Loading Events

« All Events

MARVET México 2020

June 6 - June 20

MARVET México 2020 [Tuition $1900usd; WORKSHOP CANCELED DUE TO COVID-19](Playa del Carmen, México [Yucatán Peninsula] ~ hosted by Dolphin Discovery and Xcaret Nature Park; June 6 – 20, 2020) offers veterinary students a two-week interactive workshop exploring aspects of biology, pathology, husbandry, clinical care and conservation medicine of selected marine species, including dolphins, manatees, pinnipeds, sea turtles, rays, nurse sharks, fish and coral reefs. Students will arrive on Saturday, June 6, with a welcome dinner and orientation that evening.

The workshop will begin the next morning (Sunday, June 7) with a day of preparatory lectures on taxonomy, anatomy and physiology of marine mammals, as well as One Health concepts. As the workshop continues, lectures and fieldwork instruction will be conducted by leading veterinarians, trainers and biologists working with a variety of aquatic species in marine parks and in natural environments. Instructors will come from both the U.S. and Mexico.

Dolphin Discovery parks at Puerto Aventuras and on Cozumel will serve as venues for lectures from animal care veterinarians and for in-pool physical examinations of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and West Indian manatees. When logistically possible, demonstrations of dolphin ultrasound and endoscopic procedures will be presented by park veterinarians and trainers.

At Dolphin Discovery, students will be introduced to the importance of dietary protocols in managed marine mammal care facilities and will participate in food preparation activities for the park’s marine mammals.

The workshop will continue at Xcaret, a nature park of regional flora and fauna, which maintains a collection of indigenous marine and terrestrial wildlife. Lectures will be presented by park and visiting veterinarians on marine animal care, conservation programs, marine mammal and fish pathology and marine mammal rehabilitation.

Planned interactive opportunities at Xcaret include capture, restraint, physical exam and blood sampling of mature green sea turtles, physical exams and blood sampling from stingrays and nurse shark physical exams.

As opportunity provides, necropsies on sea turtles and stingrays will be conducted by students under supervision of park veterinarians and a board-certified pathologist. If time allows, students will also be introduced to the park’s flamingo and macaw aviary and breeding program.

Other activities will introduce students to natural ecosystems through lectures and field events. Students will survey local underwater ecosystems, ranging from fresh water cenotes to local coral reefs. On the free day mid-way through the course, the students will have the option of visiting whale sharks in their feeding grounds off the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. The whale shark activity is weather dependent and is not included in course tuition.

On the last day of the workshop (Friday, June 19), students are invited to present brief PowerPoint presentations on experiences they have had in marine conservation medicine – an optional activity, required only for those taking the course for academic credit. These will be followed by a wrap-up lecture, and a MARVET-sponsored dinner that evening. Departures will be the next morning (Saturday, June 20). Workshop lodging throughout the course will be at Hotel Cielo in Playa del Carmen, a small, quaint hotel set in the midst of a pedestrian shopping village near the beach.

The Yucatán Peninsula is extremely rich in archaeological artifacts of the ancient Mayan civilization, as well as incredible arrays of subterranean, water-filled limestone caverns and cenotes. For those interested, MARVET will be a good opportunity to extend your visit in this region before or after the workshop to explore what it has to offer, both culturally and geologically.

Who Should Apply

1. Course Content: MARVET México is an introductory workshop in marine animal medicine designed for students who wish to explore career possibilities in conservation medicine (CM) through an interactive learning structure that provides a broad overview of the CM field. Previous experience in marine animal medicine is not required or expected, and the course is not intended for those who already have extensive experience in this field. While most participants are veterinary students, advance biology and ecology students, as well as veterinarians and veterinary technicians seeking an introduction to this field are also welcome to apply.

Conservation medicine is an emerging discipline that encompasses a broad range of clinical and non-clinical professional interventions, examining links between human, animal and ecosystem health. The practice of CM can involve 1) traditional clinical preventative protocols, diagnoses and therapies as performed daily by animal care staffs in managed care facilities such as oceanaria and aquaria, 2) clinical diagnoses and treatments for rehabilitation of sick or injured free-ranging species, such as in animal rescue facilities, 3) research specimen and data collections and analyses to better understand the dynamics of, and threats to, populations and their ecosystems and 4) collaboration with other professionals, such as physicians, public health personnel, biologists, ecologists, sociologists, economists and policy makers for the formulation of rational and effective conservation policy plans that address the root causes of disease and dysfunction at the level of populations and ecosystems.

Instructional approaches for MARVET México are interactive and include a blend of traditional foundation lectures, focused group discussions, selected hands-on clinical activities, observational clinical demonstrations, observational excursions into natural ecosystems and student presentations.

2. Academic Credit: Two-week externship credit is offered for those students whose veterinary school recognizes the MARVET México 2020 course content as fulfilling curricular goals, either for summer externship or for 4th year clinical rotations credit. Requests for academic credit, along with the necessary paperwork, should be made to workshop coordinators prior to attending the workshop so that attendees can be evaluated in accordance with school guidelines.

3. Logistics: Workshop participants must be comfortable with international travel and are responsible for arranging their travel to Playa del Carmen where the workshop will be based. Most will arrive in Cancun, then take ground transportation (bus or van) to Playa; a second option is to fly into Cozumel, then take the ferry to Playa. Transportation to and from workshop events will be provided by MARVET. All students are required to purchase travel insurance for their trip. Course coordinators will suggest possible vendors offering student packages (or these may be available through the university).

With the exception of a few MARVET-sponsored meals, a continental breakfast each day and lunches on field days, students will be responsible for their own meals during the workshop. Coordinators will offer suggestions on food safety and dining options.

While veterinary school schedules are generally very structured and predictable, MARVET workshop activities can be impacted by weather events or logistical considerations at the hosting facilities, resulting in schedule rearrangements in real time. Students must be resilient and adaptable to schedule changes that can occur under field conditions.

The pace of the workshop can be both mentally and physically demanding. All students must be strong swimmers, comfortable in the water and acquainted with the use of snorkel gear (mask, snorkel, fins). In-water experiences may range from facility pools to coastal waters. An optional activity (not included in the tuition) for swimming with whale sharks in their open ocean feeding grounds will be offered during the day off halfway though the course (weather permitting).

There are no scuba activities during the course, although good diving opportunities are available in the region for those interested in taking advantage of this before or after the workshop. The free day off during the workshop can also be used to relax, shop or participate in various sightseeing opportunities in the region.

4. Student Selection: Workshop enrollment is limited to accommodate logistics and to better assure active student participation and personal attention during the course. Qualified on-line applications will be followed by a request for a) a brief resume and b) a statement of interest in marine medicine.

For those invited to attend the workshop by December 15, 2019, course tuition ($1,900.00usd) can be paid in full by January 31, 2020 or, alternatively, a deposit of $800.00usd can be made by that date, followed by the balance on or before April 30, 2020. Instructions for this process will be sent to invited applicants by email.

Don’t hesitate to contact us at info@marvet.org for any questions on the workshop. We’ll be happy to discuss course content or logistics with you further by email or phone appointment.


June 6
June 20
Event Category:


Dolphin Discovery & Xcaret Nature Park
Dolphin Discovery & Xcaret Nature Park
Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo Mexico


(979) 764-9193