Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

Sarasota, FL, United States

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

Sarasota, FL, United States

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Hollenbeck C.M.,Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi | Portnoy D.S.,Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi | Wetzel D.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | Sherwood T.A.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | And 2 more authors.
G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics | Year: 2017

Developments in next-generation sequencing allow genotyping of thousands of genetic markers across hundreds of individuals in a cost-effective manner. Because of this, it is now possible to rapidly produce dense genetic linkage maps for nonmodel species. Here, we report a dense genetic linkage map for red drum, a marine fish species of considerable economic importance in the southeastern United States and elsewhere. We used a prior microsatellite-based linkage map as a framework and incorporated 1794 haplotyped contigs derived from high-throughput, reduced representation DNA sequencing to produce a linkage map containing 1794 haplotyped restriction-site associated DNA (RAD) contigs, 437 anonymous microsatellites, and 44 expressed sequence-tag-linked microsatellites (EST-SSRs). A total of 274 candidate genes, identified from transcripts from a preliminary hydrocarbon exposure study, were localized to specific chromosomes, using a shared synteny approach. The linkage map will be a useful resource for red drum commercial and restoration aquaculture, and for better understanding and managing populations of red drum in the wild. © 2017 Hollenbeck et al.


Bauer G.B.,New College of Florida | Bauer G.B.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | Gaspard Iii J.C.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | Gaspard Iii J.C.,University of Florida | And 6 more authors.
Marine Mammal Science | Year: 2012

Abstract: Two male Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) demonstrated sensitive tactile discrimination in a two-alternative forced choice task, using a modified staircase method. Stimuli were acrylic plates with vertical gratings of ridges and grooves. The standard stimulus, present on every trial, had 2 mm gratings and the comparison stimuli had wider gratings. The blindfolded subjects were trained to demonstrate discrimination by pressing the target with wider gratings. Discrimination thresholds (75% correct) for the subjects were 2.05 mm and 2.15 mm, corresponding to Weber fractions of 0.025 and 0.075, respectively. These results indicate thresholds on similar stimuli comparable to humans (index finger tasks) and better than harbor seals, Phoca vitulina, and the closely related Antillean manatee, Trichechus manatus manatus. Memory for the tactile task was quite stable for both subjects, over 2 yr in the case of one of the subjects. Video analysis of responses indicated that bristle-like hairs, perioral bristles, and skin on the oral disk were involved in the discrimination response. © 2012 by the Society for Marine Mammalogy.


Martin K.J.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | Martin K.J.,University of South Florida | Martin K.J.,Loggerhead Marinelife Center | Alessi S.C.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Experimental Biology | Year: 2012

The purpose of this study was to compare underwater behavioral and auditory evoked potential (AEP) audiograms in a single captive adult loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). The behavioral audiogram was collected using a go/no-go response procedure and a modified staircase method of threshold determination. AEP thresholds were measured using subdermal electrodes placed beneath the frontoparietal scale, dorsal to the midbrain. Both methods showed the loggerhead sea turtle to have low frequency hearing with best sensitivity between 100 and 400 Hz. AEP testing yielded thresholds from 100 to 1131 Hz with best sensitivity at 200 and 400 Hz (110dBre.1 μPa). Behavioral testing using 2 s tonal stimuli yielded underwater thresholds from 50 to 800Hz with best sensitivity at 100Hz (98dBre.1 uPa). Behavioral thresholds averaged 8dB lower than AEP thresholds from 100 to 400Hz and 5dB higher at 800Hz. The results suggest that AEP testing can be a good alternative to measuring a behavioral audiogram with wild or untrained marine turtles and when time is a crucial factor. © 2012. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


Reep R.L.,University of Florida | Gaspard J.C.,University of Florida | Gaspard J.C.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | Sarko D.,Vanderbilt University | And 5 more authors.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences | Year: 2011

Aquatic mammals use vibrissae to detect hydrodynamic stimuli over a range from 5 to 150 Hz, similar to the range detected by lateral line systems in fishes and amphibians. Manatees possess ∼5,300 vibrissae distributed over the body, innervated by ∼209,000 axons. This extensive innervation devoted to vibrissae follicles is reflected in enlarged, elaborate somatosensory regions of the gracile, cuneate, and Bischoff's brain-stem nuclei, ventrobasal thalamus, and presumptive somatosensory cortex. Our preliminary psychophysical testing indicates that in Florida and Antillean manatees the Weber fraction for detection thresholds for grating textures ranges from 0.025 to 0.14. At the lower end of this range, sensitivity is comparable to human index finger thresholds. For hydrodynamic stimuli of 5-150 Hz, detection threshold levels for manatees using facial or postfacial vibrissae were substantially lower than those reported for harbor seals and similar to reports of sensitivity for the lateral line systems of some fish. Our findings suggest that the facial and postfacial vibrissae are used to detect hydrodynamic stimuli, whereas only the facial vibrissae are used for direct contact investigation. © 2011 New York Academy of Sciences.


Gaspard III J.C.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | Gaspard III J.C.,University of Florida | Bauer G.B.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | Bauer G.B.,New College of Florida | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Experimental Biology | Year: 2012

Manatees inhabit turbid, shallow-water environments and have been shown to have poor visual acuity. Previous studies on hearing have demonstrated that manatees possess good hearing and sound localization abilities. The goals of this research were to determine the hearing abilities of two captive subjects and measure critical ratios to understand the capacity of manatees to detect tonal signals, such as manatee vocalizations, in the presence of noise. This study was also undertaken to better understand individual variability, which has been encountered during behavioral research with manatees. Two Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) were tested in a go/no-go paradigm using a modified staircase method, with incorporated 'catch' trials at a 1:1 ratio, to assess their ability to detect single-frequency tonal stimuli. The behavioral audiograms indicated that the manatees' auditory frequency detection for tonal stimuli ranged from 0.25 to 90.5 kHz, with peak sensitivity extending from 8 to 32 kHz. Critical ratios, thresholds for tone detection in the presence of background masking noise, were determined with oneoctave wide noise bands, 7-12 dB (spectrum level) above the thresholds determined for the audiogram under quiet conditions. Manatees appear to have quite low critical ratios, especially at 8 kHz, where the ratio was 18.3 dB for one manatee. This suggests that manatee hearing is sensitive in the presence of background noise and that they may have relatively narrow filters in the tested frequency range. © 2012. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


Tripp K.M.,Florida College | Verstegen J.P.,University of Florida | Deutsch C.J.,Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission | Bonde R.K.,U.S. Geological Survey | And 4 more authors.
Zoo Biology | Year: 2011

The study objectives were to determine the predominant manatee glucocorticoid; validate assays to measure this glucocorticoid and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH); determine diagnostic thresholds to distinguish physiological vs. pathological concentrations; identify differences associated with sex, age class, female reproductive status, capture time, and lactate; and determine the best methods for manatee biologists and clinicians to diagnose stress. Cortisol is the predominant manatee glucocorticoid. IMMULITE 1000 assays for cortisol and ACTH were validated. Precision yielded intra- and inter-assay coefficients of variation for serum cortisol: ≤23.5 and ≤16.7%; and ACTH: ≤6.9 and ≤8.5%. Accuracy resulted in a mean adjusted R2≥0.87 for serum cortisol and ≥0.96 for ACTH. Assay analytical sensitivities for cortisol (0.1μg/dl) and ACTH (10.0pg/ml) were verified. Methods were highly correlated with another IMMULITE 1000 for serum cortisol (r=0.97) and ACTH (r=0.98). There was no significant variation in cortisol or ACTH with sex or age class and no correlation with female progesterone concentrations. Cortisol concentrations were highest in unhealthy manatees, chronically stressed by disease or injury. ACTH was greatest in healthy free-ranging or short-term rehabilitating individuals, peracutely stressed by capture and handling. Cortisol concentrations ≥1.0μg/dl were diagnostic of chronic stress; ACTH concentrations ≥87.5pg/ml were diagnostic of peracute stress. In healthy long-term captive manatees, cortisol (0.4±0.2μg/dl) and ACTH (47.7±15.9pg/ml) concentrations were lower than healthy free-ranging, short-term rehabilitated or unhealthy manatees. Capture time was not significantly correlated with cortisol; ACTH correlation was borderline significant. Cortisol and ACTH were positively correlated with lactate. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


News Article | October 23, 2015
Site: www.nature.com

Cuba is surrounded by sharks. Fishermen catch them, residents eat them and, increasingly, tourists are coming to see them. Now the island nation is gearing up to manage them, and its efforts are bolstering a nascent environmental partnership with the United States. “It’s a big step forward for Cuba and the region,” says Jorge Angulo-Valdés, head of the Marine Conservation Group at the University of Havana’s Center for Marine Research and a visiting professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville. “It’s time for us to get together, identify common goals in resource management and make them work.” On 21 October, Cuba plans to release a management plan that will lay the groundwork for research and, eventually, regulations to protect extensive but largely undocumented shark and ray populations. Roughly half of the 100 species of shark resident in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico have been seen in Cuban waters, including some — such as the whitetip (Carcharhinus longimanus) and longfin mako (Isurus paucus) — that have experienced sharp declines elsewhere. The Cuban government has consulted with environmentalists and academics from the United States and other countries in developing the plan. “Cuba is a kind of biodiversity epicentre for sharks,” says Robert Hueter, director of the Center for Shark Research at the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota, Florida, who is one of those working with the Cuban scientists. “The science is not at a level yet to do rigorous stock estimates, but we are moving in that direction with this plan.” Most of what is known about Cuba’s shark populations has come from the fishing industry, which often captures sharks as by-products of its regular operations. The Cuban government has already established marine protected areas along 20% of its coastline and is planning to expand that network within the 70,000 square kilometres of its coastal fishery. It has also begun to regulate the equipment used in fishing, and is looking to establish catch limits for various fish species, including sharks. Both US and Cuban scientists say that the collaboration is helping to pave the way for more formal cooperation now that the two cold-war foes have re-established political relations. In April, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sent a research vessel on a cruise around the island with Cuban scientists. And on 5 October, US secretary of state John Kerry and Cuban officials announced at an oceans conference in Chile that the two nations were finalizing plans to cooperate on research, education and management in marine protected areas. The agreement could be finalized as early as next month, says Billy Causey, regional director for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in Key West, Florida. US environmentalists began pushing the idea of cooperation with Cuba on marine conservation after the 2008 election of President Barack Obama, who pledged during the campaign to engage with Cuba. The first signs of real progress came in September 2009, says Daniel Whittle, who heads the Cuba programme for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), an environmental group based in New York City. Then, the United States allowed four Cuban scientists, three of whom were marine and coastal researchers, to attend a series of meetings in the country. And in November last year, Angulo-Valdés was part of a cadre of Cuban scientists that visited the state department and several members of Congress. A month later, Obama ordered the restoration of diplomatic ties with Cuba. “It’s slowly beginning to change,” says Whittle, referring to links between the nations. “That’s why the announcement in Chile was so significant: finally the two governments publicly acknowledged that they are in fact working directly together on environmental issues.” The EDF and other conservation groups have been trying to build cooperation between Cuba, Mexico and the United States within the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA’s April cruise, which focused on tallying the larvae of bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in Cuban and Mexican waters, marked the first formal government engagement on that front since Obama’s December announcement, Causey says. The main question facing the shark-management plan is whether the Cuban government will be able to mobilize enough money to implement it. The EDF and other groups have been raising funds to pay for some of the initial work on the plan, including training fishing crews to identify and report the sharks that they catch. But scientists need to conduct population surveys that are independent of those done by commercial fisheries, and Cuban research institutions are already stretched thin. The country has only two operational research vessels, and scarce resources to equip and operate them. The kind of tags needed to track shark movements through satellites can cost US$2,500 each. So far, Cuba has tagged just four sharks with such devices. “We have to see how the government implements the plan, and how they get around the funding problem,” Angulo-Valdés says. “It’s going to be a challenge.”


Montie E.W.,University of South Carolina | Manire C.A.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | Mann D.A.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | Mann D.A.,University of SouthFlorida
Journal of Experimental Biology | Year: 2011

In June 2008, two pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata) were stranded alive near Boca Grande, FL, USA, and were taken into rehabilitation. We used this opportunity to learn about the peripheral anatomy of the auditory system and hearing sensitivity of these rare toothed whales. Three-dimensional (3-D) reconstructions of head structures from X-ray computed tomography (CT) images revealed mandibles that were hollow, lacked a bony lamina medial to the pan bone and contained mandibular fat bodies that extended caudally and abutted the tympanoperiotic complex. Using auditory evoked potential (AEP) procedures, the modulation rate transfer function was determined. Maximum evoked potential responses occurred at modulation frequencies of 500 and 1000 Hz. The AEP-derived audiograms were U-shaped. The lowest hearing thresholds occurred between 20 and 60 kHz, with the best hearing sensitivity at 40 kHz. The auditory brainstem response (ABR) was composed of seven waves and resembled the ABR of the bottlenose and common dolphins. By changing electrode locations, creating 3-D reconstructions of the brain from CT images and measuring the amplitude of the ABR waves, we provided evidence that the neuroanatomical sources of ABR waves I, IV and VI were the auditory nerve, inferior colliculus and the medial geniculate body, respectively. The combination of AEP testing and CT imaging provided a new synthesis of methods for studying the auditory system of cetaceans. © 2011. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


“Take a deep breath and hold it for a second. That one is coming from the trees and the greenery and the rainforests all around. You can let it out. Now take a second breath. That second breath is not coming from the rainforests or from the greenery. That second breath — 50 percent of the world’s oxygen — is coming from the oceans. Everything we are doing here today ties in with that.” Nigel Mould reminds us to breathe, to contemplate the oceans, and to contemplate the air we breathe. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium had the honor of hosting the 6th annual National Drive Electric Week in Sarasota, Florida, dubbed “Electrify the Island.” The 6th annual National Drive Electric Week is breaking records with over 200 cities participating. Five years ago, when Sarasota began supporting the widespread event, the city was one of only 29 cities actively participating in this educational event. This year, there were 241 events globally. Nigel spoke at the Sarasota event and shed light on a broader variety of environmental matters — such as avoiding the use of plastics. He works as an instrumental natural force at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. This year’s National Drive Week splashed open brightly on September 10 in the sunshine state. Clean air initiatives so dear to my heart and lungs (and everyone’s, whether they know it or not) routinely find the support of a pleasant crowd of EV enthusiasts. I met some very early EV adopters at Electrify the Island, such as Bernard & Shirley Friedland, a truly lovely and harmonious couple. It was easy to enjoy the kindred spirits of the morning engaged in one positive conversation after another. This EV community is such an uplifting one. The event I attended at Mote Marine was an invigorating event filled with an agile flow of common sense. Although a diverse group of folks, I found the attendees actively on the same page. Meandering in I met Mark Malkasian, as I did promptly when arriving at the EcoFriendlyFloridaFest. Mike is always prepared to answer a multitude of questions about his Tesla — before you even ask — via his informative signs. Thank you to Nigel Mould, Larry Chanin, and Chris Sharek (yet again) for driving the event at Mote Marine. National Drive Electric Day has been going strong for five years in Sarasota, since 2011. Chris Sharek mentioned that, 5 years ago, we had a choice of 3 different kinds of EVs. Things have changed. Good things are happening in Sarasota, with thoughtful urban infrastructure supporting EVs. There is one area of pressing concern, however. As a one-time avid bicyclist, I believe Sarasota needs more protected bicycle lanes. Talking to the owner of a Sarasota electric bicycle shop, Michael Weatherby, I was saddened to hear more about the ongoing concern. The city wants to do away with the only adequate bicycle lane on Fruitville Road. Weatherby provided electric bicycles for the event, as well as bicycle policy education. The bicycle lane infrastructure policymakers need a good lesson from M. Colville-Andersen. The lanes need to be improved, not dismissed simply because some drivers have a problem with them. Take the lanes away?! If Sarasota is really so green, this bicycle lane issue is a tremendous blind spot. We need to keep those bicycle lanes and much more quickly increase the number of protected bicycles lanes in the city. As well as pushing EVs, Sarasota needs to protect bicyclists (and pedestrians). Pedestrians and bicyclists live the lightest carbon life. Not only that, some doctors prescribe bicycling. (Bicyclists stay much healthier than those whiling away hours in traffic.) As much as I love EVs, I feel that pedestrians and bicyclists are environmental heroes and are not being given due respect and infrastructure. Back to the positive stuff, as the Sierra Club notes, “In a year marred by ‘dieselgate’ and polluting diesel vehicles from Volkswagen and other automakers, people around the world are ready for cleaner transportation. This year’s sixth annual National Drive Electric Week will include events between Saturday, September 10, and Sunday, September 18, at more than 220 events where attendees can get behind the wheel of clean, non-polluting electric vehicles (EVs).” Here are more pictures from our Sarasota event: Hendrik was the most exuberant Tesla driver I exchanged EV stories with. He also performed a superb impersonation of Inspector Clouseau (who now drives and charges his LEAF where I do). Gina Coplon-Newfield, the Sierra Club’s Electric Vehicle Initiative Director, stated: “With more than 220 events around the globe and more plug-in electric vehicles on the market and on the road than ever before, National Drive Electric Week is the perfect opportunity for American consumers who want 21st-century solutions to climate disruption.” I will be following up with more National Drive Electric Day stories in the coming weeks. Thanks to all of the EV owners at the event whose names I did not get. Transition From The Chevy Volt To The Model S, & This Insight: The Vehicle Will Actually Get Cleaner As It Ages Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store!   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.


Sneed J.M.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | Sharp K.H.,Eckerd College | Ritchie K.B.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | Paul V.J.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2014

Microbial biofilms induce larval settlement for some invertebrates, including corals; however, the chemical cues involved have rarely been identified. Here, we demonstrate the role of microbial biofilms in inducing larval settlement with the Caribbean coral Porites astreoides and report the first instance of a chemical cue isolated from a marine biofilm bacterium that induces complete settlement (attachment and metamorphosis) of Caribbean coral larvae. Larvae settled in response to natural biofilms, and the response was eliminated when biofilms were treated with antibiotics. A similar settlement response was elicited by monospecific biofilms of a single bacterial strain, Pseudoalteromonas sp. PS5, isolated from the surface biofilm of a crustose coralline alga. The activity of Pseudoalteromonas sp. PS5 was attributed to the production of a single compound, tetrabromopyrrole (TBP), which has been shown previously to induce metamorphosis without attachment in Pacific acroporid corals. In addition to inducing settlement of brooded larvae (P. astreoides), TBP also induced larval settlement for two broadcastspawning species, Orbicella (formerly Montastraea) franksi and Acropora palmata, indicating that this compound may have widespread importance among Caribbean coral species. © 2014 The Authors Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

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