Information update on the local facility

Research funding increases and Mote SEA gets closer to a start

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium - The programs started 64 years ago and the facility on City Island is receiving greater recognition at all levels.

Last year I did an update on Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. But events are happening quickly at the research facility on City Island and much of it has to do with the leadership of Michael P. Crosby, Ph.D. The President and CEO of Mote has been out in the community educating the public on the research while lobbying hard at all levels of government to fund programs to help revitalize the oceans and sustain life in the seas through its research.

The Waves of Support effort is a fundraising initiative to solicit the philanthropists of our world with seven different “Waves”, from Friends donating under $1,000 to those who make a significant donation of $75,000 or more and become members of the William R. Mote Guild. William R. Mote and family made large donations to the research facility that was renamed in his honor in 1967. It was founded in 1955 as the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory and a vision of the “Shark Lady”, Dr. Eugenie Clark.

Problems in the seas these past decades is bringing together scientists to research programs, including 30 Ph.D. researchers at Mote studying different programs that require these skills. Florida appropriated $500,000 last year for coral restoration research. The goal was to restore 50,000 corals in the Florida Keys. It was a continuation of state funding for coral restoration. Last November three national organizations partnered to issue $1.5 million to restore 130 acres of coral reefs. The initiative brought attention to the program and multiple grants matched. Coral reefs grow slowly from polyps that attach themselves to subsurface natural structures and provide an environment for other life.

One of the many exhibits at the aquarium open to the public
Educational Exhibits - High quality displays at Mote Marine provide a vast amount of information.

Harmful algal blooms became a big concern in Florida starting with a major outbreak in 2017. Mote has become one of the nation’s leaders in the research because of the effect it was having on our coastal wildlife. Mote became a partial beneficiary of an $8 million federal appropriation and provided research to congress for the legislation to pass. Last year State Executive Order 18-221 directed $100,000 to Mote for its responses to marine mammal, sea turtle and other fishes affected by the outbreak. While Governor Scott was in office last year he directed $2.2 million to Mote Marine Research. Earlier in 2018 the state divided $1.6 million between and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Florida Wildlife Research Institute.

Mote has 22 different programs of research, each receiving its own funding of grants, appropriations and donations. Some of these research programs may seem obscure but are vitally important to the future of the oceans. Consider Benthic Ecology, or the study of organisms on the bottom of sea, led by senior scientist Jim Culter. The Ocean Technology Research program provides a database of local coastal environments and has deployed an optical instrument to detect algal blooms. The Ecotoxicology headed by Dr. Richard Pierce relies on the data to study harmful toxins. The Environmental Laboratory for Forensics in Dr. Dana Wetzel program has studied the effects of petroleum in the water and has received $16 million over 18 years. Dr. Catherine Walsh of the Marine Immunology program is responsible for the health of marine life.

The vast other programs mentioned above combine with different research programs for phytoplankton, dolphins, manatees, fish, rays, sea turtles, sharks: well, just about anything in the oceans. They do this from field stations around the globe.

Upcoming events at Mote support World Oceans Day

An array of events surrounding World Oceans Day starting Saturday will be held at Mote. The day before on Friday the International OCEAN FILM TOUR, volume 6 is a big screen presentation starting at 7 PM, a film for all who have a fascination with the ocean. Saturday events start with the FMSEA/FWC Aquatic Species Collection Workshop, hosted by Mote and held twice a year. It is followed by the World Oceans Day Family Festival 2019 from 10 AM to 1 PM. This is a full day of photo opportunities, vendor booths, presentations and entertainment. Check out all the events at the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium website.

Update on the Mote Science Education Aquarium at Nathan Benderson Park

Mote SEA
Mote SEA - Dream gets stronger for education center

Last month more news of the Mote Science Education Aquarium surfaced when a construction management team was announced for the new site of the Aquarium to be built between the Mall at University Town Center and Nathan Benderson Park off Interstate 75 in Sarasota. The project is proceeding with Willis A. Smith Construction which has had previous projects with Mote. A national firm The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company with an office in Tampa will work with Massachusetts based architect CambridgeSeven as the second and third triad in its construction.

The 12 acres of Benderson Park was allocated in January by Sarasota County and has a request to fund $20 million of the estimated $130 million cost. Private donations have totaled $34. Manatee County is studying the legality and feasibility of providing $15 million from funds raised by a 5 percent tourism tax on hotel stays.

When finished the Mote Science Education Aquarium will be an icon for the two counties and the state. It will become an education and marine outreach center with displays that have originated from around the world. Over 1 million gallons of water will host aquatic life and technology used throughout the 110,000-square-foot facility to educate with labs and even on-site scuba diving training center.

The location was selected for its proximity to I-75 and the increased traffic that is brought in through shopping mall visits. Last month the Benderson Development Company announced plans for 1,750 apartments, office space and a 900,000 square foot entertainment center with multi-screen theater. Three hotels, restaurants and shopping stores are also planned in the East District.

Last week I listed a fabulous, coastal contemporary home at 658 Mourning Dove Drive with updates found throughout this Bird Key waterfront estate. It should be one of those on your list worth looking at. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
658 Mourning Dove Drive $1,895,000 Video Photo Slideshow

 

Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing