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Marine Veterinary Medicine

manatee swimming in river

MARVET Florida
Marine Animal Medicine Externship

Veterinary students interested in marine medicine for aquatic species and One Health concepts will participate in a ten-day interactive externship held in Miami, Florida and the surrounding area, including West Palm Beach and Juno Beach. The externship workshops will explore aspects of biology, pathology, husbandry, clinical care and conservation medicine of a variety of marine species, including:

  • dolphins
  • manatees
  • pinnipeds
  • sea turtles
  • fish
  • coral reefs
  • sharks

DATE: June 3 - June 14, 2023
HOSTED BY: Miami Seaquarium, Florida Atlantic University, Loggerhead Marinelife Center, and The Reef Institute
TUITION: $2000
ACADEMIC CREDIT: Two-week externship credit is offered for those students whose veterinary school recognizes the MARVET Florida 2023 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.

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Externship Participants

The MARVET Florida externship is an introductory workshop in marine animal medicine designed for students who wish to explore career possibilities in conservation medicine through an interactive learning format that provides a broad overview of the clinical and conservation marine medicine field.

  • Previous experience in marine animal medicine is not required or expected.
  • Most participants are veterinary students; however, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, biology and ecology students and others seeking an introduction to the marine conservation medicine field are also welcome to apply.
  • The course is not intended for those who already have extensive experience in this field.

Read More About Participant Logistics

Miami Seaquarium
Miami, Florida

  • Lectures from animal care veterinarians
  • In-pool physical examinations of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and West Indian manatees
  • Dolphin ultrasound by park veterinarians and trainers, if logistically possible
  • Introduction to husbandry and dietary protocols in managed marine mammal care facilities
  • Participation in food preparation activities for the park's marine mammals
bottlenose dolphin in marine care facility

Dolphin receiving fluids

veterinarian student examining sea turtle

Examining endangered Loggerhead sea turtle

Loggerhead Marinelife Center

  • Lecture, lab and beach fieldwork format, supervised by Center veterinarian
  • Sea turtle exams, necropsies, medicine, rehabilitation and conservation
  • Introduction to molluscs
  • Introduction to marine birds
  • One Health and red tides (brevitoxin)- environmental implications
  • Introduction to natural ecosystems through lectures and beach surveys

The Reef Institute

  • Lecture, lab and field activity format, supervised by an in-house coral veterinarian
  • Contemporary threats to coral from disease, climate change and pollution
  • Coral culture and reef restructuring
  • Snorkeling survey of coral reef species
coral colony off Florida coast

Coral Ecology

loggerhead turtle

Loggerhead Turtle

Florida Atlantic University

  • Lecture, lab and field activity format, supervised by FAU sea turtle biologist
  • Sea turtle rearing in captivity
  • Beach nesting survey for sea turtles

MARVET Florida Can Help You See It - Feel It - Learn It
Apply today for a MARVET 2023 marine animal externship.

Apply Now

Read what former participants and an instructor from previous marine animal medicine workshops have to say about the quality of the MARVET program.

“MARVET Cayman was the highlight of my summer. Dr. Shields coordinated an amazing program that not only enabled us to learn from some of the biggest names in aquatic medicine but also coordinated hands-on laboratories and activities that helped to bring the information all together. The information presented in lectures and labs was informative and interesting and covered a wide range of topics from invertebrates to marine mammals. The students at St. Matthew's went out of their way to make us feel welcome and the facilities and living arrangements were excellent. MARVET Cayman also enabled me to meet life-long friends and mentors, and I am grateful to have had the incredible experience!”

Alex Mason, DVM
2019 graduate of the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine

“MARVET was a life-changing experience and the highlight of my time as a veterinary student. Lectures consisted of an outstanding amount of clinically-relevant information that I continue to reference as a practicing veterinarian. Numerous opportunities to work hands-on with dolphins, manatees, sea lions, sea turtles and fish provided more veterinary-based experience with marine animals than any other program or externship in the USA. MARVET also consisted of excellent networking opportunities that have led to lasting relationships with mentors in the field of aquatic veterinary medicine.”

Lauren Strazdis, DVM (2020 graduate of Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences) - Course Participant

“Teaching veterinarians and veterinary students about aquatic animal ecology, medicine and pathology on Grand Cayman Island has been an incredible journey. Having been with the program since 2008, I have seen it grow into an even more amazing training course each year. With St. Matthew’s University as our host and the beautiful island as our backdrop - the experience for students AND faculty continues to be enriching and rewarding.”

Dr. Cindy P. Driscoll
State Fish & Wildlife Veterinarian
Fish & Wildlife Health Program
Department of Natural Resources