Mote Marine Laboratory scientists conduct world-class research to expand and ultimately transform our understanding of the ocean – the life-support system that provides essential oxygen, food, medicines and enhanced quality of life for communities worldwide.
Mote scientists work in the waters around all seven continents, leading more than 20 diverse research programs based at Florida campuses from Sarasota to the Keys. They are investigating new cancer- and infection-fighting substances from the sea; finding innovative ways to restore, in our lifetime, dwindling coral reefs – the ocean’s “rainforests”; elucidating and mitigating the impacts of climate change, ocean acidification and major oil spills; educating the public on conservation techniques and marine science; developing new technology and expanding vital ocean observing efforts; uncovering threats to sharks, sea turtles, marine mammals and other imperiled wildlife; seeking new ways to sustain fisheries while boosting sustainable seafood farming; and much more.
With more than 30 Ph.D. scientists in its staff of more than 200, Mote has intellectual power comparable to many colleges of marine science, but the Lab stands out as an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit institution. Independence allows Mote to respond quickly to emerging environmental challenges, think outside the box to find innovative solutions and prioritize its research to do maximum good. Mote is able to maintain this important independence through the generosity of philanthropic supporters.
The Lab’s guiding “roadmap,” the 2020 Vision & Strategic Plan, emphasizes studying the sea to support conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal biodiversity, healthy habitats and natural resources. It also lays out goals for translating and transferring research to benefit the oceans and human society.
Mote shares its discoveries through intellectual property products, with around a dozen patents obtained and several more pending. Mote-patented technology helps detect wastewater contamination, monitor for red tides that can severely affect Florida communities, enable sustainable seafood farming and more.
Mote’s estimated economic impact is $86.8 million in Florida. The Lab’s research helps to fuel the marine-driven “Blue Economy,” which is critical: Ocean-related activity contributed $17.5 billion to Florida’s gross domestic product as of 2010. The fishing, ecotourism and aquaculture industries, and rising powers like marine biomedical research, are critical to a healthy economy.
The Lab’s most priceless gift is shared knowledge. Mote provides independent, science-based information and expertise for policymakers, resource managers and other decision makers. Mote scientists also exchange knowledge with fishers and others who value marine resources; the Lab conducts inclusive workshops and leads citizen-science projects such coral-restoration and monitoring efforts with the help of volunteers.
Recent research highlights:
Education and outreach
Mote’s Education, Aquarium & Outreach Division plays a significant role in our effort to translate and transfer science and conservation information to our communities and the world.
We inform and engage hundreds of thousands of people each year through:
Mote Aquarium continually introduces new exhibits. Our latest additions, “Otters & Their Waters: Exploring a Florida Ecosystem,” and “The Teeth Beneath: The Wild World of Gators, Crocs & Caimans,” feature North American river otters and several crocodilian species as ambassadors for watersheds, highlighting the connection between watersheds and oceans while providing wildlife- and environment-friendly facts and tips.
More than 1,500 Mote volunteers donate their time as Aquarium docents, trained educational ambassadors, Aquarium, education and scientific program support volunteers and much more.