Environmental Laboratory for Forensics
Contaminant detection of toxic stubstances.
Mote coordinates with county, state and federal efforts to conserve sea turtles — particularly loggerheads, since Sarasota County hosts the highest density of loggerhead nests in the Gulf of Mexico.
Mote's Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program includes staff, interns and volunteers who have documented sea turtle nesting activitiy and the status of shoreline habitat for more than three decades along 35 miles of Sarasota County beaches. Their findings contribute to the statewide understanding of nesting trends. Data show that nesting by loggerhead turtles declined and then rebounded in recent years, while green turtle nesting — although very low in numbers — has increased. Nest destruction by predators has also increased during the same time period.
For past years' nesting numbers, visit Sea Turtle Nesting on our Environmental Updates page.
On the beach
Sea turtle nesting season takes place from May 1-Oct. 31 on Southwest Florida beaches. On nesting beaches, light from waterfront properties can disorient nesting female turtles and their young, which emerge at night and use dim natural light to find the sea. Also, beach furniture, trash and other obstacles can impede sea turtles and their young.
Here are some “do and don’t” tips to keep our beaches turtle-friendly:
On the water
Report stranded sea turtles and marine mammals
Mote Marine Laboratory’s Stranding Investigations Program responds 24 hours a day seven days a week to reports of sick, injured and dead marine mammals and sea turtles for animals in Sarasota and Manatee county waters. Live animals are brought back to Mote’s Dolphin and Whale Hospital or Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital for treatment and the deceased animals undergo a detailed post-mortem examination so that we may learn more about the natural history of these animals and evaluate long-term trends in mortality.
Within Sarasota or Manatee county waters, if you see a stranded or dead dolphin, whale or sea turtle, please call Mote's Stranding Investigations Program, a 24-hour response service, at (941) 988-0212.
If you see a stranded or dead manatee anywhere in state waters or a stranded or dead dolphin, whale or sea turtle outside of Sarasota or Manatee counties, please call the FWC Wildlife Alert hotline at 1 (888) 404-FWCC (3922).
Contaminant detection of toxic stubstances.
Investigating the source, fact & effects of toxins in the environment
Developing technologies to produce fish & invertebrates to meet growing demand for seafood & fishing stocks.
Investigating how marine & freshwater chemicals impact public health
The Stranding Investigations Program (SIP) provides 24-hour response to sick, injured and deceased marine mammals & sea turtles.
Basic and applied research on the health and immune systems of marine vertebrates
Studying manatee behavioral ecology, distribution, habitat use, genetics, and population status in Florida.
Studying the biology, ecology and conservation of sharks and their relatives, the skates and rays.
Study of the Ocean's Phytoplankton Community
Long term study of dolphin populations in Sarasota Bay.
Rehabilitation hospital to provide provide state-of-the-art critical care & chronic care for stranded sea turtles and dolphins.
Studying sharks, skates and stingrays as laboratory animal models for basic & applied research
Bottom-dwelling organism response to environmental disturbance.
Studying the impacts of nutrients and physical parameters in riverine, estuarine and coastal environments.
Study of how fish interact with their habitats & how disturbances influence these interactions.
Seeking to develop systems and techniques to grow coral and other reef species.
Understanding processes and environmental factors that influence coral reef health.
Developing strategies for fishery stocking & restoring endangered species
Study responses of ecologically important species to projected levels of ocean acidification.
The Coral Reef Ecology & Microbiology Program studies microorganisms and their role in the marine environment.
Coral diseases are one of the greatest threats to reefs worldwide.
Using technology to further study & management of our local coastal environment.
Quantifying fine-scale aspects of behavior and physiology in a variety of vertebrate species.
Studying habitats and trends in turtle nesting to conserve Sea Turtles.
Research on the life history, reproduction and population status of the spotted eagle ray.