The issues our oceans face today are extremely complex and involve many different perspectives. The Marine Policy Institute at Mote Marine Laboratory was created in 2006 to improve the connection between science and society and strengthen the scientific basis of public policy and societal decision making—especially as it relates to economic development and the sustainability of our oceans and coastal ecosystems. 

The Institute serves as an independent, objective group that analyzes and translates results, findings, and related information into formats useful for the public—particularly decision-makers and members of a concerned community. This includes special reports designed to offer assessments and advice. 

As stated in the 2010-2014 strategic plan, the mission of the Policy Institute is to "strengthen the scientific basis of public policy and societal decision making for economic development and sustainability of our oceans and coastal ecosystems."

The Vision

The Institute is led by an Advisory Committee of leading national experts, chosen for their diverse backgrounds and expertise. This committee helps to set the Institute's priorities and guide its activities. 

The Advisory Committee Chairman is Dr. Michael Orbach, professor of Marine Affairs and Policy and Director of the Coastal Environmental Management Program in the School of the Environment at Duke University

The Institute's Director, Barbara Lausche, J.D., has extensive experience in national and international environmental law, especially as it relates to marine issues.

Dr. Frank Alcock is the Marine Policy Institute's immediate past Director, and he continues to serve as a senior fellow. Alcock is a former Belfer Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. 

In addition to this excellent staff and Advisory Committee, the Marine Policy Institute strives to create additional partnerships with other organizations, especially focused on the Gulf of Mexico region.

As stated in the 2010-2014 strategic plan, the long-term vision for the Institute is "to be recognized as an organization that focuses on both opportunities and problems in the marine and coastal environment with the view of promoting better integration of the natural and social sciences and improved knowledge for decision-makers and stakeholder groups on issues that require public policy attention."

Policy Areas

Sea Level Rise
Red Tide
Oil Drilling in the Gulf
Land-Sea Interactions Symposium
Marine Protected Areas
The Caribbean and Biodiversity Law

Institute Support

The start-up phase of the Marine Policy Institute at Mote (2006-2010) was generously funded through a grant provided by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice.

Additional funding has been provided by the New Amsterdam Charitable Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Ronald B. Morris and through a partnership with New College of Florida.


  • IUCN Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas consortium (ICCA), invited honorary member as of January 2017
  • Invited member of IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), Specialist Group on Connectivity Conservation, technical lead on global law and policy (February 2017)


UNDP on Legal Preparedness for implementing National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan requirements under the Convention on Biological Diversity (4 part series)
Legal Tools and Strategies to Support Marine Conservation.