Stormwater system can support snook, bass and more, says Sarasota study

Dozens of fish species — including common snook and largemouth bass — use certain parts of the upper Phillippi Creek system, according to the first fish survey of this urbanized network of canals, retention ponds and wetlands in Sarasota County, Florida. The survey — led by Mote Marine Laboratory and funded by Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) — found the highest numbers and diversity of fishes around upper creek areas mimicking natural habitat: curving canals or ponds with wetland vegetation and sections of slower-moving water. Less naturalistic canals, with shorelines straightened for optimum drainage, generally hosted fewer fish of fewer species.

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Longboat Key Turtle Watch donates nearly $10,000 to Mote’s Sea Turtle & Education Programs

On Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, members of the Longboat Key Turtle Watch (LBKTW) donated more than $9,770 to help advance Mote Marine Laboratory’s education and sea turtle programs.  This year the funds for Mote will be distributed among the Lab’s Hatchling Hospital, Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital, Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program and Education Department. This is the eighth year that LBKTW has donated to Mote and largest sum of annual donations that LBKTW has donated to Mote programs.

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Podcast: Trash talk

We’ve all heard about trash in the oceans, but how bad is it? Senior Biologist Kim Bassos-Hull shares why marine debris — even tiny bits of plastic — can threaten marine animals and ecosystems, and she offers simple ideas for reducing marine debris in our daily lives. Through years of marine research and youth education programs, Bassos-Hull has a wealth of experience and stories, from untangling and measuring clumps of fishing line found at bridges and piers to encountering the strange case of a dolphin entangled in a bathing suit. Explore marine debris issues further with Mote's exhibit opening Dec. 9, "Sea Debris: Awareness Through Art" featuring the marine trash sculptures of "Washed Ashore": www.mote.org/seadebris. Bassos Hull carries out her work through Mote Marine Laboratory and the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, a Chicago Zoological Society Program in collaboration with Mote.

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Fisheries Forum to discuss fish communities and habitat in upper Phillippi Creek

The Sarasota Bay Fisheries Forum — a group for anglers, scientists and others seeking to proactively address fisheries management and science topics in the Sarasota Bay area — is gearing up for its December meeting. Attendees will learn about "Fish Communities and Habitat of Upper Phillippi Creek and Associated Storm Water Canals of Sarasota, Florida," from guest speaker Dr. Jim Locascio, Manager of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Fisheries Habitat Ecology and Acoustics Research Program.

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Whale shark hotspots described with help from citizen scientists

Vital scientific information about whale shark behavior, biology and ecology were released Nov. 29 in the scientific journal BioScience, thanks to a 22-year citizen-science program enabling ecotourists and others around the world to photograph whale sharks for research, and ultimately, conservation.

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