Mote Marine Laboratory celebrates its 50th anniversary this week. The lab was incorporated June 13th 1955. Sarasota City commissioners declared this “Mote Marine Laboratory Week.” Similar proclamations have also come from county commissions and five nearby cities. Mote started out as a tiny operation in Cape Haze after philanthropist William Vanderbilt asked noted shark researcher Dr. Eugenie Clark if she would start a marine lab in Florida. She headed the lab for ten years. It’s gone on to serve as a local, national and international resource, furthering the understanding of the oceans through research. Ocean explorer Dr. Sylvia Earle, whose career now includes more than 60 expeditions worldwide and more than 7000 hours underwater, started at Mote.
“I had the great pleasure of being at the Mote Marine Laboratory before it was called the Mote Marine Laboratory. Eugenie Clark took me under her flipper when I was a student so I got to see the very beginnings of what now has blossomed into this magnificent institution that include education, research. It includes exploration and even merging into policy.”
Mote scientists have gained a worldwide reputation for studies on sharks, red tide, river and estuary ecology, marine mammals, sea turtles and coral reefs. Over the last 20 years, the lab has rescued, rehabilitated and released several hundred whales, dolphins and sea turtles. It also attracts 400,000 visitors a year making it one of Sarasota County’s largest tourist destinations.
Tuesday, 14 June 2005 01:00