Visitors might spot mangrove-associated pigfish, mojarra, trunkfish or other species. They’ll also discover how much life hides under, and on, human-made docks and submerged structures.

Florida’s Bay Habitats

There’s a whole world just beyond our docks in Sarasota Bay, Florida. In this exhibit, we bring it to you!

Guests can spot seahorses — slow-moving masters of camouflage who use their prehensile tails to grab seagrasses and other bits of their habitat — and discover what makes this group of fishes unique. 

Learn to recognize Florida’s three species of coastal mangrove trees, and meet some of their fishy tenants. Underwater mangrove roots provide “nurseries” where many animals shelter and grow — including young tarpon and snook that will grow up to join Florida’s multi-billion-dollar saltwater sport fisheries.

Visitors might spot mangrove-associated pigfish, mojarra, trunkfish or other species. They’ll also discover how much life hides under, and on, human-made docks and submerged structures. 

Science in our backyard: Though Sarasota Bay waters are shallow, Mote Marine Laboratory’s research there is anything but. Visitors will see displays discussing one topic we’ve studied for decades: Florida red tide algae, whose toxins can kill fish and make beachgoers cough and sneeze. Also, a scallop display highlights community-powered shellfish restoration efforts by Mote and many partners in southwest Florida.