On any given day, Mote's 200-plus researchers are in the field collecting information or asking for public help gathering information for important marine research studies. These Environmental Updates change regularly, reflecting Florida's ever-changing environment. Mote invites you to visit regularly for new information.
- Beach Conditions Report
- Red Tide
- Florida Keys Environmental Observations
- Sea Turtle Nesting
- Marine Mammal & Sea Turtle Strandings
- Dolphin Friendly Fishing and Viewing Tips
The Beach Conditions Report provides several types of information about Southwest Florida beaches during red tide events: whether dead fish are present, whether there is respiratory irritation among beachgoers, what the water color is, the wind direction and what flags are currently flying at the beaches (for lifeguard-monitored beaches).
- Click here for detailed information about the Reports.
Hints for visiting beaches during red tide blooms:
Mote Marine Laboratory studies Karenia brevis, the organism that causes red tides in Florida.
- Click here for an overview about Mote's red tide research.
- Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about red tide.
- Click here for a primer on the differences between red tide and red drift algae.
Please note that it is safe to eat shellfish that are commercially harvested and sold in fish markets, restaurants and other outlets. Florida has a well-established monitoring program for all commercial shellfish beds and these beds are closed when affected by red tide or other environmental conditions. Note: It is not advisable to harvest shellfish recreationally, unless you first check on the status of the location (open or closed) with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Click here for more information.
For recreational fishing: Fish that act as they would normally when hooked should be safe to eat as long as they are fileted first and the innards discarded.
For conditions throughout the Florida Gulf coast, with information about cell concentrations observed at specific locations and closed shellfish areas, please see the FWC web site (www.myfwc.com) and follow the link to “Red Tide Current Status.” The FWC Red Tide Status Line is now available to callers to hear a recording detailing red tide conditions throughout the state. FWC updates the recording each Friday by 5 p.m. after sampling efforts for the week have been completed and analyzed.
Red Tide Status Line: (866) 300-9399 (toll-free inside Florida only); (727) 552-2448 (outside Florida).
For information about the Human Health and Red Tide Studies funded by the National Institutes for Environmental Health Services, click here.
If you need immediate assistance regarding health related issues, please call the Marine and Freshwater Toxin hotline at 1-888-232-8635. It is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For more information about water conditions on Sarasota County beaches, please click on this link to the Sarasota County Healthy Beaches website.
A red tide Q&A with Mote researchers from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Mote's Marine Ecosystem Event Response and Assessment Program is operated in the Florida Keys through the Tropical Research Laboratory and it invites members of the public who frequent the waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and its surrounding areas to provide information about unusual events they witness in that ecosystem. The project is designed to help the scientific community better understand the nature and causes of marine events that adversely affect marine organisms and to assist ongoing research efforts to understand and assess new events.
There is no specialized training necessary to participate. No paperwork is required. By simply providing information about unusual events - what they were, where they were and when they were - residents can help alert scientists to potential large-scale problems before they develop. Past reports have included information about coral disease or bleaching, algal blooms or discolored water, diseased or dead animals and sick or stranded marine mammals and sea turtles.
Sea turtles nest along Southwest Florida beaches from May through October. Mote's Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program monitors 35 miles of beaches in Sarasota and Manatee counties daily to check for new nests.
- 2005-2007 Nesting Numbers
- 2008 Nesting Numbers
- 2009 Nesting Numbers
- 2010 Nesting Numbers
- 2011 Nesting Numbers
- 2012 Nesting Numbers
- 2013 Nesting Numbers
Mote Marine Laboratory’s Stranding Investigations Program responds 24 hours a day seven days a week to reports of sick, injured and dead marine mammals and sea turtles for animals in Sarasota and Manatee county waters. Live animals are brought back to Mote’s Dolphin and Whale Hospital or Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital for treatment and the deceased animals undergo a detailed post-mortem examination so that we may learn more about the natural history of these animals and evaluate long-term trends in mortality.
Within Sarasota or Manatee county waters, if you see a stranded or dead dolphin, whale or sea turtle, please call Mote's Stranding
Investigations Program, a 24-hour response service, at 941-988-0212.
If you see a stranded or dead manatee anywhere in state waters or a stranded or dead dolphin, whale or sea turtle outside of Sarasota or Manatee counties please call the FWC Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).
Mote has been operating its own weather station since 1980. Check here for current conditions and historical information.
Mote Marine Laboratory has been a leader in marine research since it was founded in 1955. Today, we incorporate public outreach as a key part of our mission. Mote is an independent nonprofit organization and has seven centers for marine research, the public Mote Aquarium and an Education Division specializing in public programs for all ages.