Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium staff are finalizing steps to secure the animals and facilities for Hurricane Irma and will be closed effective 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. and is expected to reopen on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017 and resume normal operations if conditions allow. Visitors may check mote.org or call 941-388-4441 to confirm Mote Aquarium hours of operation. Mote will continue to follow the advice of the local emergency management teams and urge residents to do the same.
At Mote, backup systems and generators are in place 365 days a year for the filtration and life support systems. To protect animals and exhibits, aquarium and hospital staff are also taking the added measures of securing extra water for water changes, and policing the grounds to protect against flying objects in the event of high winds. Animal care and security staff will be onsite during the public closure.
Research staff back up data regularly and are securing research equipment and vessels. All divisions and field stations are taking necessary safeguards in preparation for the storm while maintaining staff safety.
At this time Mote’s Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research and Restoration (IC2R3) has closed. IC2R3 was completed earlier this year on Summerland Key and was designed to be Category-5 hurricane resistant. IC2R3 staff secured the campus earlier this week and are following evacuation orders along with safety recommendation of Monroe County’s emergency management team.
Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program will also be following state and federal partners in closing, however exceptional cases may be addressed as the storm permits. For tips regarding sea turtle nests please view Mote’s release from Tropical Storm Emily.
Communication staff will provide updates regarding Mote’s campuses and programs on mote.org as needed.