Hear true stories of marine research! In each episode of "Two Sea Fans," Mote Marine Laboratory scientists and their partners have fun and educational conversations with hosts Joe Nickelson and Hayley Rutger, who love communicating marine science to help listeners become more ocean-literate. New episodes are available every two weeks. Download episodes free by searching "Two Sea Fans" in the iTunes store.

All episodes of “Two Sea Fans” are © Mote Marine Laboratory. If you have questions, comments or an interest in featuring "Two Sea Fans" on your website, please contact Hayley (hrutger@mote.org) and Joe (videojoe@mote.org).

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The bizarre lives of deep-dwelling microbes

The bizarre lives of deep-dwelling microbes

Imagine a hole in the ocean floor with a bottom stretching to 350 feet deep, or deeper. That’s the type of environment Mote scientists and colleagues are exploring as they visit the Gulf of Mexico’s blue holes—underwater caves, springs and sinkholes. In this episode, one of our partnering scientists shares what lives in the depths of a blue hole. Dr. Nastassia Patin, Postdoctoral Associate at the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies from University of Miami/NOAA, just published a paper on the strange microscopic life found in one of these deep, dark, chilly, acidified and low-oxygen environments: the blue hole known as AJ Hole. When this episode was recorded, Dr. Patin was visiting Mote for yet another sampling expedition to explore the tiny life forms in an even deeper blue hole called “Green Banana.” Join Dr. Patin and podcast hosts Joe and Hayley to discover the “alien” lifestyles of microbes in these deep environments, how blue hole research relates to our lives, and which fun fact blew Joe’s mind…

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We’re learning about ocean acidification, and ‘SOCAN’ you!

We’re learning about ocean acidification, and ‘SOCAN’ you!

___________________________________________________________ Today we welcome back our favorite “ocean chemistry nut,” Dr. Emily Hall, manager of Mote’s Ocean Acidification Research Program and Chemical & Physical Ecology Program. Dr. Hall and her colleagues have been scoping out the challenges of acidification—water chemistry changes partly driven by humans—across ocean environments of the U.S. southeast. Acidification is a concern for shellfish, crabs, corals and other marine species populations that support livelihoods. Dr. Hall updates hosts Hayley and Joe on the possible—and sometimes bizarre—impacts of acidification, and how we can help deal with them. That’s the topic of a new research synthesis that she and her partners authored on behalf of the Southeast Ocean & Coastal Acidification Network (SOCAN). Before diving into acidification in the southeast, Dr. Hall shares the latest on another project making international headlines: Exploring the chemically unique “blue holes” in the Gulf of Mexico together with Mote’s Jim Culter and multiple partners who are curious about these deep, naturally acidified environments.

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Toxic topics, beneficial research

Toxic topics, beneficial research

Marine ecotoxicologists investigate some of the toughest challenges we must overcome to protect the ocean—in particular, how toxic substances harm marine animals and the ecosystem. Today we meet Dr. Aileen Maldonado, a Mote Postdoctoral Research Fellow who studies natural toxins and human-produced toxicants in the marine environment. In this episode, Dr. Maldonado gives hosts Joe and Hayley insight into toxic substances that concern scientists, environmental regulators and communities, and she discusses her Mote research focused on mitigation of the toxin-producing Florida red tide and on improving methods to assess the health of corals at risk from pollution and many other stressors.

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Aquaculture in a fish-eat-fish world

Aquaculture in a fish-eat-fish world

In nature, many fish eat other fish—and some naturally engage in cannibalism, eating members of their own species. However, fish farming (aquaculture) operations strive to reduce that behavior and aim to raise as many healthy fish as possible to meet important needs for sustainable seafood and environmental restoration. Common snook, a Florida sportfish raised by Mote Marine Laboratory to enhance wild fisheries, are capable of snacking on their fellow snook as they grow up in aquaculture systems. Mote Postdoctoral Scientist Dr. Flavio Ribeiro is studying how to curb this behavior by investigating its biology and environmental causes. In this episode, Dr. Ribeiro tells hosts Hayley and Joe about tackling cannibalism, also known as "intraspecific prediation," during his career with multiple aquaculture-raised species.

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Where do baby turtles come from? Sea turtle mating systems

Where do baby turtles come from? Sea turtle mating systems

Sea turtles are currently nesting on southwest Florida beaches: laying eggs that will hatch to produce babies known as hatchlings. On April 15, as Mote began its annual routine of monitoring these nesting beaches for research and conservation, our new Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr. Jake Lasala joined the "Two Sea Fans" team to describe the new research projects he is launching with Mote's Sea Turtle Conservation & Research Program. Dr. Lasala studies sea turtle mating systems and other population features to support conservation and management of these endangered and threatened reptiles. In this episode he explains why we need to investigate sea turtle mating and estimate how many females and males might be contributing to a population. He also shares why sea turtles are nicknamed  "hot chicks and cool dudes."

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Animal care is essential during Aquarium closure

Animal care is essential during Aquarium closure

In this episode, Adam Dolman tells hosts Hayley and Joe about the continuing animal care duties Mote Aquarium biologists carry out even while the Aquarium is closed temporarily to protect public health amid COVID-19. In particular, he shares a few highlights on taking excellent care of corals, including the rescued corals Mote Aquarium is hosting through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Florida Reef Tract Rescue Project. Please note: The sound quality of this episode is rough because it's a remote recording made during a time of social distancing. Your Two Sea Fans are working to improve the audio for future remote recordings. We can't wait until we're able to get back to the studio, and we especially can't wait until we're able to see your smiling faces in the Aquarium again. Stay well, everyone!

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Marine wildlife rescue mission never stops

Marine wildlife rescue mission never stops

Our Medical Care & Rehabilitation Coordinator Lynne Byrd returns to the podcast to share stories of the sea turtles being treated in Mote Marine Laboratory's Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital! During this recording on March 31, 2020, many were working from home because of COVID-19, while marine wildlife responders like Lynne and her team continued their essential roles of treating animals in critical condition. Hosts Hayley and Joe joined Lynne for a wonderful conversation—sitting a good distance apart but enjoying the amazing shared experience of talking about sea turtle rescue, rehabilitation and release. Lynne and her colleagues in Mote's Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital and Stranding Investigations Program are a ray of light even in the most challenging times.  Tune in for this fun, fascinating conversation, and get ready for more episodes of Two Sea Fans in the coming weeks!

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After red tide, are snook showing up?

After red tide, are snook showing up?

Dr. Jim Locascio is studying common snook along beaches that experienced major fish kills due to Florida red tide in 2018, to help understand the status of these popular sportfish following this major challenge. Lately, that research has included an uncommon tool: a flying drone that offers a bird's-eye view of these fish in the shallows. In this episode, Dr. Locascio tells hosts Joe and Hayley how he's applying this tool and others, and he shares what he's learning about snook in the wake of red tide.

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Coral ‘matchmaker’ shares the science of reef romance

Coral ‘matchmaker’ shares the science of reef romance

Dr. Hanna Koch has been given many nicknames, including "coral matchmaker" and "coral fertility doctor." She's conducting managed breeding efforts with threatened coral species, part of the coral reef science and restoration mission of Mote Marine Laboratory scientists in the Florida Keys. In this episode of "Two Sea Fans," Koch explains where coral babies come from, how scientists are helping native corals reproduce sexually in a controlled setting, and why sexual reproduction is so important for providing fresh genetics to coral populations that are struggling in the wild. Tune in and add some science to your Valentine's Day! Koch is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the German Research Foundation and Visiting Research Scientist at Mote’s Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration (IC2R3).

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