A Day in the Life of Mote Veterinarian Dr. Abe Robinson

One day with Abe Robinson, clinical veterinarian and research fellow at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium.

By Sarasota Magazine December 30, 2014 Published in the December 2014 issue of Sarasota Magazine

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As Mote’s clinical veterinarian, 35-year-old Dr. Abe Robinson takes care of every creature in the aquarium and research programs. The Texas native, who has doctorates in veterinary medicine and toxicology and was a Mote intern during medical school, joined the staff about a year ago and says this is his dream job. “No day is ever the same,” says Robinson, whether it involves figuring out what’s wrong with a sluggish shark, checking on a manatee (this page) or building an operating table with life support system outside the 130,000-gallon fish tank so he could remove a 90-pound grouper’s damaged left eye.


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7:22 a.m. “I start my day walking our dogs, Lyvia and Angelii. I’ve loved animals and wanted to be a vet since I was little. But after doing an alternative zoological lab track in vet school, I realized I wanted to work with more species than just dogs and cats.”


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8:37 a.m. “I work with all the departments on an almost daily basis to see if any health issues are going on. Here Mike Collins, our exhibits manager, and I are discussing plans that will be affecting animals in new exhibits.”


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9:03 a.m. “At least once a week I walk around the entire aquarium to make sure everything is OK. The moment you stop looking, that’s when something happens. I’m watching how this shark is swimming—making sure he’s not behaving in a way that would indicate a medical issue.”


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10:20 a.m.  “The X-rays show this turtle has ingested a fishing hook. It happens pretty frequently. Sometimes we’ll sedate the turtle and remove it. If it’s farther down the GI tract and affecting an organ, we may perform surgery. And sometimes it just passes through the digestive tract.”


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11:34 a.m. “I’m performing an examination on one of the recently hatched diamondback terrapins that will be on display in a new exhibit starting around February. He passed with flying colors!”


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1:21 p.m. “We desensitize the marine mammals [by frequently handling them] so they’ll allow us to do health procedures when needed. This is Moonshine—he was stranded in the keys as a calf in 2003. He’s a very cool animal with a lot of personality, the only pan-tropical spotted dolphin in captivity in the U.S.”


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4:08 p.m. “I’m researching alternative sources of nutrition for the fish we raise in aquaculture. The world will need 70-100 percent more nutrition by 2050, and aquaculture will be key. I write my ideas, possible solutions I want to test—everything goes on that board. It’s a playbook for my research.”


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5:17 p.m. “On my way home from work. I did autocross and amateur racing in graduate school and when I have time I like to go to auto racing events. This is a 50th Anniversary Corvette Z06—I bought it in grad school.”


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9:45 p.m. “My wife, Karla (at right), still lives in Texas, where she’s a high school counselor. She hasn’t found the right job here yet. She flew in for the Oceanic Evening at the Ritz; we’re talking to board trustee Penelope Kingman. I love meeting people and hearing how excited they are about Mote.”


To read more Day in the Life, click here. >>


This article appears in the December 2014 issue of Sarasota Magazine. Click here to subscribe. >>

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