Mission: Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is a nonprofit, independent marine research organization with world-class scientists dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans through research and education.
All sea turtle species are greatly threatened or endangered, and here on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Mote is dedicated to ensuring these beautiful animals are here for generations to come.
Since 1995, Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital has successfully rehabilitated and released more than 400 sick and injured sea turtles.
In 2019, Mote documented the highest number of nests in the Sarasota-region in the 39-year history of Mote’s turtle patrol program.
By using tagging methods and tracking technologies, Mote researchers have helped scientists everywhere better understand sea turtle behavior.
Each year, Mote’s Hatchling Hospital sees hundreds of hatchling patients, many of which are from disorientations caused by artificial lighting.
EVERY MORNING AT DAWN, from mid-April through October, Mote’s sea turtle patrol biologists and volunteers take to the beach, in search of signs of sea turtle nesting and hatching activities. They patrol 35 miles of beaches, from Longboat Key through Venice, in the most densely populated area of nesting loggerhead sea turtles on all of Florida’s Gulf Coast. In 2019, they hit a record number of nests: 5,112 nests. And, in fact, for the 39-year-old program, the top 5 years for total number of nests have all occurred in the last 10 years.
Sea turtles are slow-growing and slow to mature, with loggerhead sea turtles reaching maturity at 25 to 30 years. That means that our efforts to document and protect sea turtle nests 30-plus years ago are paying off now!
Mote also operates a Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital and Hatchling Hospital, seeing patients with a variety of ailments, including boat strikes, fishing gear entanglement, red tide toxicity, and more. Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital is also one of the few turtle hospitals in the state that is qualified to treat sea turtles that develop papilloma tumors, a serious and highly contagious disease.
Five of seven of the world’s sea turtle species can be found off our coast, and all are either threatened or endangered with extinction. Conservation and research efforts at Mote, and our successful rehabilitation program, can ensure that these creatures can continue to exist for generations to come.
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236