Program Overview

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program Overview

Mote Marine Laboratory (Mote), an independent nonprofit institution established in 1955, has recently adopted a 2020 Vision & Strategic Plan that includes as one of Mote’s four core priorities, “Ensure the long-term prosperity of the research enterprise through focused staff recruitment and nurturing programs.”  In order to address this specific priority, a new Mote Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program began in 2011.

As an independent, nonprofit, mission-based organization, Mote’s greatest strength has been its ability to define its own agenda and research based on our communities’ needs and our scientists’ expertise.  Mote is committed to being a leader in nationally and internationally respected research programs that are relevant to conservation and the sustainable use of marine biodiversity, healthy habitats, and natural resources.  We envision a comprehensive and integrated Mote enterprise with research, innovation, and public education and outreach programs that are among the most creative and fruitful in the world.  Postdoctoral Research Fellows are selected based on their ability to not only strengthen and diversify the Laboratory’s significant existing research expertise, but also the potential to establish their own innovative research initiatives as independent investigators.  Exemplary Fellows may be invited to join Mote as Staff Scientists upon completion of their initial appointment.

Mote’s research extends throughout the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and tropical to polar environments. The main 10 acre campus is headquartered on City Island in Sarasota, Florida, with a nearby 200 acre inland marine aquaculture research park; in Charlotte Harbor (Lee County- southwest Florida) with a fisheries research station, and on Summerland Key (Monroe County- Florida Keys) with a new The Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration.  Mote’s more than 30 doctoral-level scientists and more than 20 research programs are described at

Mote’s present situation creates new opportunities for innovative research, including:

  • World-class marine aquaculture facilities and on-site coral ecosystem research facilities
  • Tri-national agreement between Mexico, Cuba, and U.S. marine scientists & resource managers
  • Affiliation agreements with the University of South Florida (USF @ Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota/Manatee), Jacksonville University, and the University of the West Indies (Mona campus and Discovery Bay & Port Royal marine laboratories)
  • William R. and Lenore Mote Eminent Scholar Chair and international symposia in fisheries ecology with Florida State University
  • National Center for Shark Research
  • Florida Coastal Ocean Observing Systems Consortium and Mote’s coastal ocean observing laboratory
  • 1.3 million gallon seawater system dedicated for research purposes

Mote is part of a growing marine research enterprise zone on the Florida Gulf coast that includes the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and three National Estuary Programs (Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, Charlotte Harbor), Southeast Regional Headquarters of the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program including the Florida Keys, Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, Florida Wildlife Research Institute, USF College of Marine Sciences, SRI, U.S. Geological Survey’s St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, and numerous national wildlife refuges and state aquatic preserves.  Mote is also a member institution of the International Consortium for Marine Conservation, Consortium for Ocean Leadership, National Association of Marine Laboratories, Southeast and Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association/System, Florida Institute of Oceanography, Florida Ocean Alliance,  and Florida Sea Grant.


Two fellowships will be awarded to support new scientists as independent investigators. Applications are invited from recent (since December 2015) Ph.D. graduates including those with firm expectation of graduation by December 31, 2018.  However, at time of appointment, the doctoral (or equivalent professional) degree must have been awarded. Applications are invited for any natural science investigation; the following fields are especially encouraged:

Marine Ecotoxicology: The successful candidate will join a diverse team of marine scientists investigating adverse effects of toxic chemicals on marine life. Our goal is to identify primary stressors and conditions of greatest risk, working with stakeholders to assess and reduce risk. Current projects address effects of endocrine disrupting compounds on coral communities, trophic transfer and persistence of natural biotoxins in shellfish, design and testing innovative methods for in situ detection of biotoxins, and technology for mitigating adverse effects from harmful algal blooms. The researcher must be proficient with HPLC-MS and GC-MS instrumentation, MS data interpretation, analysis of endocrine disrupting compounds and biomarkers of effect.  The researcher will engage in design and implementation of environmental sample collection and processing protocol, as well as controlled laboratory toxicity studies. A command of statistical analysis and risk assessment is highly desirable.  The position requires the ability to work as part of a team, as well as introducing innovative, independent research ideas.  The position also affords the opportunity for hosting of visiting scientists, interactions with scientists from multiple disciplines at Mote, oversight of student interns and volunteers, and to serve as Courtesy Faculty, mentoring graduate research at local universities. See for program information.

Sirenian Biology and Conservation:

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to study wild manatees in their natural habitat as well as to do research with captive manatees. Projects including both aspects are welcome. Mote’s Manatee Research Program has a long history of conducting research on manatees in the wild. Situated on Sarasota Bay, Mote’s location is in close proximity to abundant manatee habitat during the non-winter months, as well as a 1-2 hour drive to several important winter refugia. Current projects on wild manatees include photo-identification, aerial surveys, genetic studies, and thermal biology. The successful candidate interested in conducting research on wild manatees must be able to endure long field days, potentially in very hot humid conditions (summer) and/or in the cold (winter), and lift up to 50 pounds (depending on the field gear). For boat based field work, experience with operating boats is preferred. The husbandry trained and experienced resident manatees at Mote, Hugh and Buffett, offer the unique opportunity to perform not only non-invasive measurements under controlled conditions, but also behavioral studies on manatee sensory biology, cognition and behavior. In this field the successful candidate will work in close cooperation with the manatee care staff, which is responsible for the training and experimental testing. Experience in the design and implementation of behavioral experiments is desirable; the willingness to design and construct the necessary experimental setup is expected. The position requires the ability to work as part of a team, as well as introducing innovative, independent research ideas. A command of statistical analysis is highly desirable. For further information on the Manatee Research program and current projects please visit

Competitive applications will focus on research programs that are relevant to conservation and the sustainable uses of marine biodiversity, healthy habitats, and natural resources; will bring or propose new multi-investigator/institutional collaborations to Mote, and will be cognizant of global issues.

Applicants must be eligible to work in the U.S. in 2018-2010. A complete application will be a single pdf file containing, in the order shown:

1. A letter addressed to the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Committee, describing your interest and availability including current employment status and eligibility.

2. Curriculum vitae.

3. Copy of the Ph.D. diploma or equivalent professional degree (persons with a firm expectation of graduating by December 31, 2018 may apply: please affirm in the cover letter.)

4. A three-page essay describing the applicant’s intended research program and suggested mentor (See It is not necessary to obtain a potential mentor’s approval at this stage of the application process.  Co-mentors at other institutions will be considered.

5. Three representative journal publications (in press or published). Do not send web  links to publications.

6. As appropriate, the name and contact information of major professor or postdoctoral supervisor, and two references. (Letters of recommendation are not necessary for initial applications.  Letters will be requested from references provided by applicants who become finalists.)

Novel media or formats other than pdf essential to an individual’s application may be submitted.

Applications from previous recruitment cycles are discouraged. In fairness to all applicants and reviewers, only complete applications will be accepted. Send applications by email to  As appropriate, the email subject line of an application should state “Ecotoxicology Fellowship Application,” or “Manatee Fellowship Application.”  The subject line for other fields of research should state “Postdoctoral Fellowship Application.” Hard-copy applications may be mailed to Human Resources, Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, Florida, USA. 34236-1004.

The deadline for applications is August 31, 2018 and finalists will be announced in October. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status or other protected category. Mote is an E-Verify employer.

2020 Vision & Strategic Plan Version 2.0