Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program

Program Overview
Mote Marine Laboratory (Mote), an independent nonprofit institution established in 1955, has recently adopted a new 2020 Vision & Strategic Plan that includes as one of Mote’s four core priorities, “Ensure the long-term prosperity of the research enterprise through focused staff recruitment and nurturing programs.”  In order to address this specific priority, a new Mote Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program began in 2011 with the addition of two Fellows and a third added in 2013. 

This notice announces the availability of three new positions in 2014.

Two new Postdoctoral Research Fellows are expected to begin between Jan. 1, 2014, and Aug. 31, 2014, with a third Fellow expected to begin by Dec. 31, 2014. The full-time positions include an annual salary of $42,000. Health insurance is also provided for the Fellow, with family options available. Benefits include an opt-in retirement plan with employer matching, leaves for holidays, illness, vacation and other benefits. Postdoctoral Research Fellows will also have established researchers assigned to serve as dedicated mentors and will receive office/laboratory space and funds for startup, operations and travel. Research Fellows will also participate in Mote’s Postdoctoral Mentoring Program.

Each Fellowship position will be for a period of two years (assuming appropriate first-year progress). The Mote Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program is planning on having eight concurrent Fellowship positions overlapping each year by 2020. 

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. Postdoctoral Research Fellows will be selected based on their ability to not only strengthen and diversify the Laboratory’s significant existing research expertise, but also the potential to establish their own innovative research initiatives that address Mote’s new 2020 Vision & Strategic Plan. Exemplary Fellows may be invited to join Mote as Staff Scientists upon completion of their initial two-year appointment.

Mote’s research extends throughout the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and tropical to polar environments. The main 10.5-acre campus is headquartered on City Island in Sarasota, Fla., with a nearby 200-acre inland marine aquaculture research park; in Charlotte Harbor (Lee County- Southwest Florida) with a fisheries research station, and on Summerland Key (Monroe County- Florida Keys) with a Tropical Research Laboratory. Mote’s existing research programs include behavioral ecology & physiology, benthic ecology, biomedical research, chemical and physical 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.

Mote’s present situation creates new opportunities for innovative research, including

  • World-class marine aquaculture facilities and on-site coral ecosystem research facilities
  • Tri-national agreement between Mexico, Cuba and U.S. marine scientists & resource managers
  • Affiliation agreements with the University of South Florida (USF @ Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota/Manatee) and the University of the West Indies (Mona campus and Discovery Bay & Port Royal marine laboratories)
  • William R. and Lenore Mote Eminent Scholar Chair and international symposia in fisheries ecology with Florida State University
  • National Center for Shark Research
  • Florida Sea Grant; Florida Institute of Oceanography; Florida Coastal Ocean Observing Systems Consortium and Mote’s coastal ocean observing laboratory;
  • 1.3 million gallon seawater system dedicated for research purposes
Mote is part of a growing marine research enterprise zone on the Florida Gulf coast that includes the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and three National Estuary Programs (Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, Charlotte Harbor), Southeast Regional Headquarters of the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program, including the Florida Keys, Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, Florida Wildlife Research Institute, USF College of Marine Sciences, SRI, U.S. Geological Survey’s St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center and numerous national wildlife refuges and state aquatic preserves.  Mote is also a member institution of the Florida Institute of Oceanography and Florida Sea Grant.

A Ph.D. must have been awarded by start of fellowship award period and only applicants who received the Ph.D. (or equivalent) on or after December 2010 will be considered. Applications will be accepted in three tracks. Two new Fellows positions are expected to be filled on or before July 31, 2014 and a third will be filled on or before December 31, 2014. All Fellows may apply under any of the following three tracks, but at least one position will be targeted for track 3:

  • Track 1: Applications from any field of marine research including engineering, social science and policy will be considered. 
  • Track 2: Applications are sought that generally focus on population ecology and/or trophic dynamics of valued coastal species, and modeling of coastal ecosystems.
  • Track 3: Applications are sought that specifically focus on population ecology and/or trophic dynamics of valued coastal shellfish species, and modeling of coastal benthic ecosystems.
Equal consideration will be given to candidates working in Mote’s current fields of inquiry, candidates that meld Mote’s current fields of inquiry and candidates who will pursue new research directions addressing issues related to: climate change impacts on resiliency and restoration of coral reef ecosystems, marine biotechnology and ecogenomics, marine conservation science, derived products for human health and quality of life, etc. 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.

Applicants must be eligible to work in the U.S. in 2014-15. A complete application will be a single pdf file containing:

  • A letter of interest and availability, including employment status. Cover letters will specify the track in which a fellowship is being sought.
  • Academic transcript of doctoral studies.
  • Copy of the Ph.D. or equivalent professional degree (Persons with a firm expectation of graduating by December 2014 may apply.)
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • A two-page essay describing the applicant’s intended research program and mentor (See note 1: Mentors).
  • Three representative journal publications (in press or published).
  • As appropriate, the name and contact information of major professor and/or postdoctoral supervisor, and
  • Names of three references, including their complete contact information and availability.
Novel media other than PDF that is essential to an individual’s application may be submitted.

In fairness to all applicants and reviewers, only complete applications will be accepted. Address cover letters to the Postdoctoral Search Committee Chairman. Send applications by email to, using the subject line “Postdoctoral Application,” or by mail to Mote Marine Laboratory, attention Human Resources, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL  34236.  Applications will be reviewed beginning Jan. 15, 2014 and positions will remain open until filled.

Mote Marine Laboratory is an Equal Opportunity Employer and actively seeks to diversify its work force. Therefore, all qualified applicants, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age or other factors irrelevant to the job are encouraged to apply.

Note 1: Program Mentors
Update from previous Fellowship position announcements: Applicants are no longer required to confirm potential mentor availability prior to submitting application.

Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture
Dr. Ken Leber, Associate VP
Dr. James Locascio
Dr. Kevan Main
Dr. Nate Brennan
Dr. David Vaughan

Directorate of Environmental Health & Ocean Technology
Dr. Richard Pierce, Associate VP
Dr. Ari Nissanka

Dr. Vince Lovko
Kellie Dixon
Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick

Dr. Cathy Walsh

Dr. Dana Wetzel
Dr. Jen Yordy
Directorate of Marine Biology and Conservation
Dr. Bob Hueter, Associate VP
Dr. Kim Ritchie
Dr. Emily Hall
Dr. John Reynolds
Dr. Randall Wells
Dr. Carl Luer
Dr. Nick Whitney
Science Governance and Policy
Dr. Michael Crosby (also, coral reef ecology)

2020 Vision and Strategic Plan

2020 Vision and Strategic Plan