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Mote announces launch of new Red Tide Institute

Mote Marine Laboratory on Monday announced the launch of its new Red Tide Institute, backed by a $1 million donation from the Andrew and Judith Economos Charitable Foundation.

The institute will focus on developing technologies to control and alleviate the effects of red tide, Mote President Michael Crosby said. With the funding, Mote is looking to expand its staff and add a “world-class expert” on algal blooms to its team of scientists, Crosby added. The Economos’ gift complements a $2.2 million grant that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission provided to Mote last month.

“This is a paradigm shift in terms of how we’re able to ... continue the great, very productive research that we’ve had with FWC for several years,” Crosby said. “But that research, although it’s produced an incredible amount of information ... that’s never really been focused on developing technologies to attack red tide, to actually do something about red tide.”

In the past, funding for red tide research has centered on understanding Karenia brevis, the organism that causes the phenomenon, and monitoring and forecasting efforts. But Mote has led the effort to find ways to manage blooms in real time.