Current Projects

Mote Community Partnership: Scallop Restoration Initiative

In 2012, Mote Marine Laboratory launched a novel Shellfish Initiative for Sarasota Bay that involved international and local research institutions and community-based environmental organizations. The first phase was driven, in part, on the community’s interest in restoring local bay scallop populations. A consensus science-based restoration strategy was developed by multiple stakeholders building on results of previous small-scale local monitoring and restoration activities. Multiple locations throughout the Bay were chosen for restoration based on habitat characteristics, water quality conditions and circulation dynamics. Both larval (pediveligers) and juvenile (multiple size classes) life stages are being used to explore predation impacts on recruitment. Larval releases include both enclosures and free-releases. Repeated releases are occurring at each location. Recruitment success is being monitored using standard and larval spat collectors.

Initial results indicate variable recruitment success with each effort but overall was poor during the first two years. Settlement on larval collectors (11 x 15 cm pads) ranged from 4 to 74 larvae; recruitment to juvenile collectors (1.7 m2 Vexar® filled bags) ranged from 0 to 8 spat. No juvenile or adults were subsequently collected at any of the six sites. Natural recruitment in Sarasota Bay at this time was negligible. Adult populations showed no recovery from these collective efforts.

Project participation involved a blend of agency and NGO professional research staff, “citizen scientists” and local high school students. Long-term success of this initiative in terms of both research and education/outreach will depend upon and be measured by the ability to effectively manage the interaction and interests of all parties. This includes: training, informal science education, structured experimental design with multiple treatments, field releases, monitoring and surveys, laboratory analyses, shellfish nursery operations, data management and quality assurance.

Charlotte Harbor Instrumentation Tower.

In the winter of 2013, Mote installed an instrumentation tower in Charlotte Harbor for the purpose of collecting data for water level, current, salinity (from specific conductance), water temperature, wind speed and direction, air temperature, relative air humidity and solar radiation to support the Southwest Florida Water Management District's re-evaluation of the Minimum Flows and Levels established for the Lower Peace River estuary.

Other Mote Research Programs View All