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).

Mote Aquarium past, present and future

Mote Aquarium past, present and future

Dan Bebak joined Mote Aquarium as an intern, and over decades he's advanced to lead its operations as Vice President of Mote's Education, Aquarium & Outreach Division. In this episode, he shares his memories from the early Aquarium along with Mote's vision for the Aquarium's future, which is tied closely to the future of the expanding research at Mote Marine Laboratory. Bebak and his colleagues are working hard toward a rebirth of the current Aquarium - as Mote Science Education Aquarium (Mote SEA) - at a new mainland location easily reached by residents and visitors to Sarasota and Manatee counties in Florida. The new Mote Science Education Aquarium will be an awesome new learning hub where science is the attraction. Tune in to hear about the process of creating it!  

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Taking stock of fisheries enhancement

Taking stock of fisheries enhancement

When a fishery declines, can you release fish to aid its recovery – without unintended consequences? Mote Senior Scientist Dr. Ken Leber investigates how to raise and release fishes in ecologically sound ways, a process known as responsible stock enhancement and codified by Leber and colleagues. Learn how stock enhancement took hold in the U.S., why it became a research focus at Mote, how Leber has advanced responsible practices around the globe, and what Florida sportfish was the favorite of William R. Mote, the benefactor and namesake of Mote Marine Laboratory.

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Tagging along with sea turtles

Tagging along with sea turtles

When we spot a female sea turtle on her nesting beach or care for patients in Mote's Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital, we get a snapshot of these animals' long, fascinating lives. However, once they return to sea, these turtles can migrate for hundreds of miles and are mostly hidden from humans. Mote Senior Biologist Kristen Mazzarella is shedding light on their journeys. She fits sea turtles with satellite tags to track where they go, including what threats they might encounter. Tune in as Kristen tells Hayley and Joe what she hopes to learn from the latest tracked turtles.

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Coral reefs of the Middle East

Coral reefs of the Middle East

Some coral reefs in the Middle East are strikingly beautiful and seemingly well-preserved, but will they stay that way as humans alter the environment? Dr. Emily Hall traveled to Israel to study stress on corals, including eutrophication – a big word you can say at parties to sound smart. But seriously, eutrophication (excess nutrients in bodies of water) could be challenging to corals already stressed by global climate change. Joe and Hayley ask Dr. Hall what she has learned about this challenge and what it's like to work in the Middle East, including diving for another project in the gorgeous Gulf of Aqaba. Dr. Hall also shares updates on her U.S.-based work as manager of Mote’s Ocean Acidification (OA) Program, including rebuilding her Florida-based OA research system to make it bigger and better after Hurricane Irma.

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Summer vocation: Undergraduate turned scientist

Summer vocation: Undergraduate turned scientist

School’s out for the summer — some students might take a vacation, but a select 10 college students have found their summer vocation at Mote: a 10-week independent research experience. Mote’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program, funded by the National Science Foundation, has educated and trained more than 150 aspiring scientists since 2003. In this episode, Dr. Cathy Walsh, REU Coordinator and Senior Scientist at Mote, and REU intern Hery Rios-Guzman from Puerto Rico join hosts Joe and Hayley for an inside look at the way top students pursue their research passions with help from a mentoring scientist. What skills does a young scientist need to learn? What advice do Walsh and Rios have for next year’s applicants? And how does Rios’ interest in veterinary medicine relate to his summer study subject, coral reefs? Tune in!

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‘Croc School’ graduate

‘Croc School’ graduate

From crocodilians to cuttlefish, Brian Siegel takes care of several species that capture our imaginations. Hosts Joe and Hayley especially wanted to hear about Brian's work with crocodilians - a group including alligators, crocodiles, caimans and gharials. Did you know that there are only two alligator species? Do you know how gators replace their teeth? Are you curious why Brian attended "Croc School"? That's the nickname for the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' program officially called Crocodilian Biology and Captive Management. Brian, a Senior Aquarium Biologist at Mote, is learning new reptile facts all the time and loves engaging in croc talk.

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Fishes in your backyard

Fishes in your backyard

Waterside residents: You probably have fishes in your backyard, whether you know it or not! Dr. Ryan Schloesser knows all about those fishes in southwest Florida, especially the treasured sport fish common snook. In this episode, he tells hosts Joe and Hayley how he and Mote colleagues release hatchery-reared snook to study their habitat preferences, likelihood of survival, ability to enhance the wild fishery, and more. Tune in for fish facts both practical and fun: How can southwest Florida anglers get involved in fisheries research, how are snook tagged for science, and how hard is it to catch a hatchery-reared fish with your hands? Stay for some nerdy discussion — for instance, why do scientists care so much about fish “otoliths,” or ear stones? Also, anglers should mark their calendars for the William R. Mote Memorial Snook Shindig on Sept. 28 and 29. This catch, sample and release tournament targets snook released by scientists from Mote’s Fisheries Ecology and Enhancement Program and colleagues at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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Deluxe dwellings for awesome animals

Deluxe dwellings for awesome animals

How do Mote Aquarium staff develop exhibits healthy for animals and engaging for visitors? Mike Collins, Curator of Exhibits at Mote, tells Joe and Hayley about the excitement of developing a naturalistic home for Mote’s resident otters, the routine of cleaning fish habitats, and everything in between. How did Mike get involved in the professional aquarium world, why is the yellowhead jawfish one of his favorite fish species, and how does he gather and give great advice for marine animal care and exhibit development? Also, why shouldn't you tap on the glass? Tune in to find out!

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Mote interns: An ocean of possibilities

Mote interns: An ocean of possibilities

Are you seeking a marine science internship? Or simply want to know how Mote works with students from various states, countries and backgrounds?  Mote’s internship guru, Student Engagement Coordinator Gina Santoianni, tells Hayley and Joe how Mote interns participate in lab and field research, aid science educators, apply graphic design skills to ocean outreach, and much more. Students can learn a thing or two from Gina’s own career path, starting with an education and early internships focused on environmental policy, moving through marine science education to her current position coordinating internships at Mote. Whether you want to apply or simply want to discover the work of Mote’s mighty interns, you’ll learn plenty!

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