September 2015

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Sept. 1-2: Support Mote during the annual Giving Challenge

Mote Marine Laboratory is participating in the 2015 Giving Challenge, a 24-hour online fundraising event and looking to the community for support.

Visit on Sept. 1 at noon through Sept. 2 at noon to support this "Internet-a-thon". The site is updated every 60 seconds allowing the community to give and view the amount of donations and dollars each organization has raised in real time.

Thanks to two anonymous donors Mote will be able match all gifts from the Giving Challenge on a 1:1 basis up to $40,000.

Aquaponic fish and veggies make their dinner table debut

From left to right: Chef Tim Pheasant (Glenridge), Chef Brian Nieman and Chef Jesus Machado (Marker 4), Chef Josh Booze and Sous Chef Peter Mosher (FINS), Chef Stephen Phelps (Indigenous), Chef Tyson Grant (Parkshore), Chef Matt Dahlkemper (LOCALE), and Chef Kenny Hunsberger (Don Cesar). Credit: Mote Marine Laboratory.

From farm-to-fork, sea vegetables and red drum, a saltwater fish species, grown at Mote Aquaculture Park (MAP) using aquaponics – raising seafood while using the wastewater to fertilize salt-loving crops – are making their way into Southwest Florida's eco-friendly food scene.

Dr. Kevan Main, manager of the Marine and Freshwater Aquaculture Research Program at Mote, started this project with the intention of bringing its tasty results to the community and educating people about the importance of locally produced food.

The community has enjoyed buying the sea vegetables at the local Sarasota Farmers Market, and chefs focused on local, sustainable foods are key to the project's success.

Mote partners with The Nature Conservancy in a new pilot internship program to inspire next generation of scientists

Left to right: Lian Valera, intern; Lucinda Li, intern; Brie Colon, intern; Joan Kim, intern; Linda Monda and Keith Monda, program sponsors; Dr. Michael P. Crosby, President and CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory; Dr. Erinn Muller, Staff Scientist at Mote; Peter Chen, intern; and Dr. Andrea Larsen, Postdoctoral Scientist at Mote.

The new 10-week program is coordinated directly through Mote's internship resource office and offers high school students who participated in The Nature Conservancy's Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program a way to continue their internship experiences as college undergraduate students. It is designed to provide hands-on opportunities for students to conduct scientific research under the mentorship of Mote scientists.

The program allows students to gain experience in planning and implementing scientific research under the direction of a Mote scientist, earn a stipend, hone scientific writing skills by completing a "manuscript-style" final report, attend scientific seminars presented by graduate students, Ph.D. scientists from Mote, government agencies or universities and learn about opportunities for graduate study, careers in marine science and related communication skills through student workshops.

Sept. 12: Life's a Beach Triathlon
Triathlon participants are invited to Sarasota's beautiful Lido Beach for swimming, biking and running to raise funds for sea turtles on.

For every full-price entry, the Life's a Beach Triathlon will donate $1 to Mote's Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program, which has coordinated sea turtle conservation for more than 30 years along 35 miles of Sarasota County beaches.

Saturdays in September: $6 Mote admission for Florida residents
For every Saturday in the month of September, Florida residents of all ages can receive Mote Aquarium admission for $6 by providing proof of residency for at least one person in your group. The special is valid for up to four people in a party.

Support Mote by dining at Columbia in September
Enjoy good eats for a great cause: Support Mote Marine Laboratory by dining at Columbia Restaurant any time during the month of September.

Choose Mote from the ballot provided by your server and Columbia will donate 5 percent of your check to Mote, one of the nonprofits in the 18th Annual Columbia Restaurant Community Harvest.

Thursday, October 8th 9:00-11:00 Mote Presents: Ocean Technology with Guest Speaker Dr. Jordon Beckler
The Volunteer General Meeting in Sea Cinema presents Dr. Jordon Beckler, member of the Mote Ocean Technology group since February of 2015. Beckler earned a Ph.D. in chemical oceanography with a minor in inorganic chemistry at Georgia Tech, where he researched the redox cycling of metals and sulfur using in situ electrochemical analyzers and HPLCs during his dissertation research.

At Mote, Jordon is working on some exciting new projects for the Ocean Technology program. He also manages the SO-COOL Harmful Algae Bloom monitoring network of optical phytoplankton detectors and coordinates deployments of Slocum gliders around the Gulf of Mexico.

New Course For Volunteers: An Introduction to Interpreting Climate Change
This 3-hour course on Interpreting Climate Change is an introduction into research-based techniques for incorporating climate change information, strategies for mitigation and impacts on animals/habitats to aquarium guests.

Learn about topics like how people think about climate change, climate change sience, and tested metaphors to explain climate change and ocean acidification.

Workshops will be offered:
Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015 - 9 am-12 noon
Friday, Sept. 4, 2015 - 9 am-12 noon

Volunteer Spotlight on Nathan Rybicki

Nathan Rybicki, a Junior at Venice High School has always been drawn to the nature and animals, especially marine life. Rybicki became a high school volunteer in summer of 2013, as he was entering 9th grade.

"Overall my experience with the program has been very pleasant and valuable to not only my growth of knowledge, but also my personal growth," says Nathan. "I am very excited to help people learn something new and to hopefully inspire future generations of volunteers and marine biologists to join the cause to help us, as a whole, better understand and protect our vast and beautiful oceans."

Spineless: Susan Middleton's Mesmerizing Photographs of Marine invertebrates

Red-eye medusa (Polyorchis penicillatus) © Susan Middleton
Susan Middleton has dedicated her life to capturing and conveying the realities of creatures quite different from ourselves — often ones gravely endangered by our human solipsism and the destructive entitlement it engenders — this has been a centerpiece of the project. To gaze at life forms with powers of perception so vastly different from — and often superior to — our own is to invariably ask what life is like for that being.

In Spineless, Middleton turns her luminous lens to one particularly underappreciated aspect of these real and essential invisibilia: the exquisite and enigmatic world of marine invertebrates, which represent 98% of the known animal species in the oceans and are thus the backbone of life on our blue planet, on which 97% of the water is ocean.

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.