The Karanambu Trust
Ilze K. Berzins

Ilze BerzinsDr. Ilze K. Berzins is a biologist, zoologist, and aquatic animal veterinarian. She is also active in the field of one-health medicine.

Ilze (il-ZEH) holds both a Bachelor and Masters Degree in Biology from Stanford University, a PhD in Zoology from University of California, Berkeley, and a DVM from the University of California, Davis. She is trained in pathology, having completed a three-year post-doctoral fellowship program in Comparative Pathology from The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore. Currently, she is working on a Masters of Public Health through the University Iowa while working as an aquatic health consultant.

Most recently, Ilze served as Executive Vice President for Animal Health, Conservation, and Research at the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. With her team, she was responsible for the health of nearly 32,500 animals, and for the development and implementation of numerous programs within the Daniel P. Haerther Center for Conservation and Research, a center she helped develop.

Prior to her position at the Shedd Aquarium, Ilze was Vice President of Biological Operations and Veterinarian at The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, Florida where she worked for a total of 12 years. Her responsibilities included animal husbandry, health, dive programs, and conservation and research programs. She also helped established The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation and its well received yearly lecture program.

Ilze has conducted field research in a variety of locations, including the Florida Keys, various Caribbean Islands, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, the Guyana National Zoo and the Karanambu Trust in South America, and along the West Coast of the United States at both the Hopkins Marine Biology Station in Pacific Grove, California and at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, California.

She has also held several teaching positions including visiting Assistant Professorships at the University of Hawaii, University of California, Davis, Northeastern University’s School for Field Studies program, St. John’s University/College of St. Benedict, and the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology. Currently she holds a Courtesy Faculty appointment with the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at the University of Florida.

Her committee work includes the Committee for Environmental Issues and the Committee for Disasters and Emergency Issues for the American Veterinary Medical Association. She is currently president for the International Association of Aquatic Animal Medicine.

Ilze joined the Karanambu Trust board in September 2012 as Trustee and Aquatics Adviser.