the world's oceans. In researching this, UK photographer Mandy Barker developed a series of images entitled 'soup' which depicts these plastics and discarded items salvaged from beaches around the world.

For each still, individual pieces of plastic are photographed on a black background as well as in combination with other articles of a similar size. Barker then overlays these images with one another, illustrating the smallest up to the largest items of trash, creating a feeling of depth and suspension in the final visual. The sequence of the photographs reveal a narrative referencing the often fatal results of marine animal's exposure to 'soup'.

Our THANKSGIVING gift to the environment

It seems like more and more supermarkets have discontinued plastic bags, switched to paper-only shopping bags, and have set up discount incentives for customers to bring their own reusable bag. That's because we're finally discovering the inconvenient truth about plastic bags: They're rarely recycled. They're made from petroleum oil. And they're an enormous harm to our environment.

If you've made the switch to reusable grocery bags, then applaud yourself for being environmentally aware. Here are couple of things you may not know about plastic bags:
  • They take anywhere from 15 to 1000 years to decompose.
  • More than 10 percent of washed-up debris polluting the U.S. coastline is made up of plastic bags.
  • The petroleum used to produce 14 plastic bags can drive a car one mile.

Click below to see all of the facts.


An introductory course with emphasis on the local marine environment, Mote Research Programs, and the Aquarium. This course is for registered Mote volunteers only. This course is a training requirement for all Aquarium guides. The course is highly recommended for all other Mote volunteers. The Volunteer Manual will be used at MOST sessions and the assigned pages should be read before each lesson. A copy may be purchased for $25 (NOT A REQUIREMENT TO PURCHASE MANUAL).

WHEN: The classes will be held from Oct. 12 – December 2 from 9:00 a.m. until approximately 11:30 a.m., unless otherwise noted.

WHERE: WAVE Center (formerly Sea Cinema), unless otherwise noted.

QUESTIONS: Contact Volunteer Office at 941-388-4441, ext. 438 or ext. 852 or

Click below to see all of the Fall 2015 Basic Marine Science Courses.

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.