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Science and Society Forum Nov. 3 at Mote in Sarasota

Join Mote Marine Laboratory scientists, their colleagues from Japan, and several champions of citizen-science on Nov. 3 for a public forum on science and society, which will feature some of the latest successes and opportunities with citizen-science programs in Florida and beyond.

The Public Forum on “Sato-Umi”: Integration of Science and Community in Restoration, Monitoring and Sustainable Use of Marine Resources, will take place from 6 – 7:50 p.m. on Nov. 3 in the WAVE Center at Mote. Admission is free but seating is limited.

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Sato-Umi — a concept that originated in Japan and is gaining ground around the world — is the harmony between human communities and the productivity and biodiversity of marine ecosystems. The concept offers major benefits for Sarasota Bay, from restoring depleted scallop populations to enhancing key fisheries.

Program participants became more knowledgeable about threats to scallops. For instance, they were twice as likely to deem Florida red tide a “severe threat” to scallops — a more accurate understanding — after participating. 95 percent of participants “strongly agreed” that scientific knowledge is important and 45 percent strongly agreed that the community has useful knowledge, regarding environmental challenges. No responder deemed either knowledge base unimportant. This aligns with the Sato-Umi notion that both scientists and local residents have knowledge to share, for the good of local ecosystems. All survey responders felt the scallop program was helping in some way to increase their knowledge about factors such as environmental quality of Sarasota Bay and the ways humans, nature and scallops affect it.

During the Nov. 3 forum at Mote, guests can hear updates about this project and several other exciting efforts using citizen-science and Sato-Umi concepts to support healthy natural resources for all those who depend on them.