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Mote Marine Laboratory to Lead International Conservation Group

Victor Habbick

Here's a troubling statistic: Of the 63,837 species worldwide that have undergone population assessments, 19,817 — or one out of three — are threatened with extinction.

That's according to Sarasota's Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. But the lab isn't taking these numbers lying down. 

This week, Mote announced that it will host a new coalition of aquariums, zoos and governmental and non-governmental organizations to address the needs of sea turtles, sea birds and other vulnerable marine life.

“Traditional thinking has been that if you do good science, conservation will follow as a natural outcome,” said Mote senior scientist John Reynolds, who will lead the effort. “But in reality, the translation from science to conservation is far from automatic. If the social and political will to make change isn’t there, then the conservation measures that are needed will never be enacted."

To that end, the new consortium will enlist specialists in social, economic, cultural and policy issues to work on environmental issues.

Among the consortium's 14 members and associate members are Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Alaska SeaLife Center and The MareCet Research Organization in Malaysia.

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