April 24 – 27, 2012

UF College of Veterinary Medicine Logo

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Sarasota, Florida

Site Index

Conference Objective

The purpose of this conference is to address issues bearing on the health and well being of the four principal species of wild marine mammals found in Florida waters: manatees, bottlenose dolphins, pygmy sperm whales and Northern right whales, as well as captive marine mammals at theme parks, aquariums, and zoos. This conference will provide a forum for people working on issues affecting these and other marine mammal species, and provide an opportunity to review their current health status, discuss future directions of investigation, and determine actions likely to produce benefits to their health and survival.

The last FMMHC was held in April 2008, and was attended by more than 200 veterinarians, veterinary students, graduate students, veterinary technicians, academic scientists, field biologists, and wildlife managers. We invite you to join us in 2012 as we address a variety of topics related to marine mammal health.

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Conference Purpose

The conference is designed to bring together scientists, veterinarians, managers, policy makers, planners and partners who are actively involved in and/or affected by all aspects of marine mammal health and welfare. Participants will interact in an interdisciplinary setting to summarize and review state-of-the-art science, healthcare, and management activities, and to formulate goals and strategies for improvements. Attendees will have ample opportunities to share information regarding issues that affect marine mammals during topical discussion periods, poster sessions and networking functions.

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Who Will Attend?


• Veterinarians

• Veterinary Students and Technicians

• Marine Biologists

• Aquarists & Aquarium Keepers

• Zoo Managers and Zoo Veterinarians

• Animal Curators

• Conservation Biologists and Zoologists

• Academic Faculty and Researchers

• Graduate Students

• Policy makers

• Wildlife Managers

• Government Agency Representatives

• Boating Management Specialists

• Population Managers

• Species Survival Managers

• Marine Mammal Stranding Volunteers and Coordinators

• Marine Industry Consultants

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CEUs for Veterinarians

If you are a licensed veterinarian or if you maintain a professional license issued by a society, an association, an occupational licensing board or a department of professional regulation within your state, you may be eligible to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for your participation in this conference. Be sure to contact the appropriate authority who manages your professional certification to verify this conference program meets your state's licensing requirements, and to confirm what documentation is required to earn CEUs.

A Record of Attendance Log will be maintained at the conference where you can sign in and sign out each day and create a record verifying your daily attendance. Within 30 days upon conclusion of the conference, we will mail you a formal "Certificate of Attendance" indicating the actual number of contact hours you accrued based on your participation hours recorded in the attendance log. It is your responsibility to compile all necessary paperwork and provide it to the appropriate licensing board or professional organization with whom you are certified, and to confirm this program content is acceptable based on their individual standards.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Veterinary doctor’s credit hours will be based on one hour credit for each “contact” hour (no less than 50 minutes) of attendance. The preliminary agenda for this conference entails 9.5 contact hours.

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Graduate Students Awards

Two prizes of $1000 each will be awarded at the conference. The Reep-Bonde Prize will be awarded to the graduate student presenting research that furthers our knowledge of fundamental manatee biology. The Bonde-Reep Prize will be awarded to a student whose research contributes to manatee health or conservation. These awards are made possible compliments of proceeds from the sale of The Florida Manatee Biology and Conservation, a book co-authored by Roger Reep and Bob Bonde.

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Call for Abstracts
Submission Deadline:
EXTENDED TO February 17, 2012

Please note: since the deadline was extended to February 17th, notification of abstract acceptance will be extended to March 1, 2012.

The program will consist of invited speakers, as well poster presentations selected from abstract submissions. You are invited to submit abstracts on all topics relevant to marine mammal health and your results and experiences.

Programmatic Topics:

• Virology

• Pathology

• Parasitology

• Histology

• Toxicology

• Genetics

• Emerging Pathogens

• Environmental Hazards

• Veterinary Medicine

• Care and Management

• Marine Mammal Transport

• Marine Mammal Stranding

• Biotoxins

• Right Whales

• Dolphin Health Assessments

• Manatee Cold Stress

• Manatee Health Assessments

• Imaging

• Sensory Systems

• Politics/Legal

• Conservation

All abstracts will be published in the conference book of abstracts. As with oral presentations, posters provide a valuable opportunity for scientific interaction and discussion of issues affecting marine mammal health. Abstracts are due no later than February 17, 2012 and MUST be submitted electronically ONLINE via this web site.  Detailed instructions are provided below. Please be sure to follow them carefully to ensure your submission is received and recorded.

Abstract Preparation and Formatting Instructions:

The Abstract Submission Process Consists of Completing THREE Consecutive Steps:


Step 1. Review and Follow Abstract Preparation and Submission Instructions


Step 2. Submit Presenter Profile Information and Upload Abstract File


Step 3. Print Abstract Submittal Confirmation Form

After you have successfully completed the first two steps, a confirmation form will be instantly generated on your screen confirming receipt of your abstract. Please keep a copy of this form on file for your records. You will also receive an email confirmation, which we suggest you keep a copy on file in your FMMHC FOLDER so you have immediate access to your submission information.

If you do not receive a confirmation form, the submission did not go through. It is your responsibility to follow-up and contact Sharon Borneman (email: spb@ufl.edu)  if you do not receive an email confirming your submission. To verify the status of your abstract contact: Roger Reep, Tel: 352-294-4059; Email: reep@mbi.ufl.edu  

Step 1: Review & Follow Abstract Preparation and Submission Instructions

  • Abstracts should ONLY be submitted as either a Microsoft Word or a Rich Text Format file

  • Files must be named with ONLY letters or numbers, or combinations thereof. Symbols (dashes, etc.), spaces or commas will not properly transmit. Do NOT use a space in your abstract file name or it will NOT transmit.
    EXAMPLES: INCORRECT: Smith_J, V-2.doc ||
    CORRECT: SmithJR2.doc

  • Abstracts should be no longer than ONE (1) page in length.

  • No graphs or figures should be included in the abstract.

  • Use standard "letter" paper size (8.5" X 11"). Do NOT use A4 paper size.

  • Set margins at 1", top, bottom and sides.

  • Use a sans serif font, preferably Verdana. If Verdana is not available, use Arial. Set font size to 10 points. Abstracts submitted with font size less than 10 points will not be accepted.

  • The title should be short, yet accurately reflect the abstract and later presentation. Attempt to limit the title to one line. The title is a descriptive label, not a sentence.

  • Type abstract title flush left at the top of the page.

  • Type abstract title in upper and lower case, standard title format.
    EXAMPLE: An Overview of Marine Mammal Health Assessments

  • Use appropriate formatting within titles: italics (for scientific names), subscript (for scientific formulas and superscript (mathematic equations), etc.

  • List the senior author first and use Boldface for the name of the presenting author.

  • Identify author affiliations using superscript numeral references SEE SAMPLE BELOW

  • Do not include professional titles of the authors. Include ONLY the affiliation name, city, state and country in abstract listing. (DO NOT include full mailing address at the top of the abstract.)

  • Including title, author, text, and contact information, abstracts should be approximately 250-500 words, at most ONE page in length and should not exceed the space outlined by the one-inch margins.

  • Type the body of the abstract single spaced without indents or tabs. DOUBLE SPACE BETWEEN PARAGRAPHS.

  • Apply bolding, italics, underlining, superscripts and subscripts in your main text as you want it to appear in your final abstract.

  • Include full contact information for the presenting author at the very end of the abstract as follows:
    Contact Information: J. Mark Genesis, Marine Biology, University of Florida/IFAS, 1000 Mowry Road, Gainesville, FL 32611 USA, Phone: 000-555-5555; Fax: 000-555-5000, Email:

  • PROOF, proof and PROOF your abstract before you send it. Do not forget to proof all author information as well.

Sample Abstract:


An Overview of Marine Mammal Health Assessments


Terry R. Brown1, J. Mark Genesis1, and S. Busch2


1Marine Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA

2College of Veterinary Medicine, The University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading, England


This is the abstract main text. Do not tab or indent. Double space between paragraphs. Apply bold, italics, underlines, superscripts and subscripts as appropriate. Use Verdana (or sans serif font, preferably Verdana. If Verdana is not available, use Arial) at a size of 10points.


List senior author first. Bold presenter. Group authors by affiliation. Do not include professional titles. Type affiliation below author lines. Include only the affiliation name, city, state and country in abstract listing.


Contact Information: J. Mark Genesis, Department of Marine Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 USA, Phone: 510-555-5555, Fax: 510-555-5000, Email: jgf@mynet.net


Submit Abstract Online Now!

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Sponsor Recognition & Opportunities

The University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Mote Marine Laboratory are organizing the Florida Marine Mammal Health Conference as a collaborative effort – and we invite you to join us. 


Marine mammals are a vital part of our global environment, and your attendance and sponsorship of the Florida Marine Mammal Health Conference will identify you as a leader in promoting the health and welfare of these magnificent animals. The conference will also provide you with a valuable opportunity to exchange vital information with top experts from around the world about the care and management of marine mammals, marine mammal transport, marine mammal strandings, emerging diseases, environmental hazards and numerous issues affecting their health and safety and survival of the species.


Demonstrate your organization’s ongoing commitment to promote the well-being of marine mammals and join us in the effort. As a participating sponsor of this conference, you will. . .


1.     Learn about the latest advances in marine mammal health issues.

2.     Learn about new technical approaches to marine mammal biology.

3.     Network with colleagues from around the world and share your knowledge, experiences and information.

4.     Establish connections and form collaborations with other companies as well as educational, scientific and governmental institutions represented by conference attendees.

5.     Be involved in discussions to set priorities promoting the health and welfare of marine mammals around the world.

6.     Meet potential clients and forge new business relationships with specialists in marine mammal health care.

7.     Increase brand recognition, generate exposure and enhance awareness of your company’s product on an international level.

8.     Reinforce your organization’s visibility in the marine mammal health care arena as a featured sponsor on the conference web site with a link to your organization’s home page.


Education is the greatest tool available to protect marine mammals and their ocean homes from future damage, and to engage the next generation of global citizens. Communicate your organization’s interests in these worthwhile objectives by supporting this conference and advances in marine mammal health.


Questions about becoming a sponsor? Contact Roger Reep at: reep@mbi.ufl.edu   


A Special Thank You to the Following Organizations for Supporting our Efforts
to Improve Marine Mammal Health Care:

UF College of Veterinary Medicine Logo

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Program Agenda      [Detailed Printable Program Agenda] (As of March 7, 2012)




Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Conference Registration at Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel, Lido Beach


Welcome & Poolside Networking Social


Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Morning Refreshments at Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel


Arrive at Mote Marine Laboratory and assemble in Hendry Conference Room


General Session: Dolphin Health Assessments – Randy Wells


General Session: Manatee Cold Stress Events – Chip Deutsch


Group Luncheon


Poster Session I

3:30 pm-5:30 pm

General Session:

Manatee Health Assessments – Buddy Powell


Thursday, April 26, 2012


Morning Refreshments at Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel


Arrive at Mote Marine Laboratory and assemble in Hendry Conference Room


General Session: Emerging Pathogens and Conditions in Marine Mammals – Martine DeWit


General Session: Imaging for Research and Diagnostics – Alex Costidis 


Group Luncheon


Poster Session II


General Session:

Marine Mammal Sensory Systems – David Mann 


Reception at Mote - Happy hour with hors d’oeuvres


Friday, April 27, 2012


Morning Refreshments at Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel


Arrive at Mote Marine Laboratory and assemble in Hendry Conference Room


General Session: Marine Mammal Politics and Legal Issues in Florida – Katie Tripp


General Session: Conservation based upon Marine Mammal Health Studies – John Reynolds


Conference Concludes


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Poster Directory        (Printable PDF)


Taste Use by the Florida Manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris: The Next Step in Manatee Sensory System Evaluation − Meghan Bills, University of Florida, United States


Oil Effects on the Amazonian Manatee (Trichechus inunguis) in Eastern Ecuador: Evaluating the Risks Caitlin Brice, Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center, United States


Genetic Variation in Detoxification Enzymes of Florida Bottlenose Dolphins Exposed to Harmful Algal Blooms Kristina Cammen, Duke University, United States


Walking in the California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus) Adenovirus Genome Galaxia Cortes-Hinojosa, University of Florida, United States


Verifying Molecular Genetic Tools in a Captive Sample of Florida Manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) and Applying Them to a Wild Sample in Crystal River, Florida Michelle Davis, University of Florida, United States


Methods for Creating a Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) Visual Health Index Mary Gryzbek, University of Florida and Chicago Zoological Society, United States


Sizing it Up: Body Mass Index and Maximum Girth Reference Ranges for Health Assessment of Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Southeastern United States − Leslie Hart, NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/HML, United States


Next-generation Sequencing and De Novo Assembly of the Florida Manatee Leukocyte Transcriptome Margaret Hunter, Sirenia Project, U.S. Geological Survey, United States


Evidence of Lethal Mosquito Transmitted Viral Disease in Captive Orcinus orca  − John Jett, Stetson University, United States


Necropsies Findings in South American Fur Seal Pups (Arctocephalus australis) in Uruguay − Helena Katz, Veterinary Faculty, Montevideo, Uruguay


Reproductive Tract Histology of Female South American Fur Seal Pups (Arctocephalus australis) Helena Katz, Pathology Area, Montevideo, Uruguay


Sex Steroid Hormone Receptors in Ovaries of Adult South American Fur Seals (Arctocephalus australis Zimmerman, 1783) Helena Katz, Veterinary Faculty, Montevideo, Uruguay


Captive Enclosure in a Natural Setting for Rehabilitation of Amazonian Manatees Miriam Marmontel, Mamiraua Institute for Sustainable Development, Tefé, Brazil


Baseline Circulating and Secreted Immunoglobulin G in the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) − Jennifer McGee, University of Florida, United States


Investigations into the Reproductive Strategy of the Female Ragged-tooth Shark (Carcharias taurus) Kristina Naidoo, Univeristy of KwaZulu Natal and KwaZulu Natal Sharks board, Durban, South Africa


A Chronically Entangled Estuarine Bottlenose Dolphin: A Case Study − Wendy Noke Durden, Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, United States


Conserving Endangered Wildlife Species: The Plight of Cook Inlet, Alaska Belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) − Stephanie Norman, UC Davis AND Marine-Med: Marine Research, Epidemiology and Veterinary Medicine, United States


Diagnosis and Characterization of Ovarian Cysts in Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) Using Ultrasonography Daniel Fernando Ramirez, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico DF, México


An Overview of the Visual System of the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) − Don Samuelson, University of Florida, United States


Aquatic Vegetation Analysis from 1996 to 2011 in Kings Bay-Crystal River, Florida, Critical Habitat for Manatees Sophia Schecter, University of Florida, United States


Fecal Progesterone, Estradiol, and Cortisol Concentrations through the Reproductive Cycle of a Female Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) and Comparisons with Behavior Julie Sheldon, University of Florida, United States


The Physiological Role of Zinc in the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) Noel Takeuchi, University of Florida, United States


In Vitro Bbrevetoxin (PbTx-2) Exposure Affects Gene Expression and Lymphocyte Proliferation in Peripheral Blood Leukocytes of the Florida Manatee: Potential Impacts on Animal Health Catherine Walsh, Mote Marine Laboratory, United States


Establishing Behavioral Diagnostic Criteria for Domoic Acid Intoxication in Zalophus californianus Christiana Wittmaack, Nova Southeastern University, United States


Baseline Estimates of Immune Function and Oxidative Stress in Free-ranging Manatees Jennifer Yordy, Mote Marine Laboratory, United States

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Meeting Location Information

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

1600 Ken Thompson Parkway

Sarasota, FL 34236

Phone: (941) 388-4441

Contact: Joe Gaspard

Conference Co-Chair

Manatee Care, Training, and Research Coordinator



The FMMHC will be held at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium located in Sarasota, Florida.  Mote Marine Laboratory was founded in 1955. It has long been a leader in marine research ranging from scientific and clinical studies on dolphins, manatees, sea turtles and sharks to investigations of red tide, coral reefs, and ecotoxicology. Its aquarium facilities support a wide range of public viewing and marine education activities. Located on a quiet peninsula bounded by the beautiful waters and breezes of Sarasota Bay, Mote provides an ideal environment for our conference. 


Conference sessions will be held in the Hendry Conference Room each day. Morning refreshments and registration will be held at the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel. Please refer to the Program Agenda for additional information and location of evening events.

For further information visit www.mote.org 

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Registration Information

REGISTRATION FEE SCHEDULE All figures are in US dollars ($).


If register by Feb. 17, 2012

If register by Mar. 16, 2012

If register after Mar. 16, 2012

Conference Attendee $325 $395 $425
One Day Fee $125 $125 $125
Student Attendee* $150 $195 $225
Guest (ages 12 & above) $95 $125 $150
*Photocopy of valid student ID required. The student fee does not apply to post-docs.
The Guest Fee is not for use by co-workers.

Fee payments must accompany all registrations by the deadline to qualify for the applicable discount.

What Does the Registration Fee Include?

Meeting & Student Attendees: The registration fee provides full participation in the conference including registration, materials and an abstract book. The fee also includes a Welcome Social on Tuesday evening at the Sandcastle Hotel and a Networking Cocktail Social at Mote Marine Laboratory on Thursday evening. A group lunch will be provided on Wednesday and Thursday, and morning, mid-day and afternoon refreshment breaks will be provided each day.

Guest Fee: The Marine Mammal guest fee allows guests 12 years of age and older to attend all three evening events.

Refund Policy: All refund requests must be received in writing by April 3, 2012. A processing fee of $175.00 will be deducted from all meeting participant refunds and $25.00 from all guest and student refunds.

Special Needs: Participants with special needs can be reasonably accommodated by contacting Roger Reep at least 21 working days prior to the conference. He can be reached by phone at 1-352-294-4059, by Email: reep@mbi.ufl.edu  or by calling 1-800-955-8771 (TDD). The TDD number can only be accessed from within the State of Florida.

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Host Hotel Information


Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel
1540 Ben Franklin Drive
Sarasota, FL 34236 USA

HOTEL FRONT DESK: 1-941-388-2181 l HOTEL FAX: 1-941-388-2655

HOTEL WEB SITE: www.helmsleysandcastle.com


Participants of the 2012 FMMHC will stay at the beautiful oceanfront Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel in Sarasota, Florida. Despite the fact it is winter and peak season in Florida, the Helmsley Sandcastle is offering us a very special reduced rate for standard guest rooms of $89.00 a night. This rate is a net, non-commissionable rate, and applies to 1 - 4 persons per room, per night and is subject to Sarasota County sales tax and Tourism Development Tax. (Currently combined to equal 12%). Group discounts apply to Run of House – with the exception of Northside views which are not available at this rate.

Individual reservations may be made by calling 1-800-225-2181 or 941-388-2181
and identifying oneself as being with the Florida Marine Mammal Health Conference. Reservations must be guaranteed with a major credit card, or a one night’s room and tax deposit mailed in advance.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The deadline to make your hotel reservation and still receive the discounted group rate is Friday, March 23, 2012. After this date, guestrooms may no longer be available and the discounted group rate may no longer apply. Our Welcome Reception on Tuesday will be held at the Hotel, so we hope you plan to stay there and enjoy the opening reception activities without the hassle of commuting to another property.


Hotel Cancellation Policy: Individual cancellations must be received by 5:00pm ET, 48 hours prior to arrival in order to avoid a one night’s room and tax penalty.

This service is to assist individuals in locating others interested in sharing accommodations for the conference. It is the individual's responsibility to make contact with other interested parties. Please contact Wendi Malphurs for detailed information: email: wmalphur@ufl.edu 

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Travel & Airport Transportation Information

The two closest international airports to Sarasota are Tampa International Airport (approximately 60 miles from the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel in Sarasota) and Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. (approximately 8-10 miles from the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel).


Tampa International Airport Information
CLICK HERE for Directions and Map from Tampa International to the host hotel, Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel.

Tampa International Ground Transportation Information:

Tampa International Taxi Information:
Sarasota Bradenton International Airport Information
CLICK HERE for Directions and Map from Sarasota Bradenton International to the host hotel, Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel.

Sarasota Bradenton International Rental Car Information:

Sarasota Bradenton International Ground Transportation Information:

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Conference Organizers

Roger Reep
Conference Chair
University of Florida
College of Veterinary Medicine
EMAIL: reep@mbi.ufl.edu

Joseph Gaspard

Conference Co-Chair

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Manatee Care, Training,
  and Research Coordinator

EMAIL: jgaspard@mote.org

Wendi Malphurs

Conference Coordinator

University of Florida

College of Veterinary Medicine

EMAIL: wmalphur@ufl.edu

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Conference Program Committee

Roger Reep, Conference Organizer

University of Florida

College of Veterinary Medicine


Bob Bonde

USGS Sirenia Project


Alex Costidis

University of Florida

College of Veterinary Medicine

Chip Deutsch



Martine DeWit

FWC Marine Mammal Pathobiology Lab


David Mann

University of South Florida

College of Marine Science

Buddy Powell

Sea to Shore Alliance


John Reynolds

Mote Marine Laboratory


Katie Tripp

Save the Manatee Club


Randy Wells

Mote Marine Laboratory

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For Further Information

Meeting Information

Roger Reep
Conference Chair
University of Florida
College of Veterinary Medicine
EMAIL: reep@mbi.ufl.edu 

Registration Information

Sharon Borneman, CGMP
Conference Coordinator
University of Florida/IFAS
Office of Conferences & Institutes (OCI)
PO Box 110750
Mowry Road Building 639
Gainesville, FL 32611-0750
PHONE: 352-392-5930
FAX: 352-392-4044
EMAIL: spb@ufl.edu

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