Super sense keeps manatees in touch with environment

Manatees — slow, plant-eating aquatic mammals — may not resemble superheroes, but their powerful sense of touch might even impress Daredevil, the blind comic book hero whose other senses are highly attuned.   A new peer-reviewed study, published recently in the Journal of Comparative Physiology A, reports that special body hairs help manatees sense water movements smaller than the period at the end of this sentence — likely helping them feel their way through a three-dimensional, underwater world where their vision is limited.

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Podcast: Sounds fishy: Acoustic studies of Florida fish

Dip a hydrophone into the Gulf of Mexico and you’ll be eavesdropping on plenty of “chit chat.”  Many fish species make sounds, especially during important life history events such as mating. Dr. Jim Locascio, Manager of Mote’s Fisheries Habitat Ecology Program, plays some fish sounds and shares knowledge from his acoustic research.

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Feeding wild dolphins can hurt them, new study says

Wild dolphins are more likely to be injured if humans feed them — even through unintentional means like discarding bait — reports a new study based in Sarasota Bay, Florida, and published recently in the peer-reviewed journal Royal Society Open Science.

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Podcast: Fish and their billions of “friends”

Helpful bacteria live on and inside fish (and us).  Dr. Andrea Tarnecki, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Mote, shares her research geared toward understanding fish-related bacteria and using some helpful bacteria to raise healthier fish in aquaculture, also called fish farming. And of course, Dr. Tarnecki indulges Joe’s interest in fish poop.

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Podcast: Beach conditions and health conditions

With a focus on the Florida red tides (harmful algae) that can kill fish and make Gulf of Mexico beachgoers cough, Hayley and Joe learn about Mote’s Environmental Health Program from its manager, Dr. Tracy Fanara.

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Podcast: Sharks without borders: U.S.-Cuba science

U.S. and Cuban shark scientists are building bonds through joint research. Dr. Bob Hueter, Director of Mote’s Center for Shark Research, and Alexei Ruiz Abierno of University of Havana discuss Cuba’s amazing sharks — including one rare species they tracked from Cuban to U.S. waters. They discuss the hurdles and triumphs of working together amid the tentative relationship between the two nations.

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Podcast: Give me an M-O-T-E!

Get to know Mote Marine Laboratory during this inaugural episode, in which hosts Joe Nickelson and Hayley Rutger share the storied history of this independent, nonprofit marine research and education facility in Sarasota Florida. Hear about the adventures of Mote’s founding “Shark Lady” and dip your toes into Mote’s brand-new podcast, Two Sea Fans!

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