Mote Marine Laboratory is certainly no stranger to Southwest Florida. Founded in 1955, the nonprofit organization started in a small building nestled snugly in Placida. Its purpose? To study the diversity of Charlotte Harbor. Since then, Mote has grown into a 10.5-acre campus in Sarasota with various field stations around Florida, including Key West. But staying true to its beginnings, Mote recently opened a satellite office in Boca Grande to increase knowledge of, and support for, the region’s important marine environment and its conservation. When the decision had to be made who would run the office, one name rose to the top — Capt. Phil O’Bannon.
A fourth-generation Floridian, O’Bannon grew up fishing the Harbor. He brings to Mote a priceless wealth of knowledge not found in textbooks, and has assisted Mote scientists with their research over the years. Boca Grande resident Andy Ireland will help O’Bannon with running the Mote-Boca Grande partnership.
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