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Special Collections: Marine Macroalgae Herbarium

About the Herbarium

The Herbarium was established by scientists Eugenie Clark and Sylvia Earle in 1955, at the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory in Placida, Florida. It grew gradually during the next decade, featuring the algae of Lemon Bay, Gasparilla Sound, and the Gulf of Mexico near Gasparilla Island.

When Mote moved to Siesta Key, near Sarasota, Earle enlisted a professional artist, Susanna Dudley, to assist in the collection, identification, preservation, and curation of new macroalgae specimens. A volunteer at first, Dudley became enchanted by algae and pursued advanced phycology courses, and field and lab work, at the University of South Florida and the University of New Hampshire. She was an avid collector and an expert at the artistic presentation of marine algae.  She was said to have “dazzled visitors with the beauty of these plants from beneath the sea.” She was named a research associate in 1971, working first at Siesta Key and then at Mote’s Sarasota laboratory on City Island in 1978 and 1979, until her death.

The collection contains 2,829 specimen records that are 100% georeferenced and digitally imaged. About 90 percent of 271 taxa (in 64 families and 120 genera) from 7 U.S. states and 7 foreign countries are identified to species.  Dudley was aided in her work by 36 collaborators at other institutions. The herbarium also houses about 3,600 uncatalogued microscopic specimen cards and 5.5 linear ft. of unfinished material, as well as Dudley’s personal logs and indexes. All materials are kept in air- and water-tight herbarium cases in a temperature and humidity controlled room at Mote’s City Island campus.

Contact the Herbarium Curator

For more information, call or email

E.D. Estevez, Ph.D.
Curator, Mote Herbarium

Access Mote's Herbarium Collection Online

With support from the National Science Foundation, 768,725 macroalgae specimens from 49 herbaria, including Mote’s, located in the continental U.S. plus Hawaii and Guam have been digitally imaged, databased, and geo-referenced.

A web portal to all herbarium materials is now available. The portal can search collections, specimen images, and maps; a spatial module is also provided. 

To search the Macroalgal Herbarium Consortium Portal, visit:

To search Mote's collection from the portal’s home page:

  • click on Search Collections
  • Deselect All 
  • select Mote Marine Lab (MOT) 
  • click on Search