Mote Marine Lab searching for Eminent Visiting Scholar for Informal Science Education

In the News

Mote Marine Laboratory (Mote), an independent not-for-profit institution established in 1955, has recently adopted a new 2020 Vision and Strategic Plan that seeks to ensure a comprehensive and integrated 21st Century Mote enterprise with research, innovation and public education and outreach programs that are all among the most creative and fruitful in the world. It is critical that all elements of Mote are guided by the same integrated vision and strategic plan. In doing so, all elements will work together to further Mote's overarching mission- The advancement of marine and environmental sciences through scientific research, education and public outreach, leading to new discoveries, revitalization and sustainability of our oceans and greater public understanding of our marine resources.

In order to fully implement Mote's strategic plan, a merger of Mote's Aquarium and Education Divisions, and stronger linkages with Mote's Research Division, has recently been initiated. A key element of this merger is the establishment of the Mote Eminent Informal Science Education (ISE) Scholar Research Initiative. Applications for the position of Mote Eminent ISE Visiting Scholar are now being accepted. The Search Committee will accept applications until the position is filled; however, Mote will start to review applications on December 1, 2012, and may make a decision shortly thereafter, depending on the applicant pool at that time.

The Mote Eminent ISE Visiting Scholar is a competitively awarded 2-3 month sabbatical for an outside scholar to conduct innovative research at Mote on evaluation of best methods for informal science education utilizing and highlighting the full suite of Mote education, aquarium, volunteer and research assets in designing and implementing such studies. Sabbatical salary and per diem will be provided by Mote while other funding sources (i.e., NSF, NOAA, Dept of Education, private foundations) developed by the visiting scholar would cover any other ISE research costs.

At the heart of the Mote Eminent Informal Science Education (ISE) Scholar Research Initiative is the goal of increasing public understanding of our marine resources, or what has come to be known as "Ocean Literacy". Ocean literacy can be defined as an understanding of the ocean's influence on human society and society's influence on the ocean. An ocean-literate person: understands the essential principles and fundamental concepts about the functioning of the ocean, can communicate about the ocean in a meaningful way, and is able to make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resources. When a visitor leaves Mote's Aquarium or completes a structured or informal science education program at Mote, they should have an increased level of ocean literacy.

The Mote Eminent Informal Science Education (ISE) Scholar Research Initiative will significantly enhance Mote's ability to address key goals of our 2020 Vision and Strategic Plan, including:

  • Translate and transfer science and technology development to positively impact human society and the marine environment.
  • Increase public experiences for marine conservation connections and impressions.
  • Increase the number of advanced technology, interactive informal science stations for public use at Mote Aquarium.
  • Deliver responsible marine conservation and sustainable-use focused public service to local, regional, state, national and international communities.
  • Take a national and global leadership role in implementing a new paradigm for improved interactions between and among the often-disparate communities of science, public policy and education/outreach.

As an independent, nonprofit, mission-based organization, Mote's greatest strength has been its ability to define its own agenda and research based on our communities' needs and our scientists' expertise. Mote is committed to being a leader in nationally and internationally respected research programs that are relevant to conservation and the sustainable use of marine biodiversity, healthy habitats and natural resources. We envision a comprehensive and integrated Mote enterprise with research, innovation and public education and outreach programs that are among the most creative and fruitful in the world.

Mote's research extends throughout the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and tropical to polar environments. The main 10-acre campus is headquartered on City Island in Sarasota, Florida, where Mote's Aquarium and Educations programs are also located. The 200-acre Mote Aquaculture Research Park is located nearby in Sarasota County. Mote's other major facilities include a fisheries research station and new education initiative in Charlotte Harbor (Lee County- southwest Florida); a Tropical Research Laboratory on Summerland Key (Monroe County- Florida Keys); and an additional Education Center with small aquarium at the Eco-Discovery Center in Key West. Mote's existing research programs include behavioral ecology & physiology, benthic ecology, biomedical research, chemical ecology, coral reef ecosystem research, coral reef science & monitoring, dolphin research, ecotoxicology, environmental laboratory for forensics, environmental health, fisheries habitat ecology, manatee research, marine & freshwater aquaculture research, marine biomedical research, marine immunology, marine mammals & sea turtles, marine microbiology, marine stock enhancement, ocean acidification, phytoplankton ecology, sea turtle conservation & research, sensory biology & behavior, shark biology, and marine stranding investigations. The Laboratory also includes a marine policy institute. Program details are available at

The Mote Aquarium receives over 350,000 visitors per year, while the Mote Education programs enroll over 25,000 students of all ages per year.

We offer on-site and outreach school programs, a range of public offerings for toddlers to adult audiences and an extensive, award-winning distance learning program to sites throughout the country. Mote Education also operates a Mobile Exhibit that is a self-contained tractor trailer sized traveling exhibit which includes a saltwater aquarium and touch tank. Our programs will use the methods and findings of Mote research to increase science and ocean literacy, and to inspire global marine and environmental stewardship through informed personal choices. These programs will take full advantage of emerging markets and technologies to reach a broad-spectrum, multi-faceted audience. Mote Education staff strive to innovate based on a unified organizational purpose, sound financial management, and a track record of success demonstrated by a strong evaluation program.

The Aquarium at Mote Marine Laboratory opened in 1980 as the public outreach and educational arm of the Laboratory. The Aquarium's living collections include more than 200 species of fish and invertebrates. Marine mammals and sea turtles housed at the Marine Mammal Center include West Indian manatees, a pan-tropical spotted dolphin, loggerhead sea turtles and green sea turtles. Several offsite aquariums are also maintained by Aquarium staff, including a 6,000-gallon tropical reef exhibit at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and a 4,000-gallon aquarium at the main branch of the Sarasota County Library. Mote's Sea Turtle and Whale and Dolphin Hospitals have established an international reputation for excellence in care and treatment of diseased and injured animals, as well as for the frequency with which such individuals recover and are successfully reintroduced into the wild.


The prospective candidate will have PhD or EdD degree, with exceptional records of academic and research accomplishments in the general area of informal science education. Ideal candidate will have attained tenured-ranked university positions or similar types of positions in other institutions.

Competitive applications will focus on research programs that are relevant to conservation and the sustainable uses of marine biodiversity, healthy habitats, and natural resources; will bring or propose new multi-investigator/institutional collaborations to Mote, and will be cognizant of global issues. Mote is especially interested in applications that will focus on ocean acidification related topics, but is open to consider any topics related to grand challenges of conservation and sustainable use of marine ecosystem. All applications must include a research plan for examining effectiveness of innovative informal science education methods and approaches that would be tested at Mote.

Applicants must be eligible to work in the US in 2012 and 2013, and be able to begin and complete this sabbatical appointment in 2013. Term of the 2-3 month sabbatical may be spread over a number of months in 2013, but Mote ISE Eminent Visiting Scholar is expected to conduct sabbatical in residence at Mote.


The Search Committee will accept applications until the position is filled; however, Mote will start to review applications on December 1, 2012, and may make a decision at any time thereafter, depending on the applicant pool at that time. A complete application will be a single pdf file containing:

  • A letter of interest, including employment status and proposed sabbatical term at Mote during 2013 (may be up to 3 months continuous or split between non-continuous months)
  • Academic transcript of doctoral studies
  • Copy of the PhD, EdD or equivalent professional degree
  • Curriculum vitae
  • A 3-page essay describing the applicant's intended research program to be conducted at Mote
  • Letter from the President, Provost, Dean or other appropriate senior executive of the applicant's home institution confirming approval of sabbatical leave of absence for applicant to accept this award if offered
  • Three representative journal publications (in press or published), and
  • Names of 3 references including their complete contact information.

Novel media other than pdf essential to an individual's application may be submitted.

Address cover letters to the ISE Visting Scholar Search Committee Chairman. Applications should be sent to: humanresources [at] Finalists and alternates are expected to be notified as soon as possible after December 1, 2012. Mote Marine Laboratory is an EOE/ADA/E-Verify employer.