Women in glittery gowns floated by sipping champagne, accompanied by their tuxedoed partners. The hors d’oeuvres tables were piled high with stone crab, oysters and shrimp, and no one could keep their eyes off the live mermaids posed near the bars. But the real surprise was inside the ballroom, where the entire back wall was designed as an aquarium with colorful animated fish swimming back and forth. The best part of the evening: the tribute to Mote’s science and scientists, who are desperately racing to save the world’s coral reefs, keep our oceans healthy and preserve the air we breathe.

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