Mote Aquaculture Research Park (MAP) was constructed in 2001 to pioneer the development of sustainable aquaculture technology to help feed the world, restock depleted species, and address the need to develop a viable, domestic aquaculture industry in the U.S.
Today, MAP continues to advance this critical effort while hosting additional key components of Mote Marine Laboratory's mission. The following facilities are located at MAP—click each one to skip to its section below:
MULTIPLE AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FACILITIES
Aquaculture, farming animals and plants in water, is increasingly important worldwide. Nearly 60% of Earth’s fisheries are being fished to their capacity, and 34% are overfished. By 2030, fish farms are expected to supply nearly two-thirds of food fish around the world.
MAP includes about 15 acres of buildings situated on 200 acres of land originally purchased through a decisive investment by Mote Scientific Foundation. This innovation-focused campus features state-of-the-art research, pilot- and commercial-scale aquaculture systems that recycle 100% of their saltwater. Traditional aquaculture uses large quantities of high-quality water that is discharged after minimal use. Water is globally recognized as a valuable and limited commodity, so Mote scientists develop technologies to clean and reuse this resource to its maximum potential.
MAP, located nearly 20 miles away from any large body of water, demonstrates how sustainable recirculating aquaculture can succeed inland.
This campus includes the Ron and Marla Wolf Aquaponics Center (made possible by the generous support of the Wolf Foundation), which was recently established to expand Mote's successful research with marine aquaponics: raising saltwater fish and plants together in a sustainable, closed-loop system. The Wolf Aquaponics Center is designed to help Mote demonstrate the economic feasibility of sustainable, marine aquaponics at a scale relevant to commercial farms.
Over the years, MAP has housed a diverse array of successful Mote research, including:
- Decades of groundbreaking studies on breeding, rearing and responsibly releasing common snook, a popular sportfish vulnerable to environmental challenges.
- Spawning and rearing technologies for a wide range of other species, including Pacific snook, Florida pompano, southern flounder, greater amberjack, red drum, red snapper, zebrafish, abalone, shrimp, hard corals and long-spined sea urchins.
- New efforts to help develop a food source for the future: cultivated seafood made by culturing cells.
- Marine aquaponics systems that successfully raise red drum together with sea purslane, an edible sea vegetable.
- Studies on oil spill impacts to fish health in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
- ...and much more!
MAP has served multiple Mote programs and partners. Two Mote programs closely involved with this campus are the Marine & Freshwater Aquaculture Research Program and our Fisheries Ecology & Enhancement Program.
MOTE'S FLORIDA RED TIDE MITIGATION & TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT FACILITY
To fight the impacts of Florida red tide (blooms of Karenia brevis algae) effectively while causing no further environmental harm than red tide itself, scientists must test red tide mitigation compounds and technologies in the environment. Long before that, they must test them in the lab and then in large “mesocosm” or “raceway” tanks designed to provide a preview of the possible environmental impacts.
In 2020, Mote created this cutting-edge facility to do just that, as part of the Florida Red Tide Mitigation & Technology Development Initiative led by Mote in partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
The Florida Red Tide Mitigation & Technology Development Facility, occupying 28,800 square feet of Mote’s existing campus space, can hold almost 150,000 gallons of treated and recirculated seawater. Its six labs include a culture room for growing algae, a chemistry lab, and large systems of long tanks called raceways and 5- or 10-foot mesocosms where scientists can create mini versions of Sarasota Bay, the Gulf of Mexico or other relevant environments by maintaining shellfish, seaweed, sponges, sediments and other ecosystem components that could be sensitive to mitigation efforts. Use of the facility and its unprecedented quantities of Karenia brevis culture are free for scientists from around the world whose projects are part of the Initiative.
MOTE'S INTERNATIONAL CORAL GENE BANK
Coral reefs are experiencing unprecedented die-offs worldwide, and it’s critical to restore them with resilient and genetically diverse corals that have the best chances to survive and reproduce. However, scientists can only do that if our native corals don’t disappear first. To protect the living treasure of coral genetic diversity, Mote has created a unique, large-scale, land-based, living coral gene bank where dozens of coral genotypes (genetic varieties) of at least 30 species can be stored in triplicate.
Mote’s International Coral Gene Bank, created during 2020-2021, is housed in hurricane-resistant infrastructure and contains four separate life-support systems, so if one system fails, corals supported by other systems will be preserved. The Gene Bank’s four systems have room for up to 500 mature parent corals or 15,000 small coral fragments. The facility provides precision control of temperature, chemistry, water level, lighting and more, to keep the corals happy and healthy. Mote’s Gene Bank will also help produce new coral offspring through its dedicated laboratory for controlled, year-round, coral sexual reproduction—a key step to infuse fresh genetic diversity into the science-based coral reef restoration Mote is spearheading. With over 1,600 genotypes, Mote has one of the largest single collections of living coral genetic diversity in existence. Our gene bank vision began with a focus on corals endemic to Florida and U.S. jurisdictions of the Caribbean, and it is now expanding to include coral genetic diversity from reefs around world.