The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee has awarded an $18,000 grant to help Mote Marine Laboratory and marine scientists in Israel join forces to study some of the toughest challenges facing oceans worldwide.

Grant funds will help Mote and Israeli researchers travel and partner on much-needed studies of topics like ocean acidification — a major threat to coral reefs — and fisheries enhancement and sustainable aquaculture — promising methods of boosting depleted fish populations and supporting more sustainable seafood production.

This work is at the heart of the Mote-Israel Cooperative Marine Research Program, which was created in 2011 to support research initiatives that benefit the marine environments of both nations, fund travel between the U.S. and Israel for researchers and support postdoctoral research scientists. The new grant is the second one from the Jewish Federation to support the Mote-Israel Cooperative Program.

”The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee is thrilled to partner once again with the Mote-Israel Cooperative Program,” said Howard Tevlowitz, the Federation’s Executive Director. “Through grants such as this one, our Federation is able to build and strengthen ties between the Sarasota-Manatee community and Israel. We continue to be impressed with the efforts of the scientists involved with this worthwhile project.”

Mote has a long history of research in Israel and collaborations with scientists there. Mote’s Founding Director, famous “Shark Lady” Dr. Eugenie Clark, conducted some of her early fish and shark research in the 1950s with colleagues in the Red Sea. Mote’s President and CEO, Dr. Michael P. Crosby, has worked closely with top Israeli researchers since 1994. He led U.S., Israeli and Jordanian partners in the Red Sea Marine Peace Park Cooperative Research, Monitoring and Management Program — an effort to protect coral reefs that support thousands of species in the Gulf of Aqaba. Crosby is also a former chairman of the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation Board of Governors and has served on the Board since he was appointed by the U.S. State Department in 2002.

“Our long history of working with Israeli scientists is bringing about significant benefits for our oceans and for marine science, and these team efforts stand ready to achieve even greater results with each new generous contribution from our community,” Crosby said. “We are immensely grateful that the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee has recognized and seized this wonderful opportunity to benefit both our nations.”

The latest successes from the Mote-Israeli Cooperative Program include:

  • In 2013, Mote and the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences (IUI) in Eilat, Israel, co-hosted a groundbreaking international workshop on ocean acidification, climate change and corals where researchers from six nations exchanged knowledge and partnered for a marathon of intensive, novel studies.
  • This spring, Mote and IUI leaders will sign a memorandum of understanding to seek further support for scientific faculty, postdoctoral and graduate students to travel between Israel and Mote. The MOU is also designed to support new research initiatives in ocean acidification, ecology of coral reefs, sharks and butterflyfish, marine biomedicine and many other key subjects shared by these two world-class marine science organizations.

To make a donation to the Mote-Israel Cooperative Program, please contact Tom Waters at: 941-388-4441, ext. 352 or