Mote Marine Laboratory

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Mote Marine Laboratory
Mote Marine Laboratory logo, January 2016.png
Official logo
Date opened 1955
Location Sarasota, Florida
Coordinates 27°19′58.5″N 82°34′37.7″W / 27.332917°N 82.577139°W / 27.332917; -82.577139Coordinates: 27°19′58.5″N 82°34′37.7″W / 27.332917°N 82.577139°W / 27.332917; -82.577139
Land area 10.5 acres (4.2 ha)
No. of animals 10,000
No. of species 100+
Memberships AZA

Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent, not-for-profit marine research organization based on City Island in Sarasota, Florida. Founded in 1955 by Eugenie Clark in Placida, Florida, it was known as the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory until 1967. The laboratory aims to advance the science of the sea, both through its marine and estuarine research labs and through the public Mote Aquarium and its affiliated educational programs.


Founded by Dr. Eugenie Clark in 1955 in Placida, Florida, it was known as Cape Haze Marine Laboratory until its 1967 renaming in honor of major benefactors of the laboratory William R. Mote, his wife Lenore, and his sister, Betty Mote Rose. Mote's early research was focused on sharks. Since 1960, Mote has been based in Sarasota, Florida, and has been located on City Island since 1978.

Mote Marine Laboratory celebrated its 55th Anniversary during 2010. The Lab was recognized for its 55 years of marine science with a resolution in the Florida House and Senate in March 2010. Founder Clark was also recognized in March 2010 with an induction to the Florida Women's Hall of Fame.

The laboratory celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2015 and unveiled its first multi-year, comprehensive fundraising effort, Oceans of Opportunity: the Campaign for Mote Marine Laboratory.[1] Clark was still working as Senior Scientist, Director Emerita, and Trustee at the laboratory when she died in February 2015.[2]

As of 2015, Mote employs over 200 staff members conducting research on 25 different programs (Coral Reef Ecology & Microbiology; Chemical and Physical Ecology; Phytoplankton Ecology; Ocean Acidification; Marine & Fresh Water Aquaculture; Fisheries Habitat Ecology; Stranding Investigations; Ecotoxicology; Shark Biology & Conservation; Fisheries Ecology & Enhancement; Coral Reef Monitoring & Assessment; Coral Reef Restoration; Dolphin, Whale & Sea Turtle Hospitals; Environmental Health; Ocean Technology; Behavioral Ecology & Physiology; Marine Immunology; Benthic Ecology; Marine Biomedical Research; Environmental Laboratory for Forensics; Sea Turtle Conservation & Research; Spotted Eagle Ray Conservation; Manatee Research; Coral Health & Disease; and the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program).[3] The Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, a partnership of Mote Marine Laboratory and the Chicago Zoological Society, conducts the world's longest-running study of a dolphin population.[4]

Since 1978, the Laboratory has expanded to include a 10.5-acre (4.2 ha) campus in Sarasota, with field stations and public exhibits in Key West; field stations in Summerland Key, Charlotte Harbor, and Boca Grande; and Mote Aquaculture Research Park in eastern Sarasota County. Florida's extensive coastline and marine and estuarine environments have enabled Mote scientists to build a platform of marine research conducted in the near shore environment. In addition to staff members, Mote has about 1,400 volunteers who contribute more than 200,000 volunteer hours to the organization.

Mote Aquarium[edit]

Coral on display.

Mote Aquarium is the public outreach arm of Mote Marine Laboratory, displaying more than 100 marine species with a focus on local marine life. The Aquarium opened in 1980 on City Island in Sarasota Bay. Visitors can see sharks, manatees, sea turtles, seahorses, rays, skates, seahorses, and invertebrates including cuttlefish, jellyfish, and sea anemones. Mote Aquarium also includes windows into Mote's working laboratories. The Aquarium hosts birthdays, weddings, corporate gatherings, and other events. Special group tours can be provided and are designed to show visitors how staff tend the animals and exhibits.[5]

The Aquarium offers narrated shark feedings, in which large sharks are trained to go to specific targets for a food reward. Special, temporary exhibits have included "Oh Baby! Life Cycles of the Seas" (February 14-September 27, 2015), a showcase of marine courtship and reproduction featuring babies of multiple species and their early life survival challenges, involving interactive games and a baby shark touch tank.[6]

Until 2011, Harley, the last recorded spinner dolphin in captivity so far, lived at the aquarium.


Mote has an education division specializing in school and public programs for all ages. Initiatives include internships, summer camps, school visits, field trips, on-demand learning experiences, annual Special Lecture Series discussions, and a distance-learning program called SeaTrek, which connects Mote educators to students via live videoconferencing.[7]

Mote also has a display tank located at the Sarasota–Bradenton International Airport between the information kiosk and the security checkpoint.


A library has existed at Mote since the laboratory's beginnings in Cape Haze.[8] The Arthur Vining Davis Library and Archives has been providing resources, reference, and research for more than thirty-five years at Mote Marine Laboratory. Its collections are maintained for the support of marine and environmental research and education. In addition to print and archival collections, the Library maintains searchable online, open-access institutional repositories of Mote staff publications, institutional papers, and items from historical collections.

The Library and Archives are open to the public for study and exploration. Appointments are suggested for library visitors and required for archival tours.[9]

Mote's library is a member of the International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers (IAMSLIC), an association of individuals and organizations interested in library and information science, especially as these are applied to the recording, retrieval, and dissemination of knowledge and information in all aspects of aquatic and marine sciences and their allied disciplines.[10]


The laboratory produces "Mote caviar" (Siberian malossol osetra) from 50,000 to 70,000 sturgeon at Mote Aquaculture Park in East Sarasota. The caviar is part of a demonstration of sustainable eco-sensitive aquaculture.[11] On November 24, 2014 Mote announced the sale of their caviar production operation to Southeast Venture Holdings, LLC (Seven Holdings).[12] The new owners plan on supporting Mote's continued research in commercialized sustainable foods.



  1. ^ "Mote Celebrates 60th Anniversary, Announces $50-million Fundraising Campaign | News & Press". Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  2. ^ "Remembering Mote’s "Shark Lady": The Life and Legacy of Dr. Eugenie Clark | News & Press". Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  3. ^ Mote Marine Laboratory 2020 Vision&Strategic Plan: Version 2.0
  4. ^ "Scientific Research". Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  5. ^ "Immerse yourself in discovery.". Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "If you want to change the world, dive deeper.". Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  8. ^ Clark, Eugenie (2010). The Lady and the Sharks. The Peppertree Press. ISBN 9781936051526. We also had a small office and file room and a sizable library room. We were accumulating all the books we could find and fit in our budget pertaining to marine life on the Gulf coast of Florida. We started subscriptions to scientific journals and much of my paperwork time was devoted to writing people and organizations to get the Lab's name on the mailing list for scientific papers on marine life. [...] Bill Vanderbilt shared one of his secretaries, Marion Suss, with me. Marion was the Lab's secretary, bookkeeper, librarian, and in a pinch helped measure and photograph sharks, clean and dry fishbones. 
  9. ^ "Research Library". Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  10. ^ "IAMSLIC". Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  11. ^ October 2012 Florida Trend pages 14,16
  12. ^

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