Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium has received $400,000 in grants this week from two Sarasota-based family foundations - crucial support that will help us better serve the local community through world-class marine research and through hospital care for marine animals.
The new funds include a major grant from the Sara S. Roberts Foundation for Mote's efforts to rescue and treat sick and injured dolphins and whales, and anonymous support for Mote's shellfish restoration, marine-based cancer research, sustainable seafood farming and more.
As an independent, nonprofit marine research institution, Mote depends on local support for many of its science, education and outreach efforts.
"It's hard to imagine our community without Mote Marine Lab - they are a world-class institution right in our own backyard, and we are proud in particular to support their efforts to help injured dolphins and whales," said George Famiglio, Jr.,Trustee of the Sara S. Roberts Foundation.
Mote programs supported by donations from the two family foundations this week include:
Shellfish restoration: Mote scientists are planning new efforts to restore populations of scallops in Sarasota Bay, where shellfish are an important basis of ecosystem health. This funding will help Mote to develop and lead a multi-institution effort with the ultimate goal of enhancing local shellfish stocks.
Next-generation research: This funding will help Mote recruit top young scientists by supporting the Mote Post-Doctoral Fellowship program and will enhance Mote research in coastal ecology.
Cancer research: Mote scientists are studying why sharks and their relatives, rays and skates, rarely get cancer. Mote studies have shown that substances produced by these animals' immune systems can inhibit the growth of human tumor cell lines. This funding will support the program's continued research, which is designed to support a better understanding of health problems in humans and benefit wild populations of the marine life studied.
Sustainable seafood farming: Mote Aquaculture Park (MAP) is a sustainable fish farm and research facility in eastern Sarasota County dedicated to developing the technology for raising environmentally friendly seafood using recirculated water. This funding will support Mote's efforts in a commercial demonstration research and development project to raise Siberian sturgeon and caviar, which is currently sold through distributors across the U.S.
Hospital care for marine animals: Support from the Sara S. Roberts Foundation will help Mote rescue and rehabilitate sick and injured dolphins and whales. Mote's Dolphin and Whale Hospital is a nationally recognized facility that has treated 69 dolphins and whales since 1992.
"Family foundations in our area have been an important pillar of support for Mote throughout our 57-year history, and we are especially grateful for this new round of generosity," said Dr. Kumar Mahadevan, Mote's President and CEO. "These grants will aid our work within the exciting Vision and Strategic Plan we unveiled in 2011, which above all else is focused on today's research for tomorrow's oceans."
View the "2020 Vision and Strategic Plan" at www.mote.org/aboutus
Show your support for Mote research, education, outreach through Mote Aquarium and animal care by visiting www.mote.org/donate
Founded in 1955, Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 research organization based in Sarasota, Fla., with field stations in eastern Sarasota County, Charlotte Harbor and the Florida Keys. Donations to Mote are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Mote is dedicated to today's research for tomorrow's oceans with an emphasis on world-class research relevant to conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, healthy habitats and natural resources. Research programs include studies of human cancer using marine models, the effects of man-made and natural toxins on humans and on the environment, the health of wild fisheries, developing sustainable and successful fish restocking techniques and food production technologies and the development of ocean technology to help us better understand the health of the environment. Mote research programs also focus on understanding the population dynamics of manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks and coral reefs and on conservation and restoration efforts related to these species and ecosystems. Mote's vision includes positively impacting public policy through science-based outreach and education. Showcasing this research is Mote Aquarium, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 365 days a year. Learn more at www.mote.org