MISSION: Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit marine research institution comprising world-class marine scientists committed to the belief that the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans begins with research and education.

Cause: Environment

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, based in Sarasota, Florida, has conducted marine research since its founding as a small, one-room laboratory in 1955. Since then, Mote has grown to encompass more than 20 research and conservation programs that span the spectrum of marine science: sustainable aquaculture systems designed to alleviate growing pressures on wild fish populations; red tide research that works to inform the public and mitigate the adverse effects of red tide with innovative technologies; marine animal science, conservation and rehabilitation programs dedicated to the protection of animals such as sea turtles, manatees and dolphins; and much more. Mote Aquarium, accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, is open 365 days per year.

Below, read about one of the many conservation efforts made possible through the support of people like you:

In 2020, the world’s largest reef shark survey revealed that these ecologically important animals are depleted in many places around the globe. Now, Mote Marine Laboratory scientists are leading a new, international effort to do something about it.

Dr. Demian Chapman took on the leadership of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Center for Shark Research this year after leading the world’s largest reef shark survey, Global FinPrint, at Florida International University. The FinPrint team placed baited, remote, underwater video cameras on more than 400 reefs in 58 nations, hoping for glimpses of sharks. Sadly, the cameras often revealed their absence—sharks were functionally extinct in many survey locations and NO sharks were seen in 20% of sites.

Mote has been renowned for its shark research for 66 years—ever since the famous “Shark Lady,” Dr. Eugenie Clark, founded the Lab to study these unique fishes in 1955. Back then, scientists knew less about why sharks mattered, but thanks to multiple Mote scientists and the global shark research community, we now understand that sharks are too important to lose. They serve as predators that regulate prey species and help maintain healthy ecosystems. In addition, shark fishing and ecotourism are critical to many economies and livelihoods.

This year, Mote launched the exciting new project Expanding the Global FinPrint—which is working to turn the lessons of FinPrint into conservation successes. Specifically, Mote is partnering with local grassroots organizations, governments and fisherfolk for research and conservation in countries where there is high conservation potential for reef sharks. Funding and scientific support are being directed to these people so that they can implement management approaches that are likely to work both for reef sharks and people.

One success is already unfolding in Belize—an example of what Mote’s project aims to achieve in many nations. The Government of Belize recently announced new regulations prohibiting shark fishing within 2 nautical miles of Lighthouse Reef, Glover’s Reef and Turneffe atolls—a total area of about 1,500 square miles.

In 2022, Mote and partners in Expanding the Global FinPrint will extend their shark and ray conservation model to other locations in the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean regions, where Global FinPrint collaborators are based.

Learn more at mote.org or connect with @motemarinelab on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236
(941) 388-4441

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