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).

Take a breath, thank the phytoplankton

Take a breath, thank the phytoplankton

Phytoplankton - sometimes called microscopic algae - can seem a bit like Jekyll and Hyde. Some produce much of the air we breathe and nourish the ocean's food chain, while others form harmful algal blooms that range from annoying to hazardous for people and animals. The fact is, phytoplankton are really diverse, with lots of scientific groupings having a wide variety of traits ranging from helpful to harmful. Mote Staff Scientist Dr. Vince Lovko tells Hayley and Joe about the phytoplankton in our "backyard," the Gulf of Mexico, including the kinds you might wade through at the beach and never notice, along with one kind that draws Floridians' attention: the harmful algal bloom Florida red tide. The really fun part: Dr. Lovko is planning to test flying drones to monitor algal blooms from the air. Check out the red tide monitoring app mentioned in the show by searching "CSIC Mote" in the App Store or Google Play. CSIC stands for Citizen Science Information Collaboration.  

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As reefs decline, will some corals be fighters?

As reefs decline, will some corals be fighters?

Do you catch lots of colds while some of your friends rarely get sick? Humans aren’t the only ones with variable defenses against disease. Mote staff scientist Dr. Erinn Muller and her colleagues are searching for hardy genetic varieties of corals with the best odds of surviving the coral disease outbreaks and climate change impacts affecting reefs worldwide. Amid sad news about coral reef declines, Dr. Muller and her colleagues are finding hopeful signs of possible resilience in some coral genotypes, while investigating practical measures such as “firebreak” procedures to hinder the spread of coral disease. With scientists' help, can our "rainforests of the sea" tough it out?  

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Marine educator says: Science + you = impact

Marine educator says: Science + you = impact

Did you know that young people have real power in their families’ environmental choices? Did you know that marine science education is within reach, even if you don’t live near the ocean or an aquarium? In this episode, Joe and Hayley discuss these topics and much more with Aly Busse, Assistant Vice President for Education at Mote. Busse’s childhood in rural New Jersey – “cow country” – might seem distant from her current job leading an ocean education team, but she was driven by her fascination for marine science and found a career translating science for the wider world. In today's connected world, more of us can be like Aly – putting scientific knowledge to good use for our oceans. Everyone can check out www.mote.org/education for Mote's Florida-based and digital learning programs. Teachers can check out upcoming professional development workshops here. For educational fun, play "Who Wants to Be A Sea Star?" on Mote's website. (Click the link and then scroll down for the game.)

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Machines and mud

Machines and mud

Tech-savvy listeners: Dr. Jordon Beckler is your guy. Jordon, manager of Mote’s Ocean Technology Research Program, tells Joe and Hayley about: autonomous underwater vehicles that monitor the ocean for harmful red tide algae; an Ocean Technology Club where young people program simple computers to be scientific sensors; seeking better ways to monitor the success of environmental restoration projects; and best of all… mud! Using ocean technology, Jordon studies the chemistry where undersea mud meets water — part of the carbon cycle that influences Earth’s climate.

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Who knows every fish in the Aquarium?

Who knows every fish in the Aquarium?

Matt Seguin, Curator of Husbandry & Records for Mote Aquarium, oversees the care and record-keeping efforts for a staggering number of animal species that Aquarium visitors view every day. Learn why his favorite fish have a special “job” in the Aquarium, how he finds the fun in animal parasite prevention, and how he teaches college courses — occasionally using Star Wars references to make science a little bit cooler. Hayley and Joe are impressed, indeed: When it comes to marine animal knowledge, Matt is a true Renaissance man!

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Delicious, declining stone crabs

Delicious, declining stone crabs

Stone crabs are famous for their delicious claws, but Florida’s multi-million-dollar stone crab fishery has shown declines in recent years. Dr. Phil Gravinese, Mote Postdoctoral Research Fellow, shares his research focused on young stone crabs and the environmental changes that might affect them. Hayley finds a way to mention sea monkeys. Talk of a stone crab lab makes Joe hungry. But seriously: Stone crabs are critical to Florida’s culture and well deserving of the scientific spotlight. Tune in and learn more!

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Marine medic

Marine medic

Sick marine animals need a very special E.R. — should we call it a SEA-R.?  Mote’s animal hospitals have treated hundreds of sea turtles and dozens of dolphins and small whales — patients who arrive with no medical history, no health insurance and no ability to say where it hurts. Lynne Byrd, Mote's Medical Care & Rehabilitation Coordinator, tells Hayley and Joe about the detective work, extensive knowledge and dedicated attitude required to rehabilitate and release marine animals.

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Oh the Hugh manatee… and Buffett manatee!

Oh the Hugh manatee… and Buffett manatee!

Manatees Hugh and Buffett are science stars. As long-term residents of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, they are trained to participate in their own health care - such as giving a voluntary blood sample or being weighed - along with innovative research projects focused on manatee senses and physiology. Their lead trainer and caregiver, Mote Aquarium senior biologist Kat Boerner, explains why manatees are interesting, important and just plain weird. Hosts Joe and Hayley have different reactions when they learn how manatees got their name.

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You wouldn’t feed a bear? Don’t feed wild dolphins!

You wouldn’t feed a bear? Don’t feed wild dolphins!

A great way to help wild dolphins is to leave them alone - and we've got the research to back that up!  Dr. Katie McHugh of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, a Chicago Zoological Society program in collaboration with Mote Marine Lab, tells Hayley and Joe what she's learned as a scientist in the world's longest running study of a wild dolphin population. Sarasota Bay, Florida, is one of many places where people and wild dolphins share the environment. Tune in to learn about the lives of these marine mammals and how humans - including boaters, anglers and coastal residents and visitors - can be good neighbors. That includes never feeding wild dolphins. Resources: Dolphin-friendly fishing and viewing tips Sarasota Dolphin Research Program: www.sarasotadolphin.org Report injured, dead or distressed marine mammals and sea turtles: In Sarasota and Manatee counties, Florida, Mote's Stranding Investigations Program: 941-988-0212 Anywhere in Florida: FWC Wildlife Alert hotline, 1 (888) 404-FWCC (3922). Elsewhere: See NOAA's stranding network phone numbers or get the smartphone app Dolphin and Whale 911.

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