Marine Biology Work Experience in Research

Marine Biology Work Experience in Research

This project runs from mid March until mid October.

Marine Research Station Practical Placement  
Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

Placement Fee:  £1,025 for 3 weeks placement

CONTACT us for enrolment information

Fee includes:  

  • All Food & Accommodation
  • Marine Park Fee & Boat transfer
  • PADI Open Water / Advanced or Rescue Diving Course 

Marine Research Station Practical Placement - Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

This is a 3 week practical placement where volunteers get hands-on marine biology work experience by working in a marine research station that involves the local village boatmen in conducting daily surveys to better understand the problem and empower them to protect their own islands.

The corals in Malaysia are suffering largely from tourism due to increased pollution and physical damage from tourists. 

This project is supported by the local villagers, the Perhentian Islands Operators Association, Reef Check Malaysia, Plymouth University and the University Malaysia Terengganu.

Gain hands-on marine research experience!

This is a fantastic opportunity to gain hands-on marine research experience and we recommend this placement as an add on to our Marine Animal and Conservation Courses.

Volunteers assist with seagrass surveys and mapping, coral reef surveys and mapping or assessing the current artificial reefs around the islands.

This placement includes a PADI Open Water /  Advanced or Rescue Diving Course. Volunteers have 1 or 2 dives in the mornings with the afternoon clear for further dives or data input and analysis.

More information about the types of research carried out

Marine research
Biology Work Experience

Volunteers assessing seagrass

Seagrass mapping and Survey:

The seagrass beds are very important as feeding grounds for the sea turtles in the Perhentian Islands.  Our sea turtle photo ID research from 2015 til now has shown that none of the nesting turtles eat the seagrass in the islands but the numerous turtles feeding around the islands are migrating turtles or ones whom nest in other locations, for example one nests in Vietnam.  The seagrass beds in the islands have never been studied thus we don’t know where they are hence the need to map them thoroughly.  You will help to identify the boundaries of the seagrass beds and swim around with a GPS to help us map them out.  You will also help us to conduct a percentage cover survey using the global standard method of Seagrass Watch.  For expert divers you will gain additional marine biology work experience by getting to help our researchers to understand the relationship between the seagrass and the epiphytes like algae living on the seagrass. 

Biology Reef Survey

Volunteers conducting a reef survey

Marine Biology Work Experience in Coral Reef Mapping

 The coral reefs of the islands are not fully mapped in the Perhentian Islands and before any management decisions can be properly made they need to know where the reefs are and what type of corals.  You will learn the Transect intercept method, whereby you follow a transect line and record the start and end of a type of substrate – ie corals such as boulder, staghorn, table, dead and soft or rock, sand etc. The mapping will be repeated for all the reefs around the islands and repeated twice annually to assess the difference before and after the monsoon.

Volunteers carrying out an artificial reef assessment

Volunteers carrying out an artificial reef assessment

Artificial Reef Assessments

The marine parks sunk several structures on the boundaries of the marine park to act as new fishing grounds where the villagers can fish, reducing the pressures on the natural reefs where the villagers currently fish.  These structures were sunk in 2013 and need to be assessed for fish quantities and health before they are opened for fishing.  You will help to conduct fish counts and video transect surveys to help our researchers to assess the FADs (Fish Aggregating Devices).

Other Marine Biology Work Experience in Assessments

You may also be asked to help with collecting information on several other aspects such as collecting data loggers for sea temperature, water quality, turbidity, wave height, salinity etc.  These factors are very important and will help us to better understand the abiotic factors impacting on the reefs and seagrass.

Week 1  - dive course

Week 2  - research training

Week 3 - research surveys

This is a fantastic way of gaining hands-on conservation and research experience and we recommend this placement as an add on to our Marine Animal and Conservation Courses.

Marine Biology Work Experience Project Requirements

1. Volunteers must be over 18 or over 16 with a parental consent form. You will need to have a positive attitude, medium fitness and willing to participate in all volunteer activities. It is also important to respect the local culture and traditions whilst living in the Malay village. Families with young children (6 and above) can participate. UK Visitors will receive a 90 day free tourist visa upon arrival.

2. Volunteers will need to provide evidence of the following vaccinations and medical tests: Hepatitis A; Hepatitis B; typhoid; measles, mumps, rubella (MMR); tetanus-diphtheria

3. Volunteers will need to be able to speak English or Bahasa Malaysia to be able to communicate with the facilitator. 

Perhentian Islands Marine Life

What does the 3 Week Marine Biology Work Experience in Research Placement Include?

What's included:

  •  All Food 
  • Marine Park Fee
  • Boat transfer
  • Mixed sex dormitory accommodation with western toilet
  • PADI Open Water Advanced or Rescue Diving Course
Meals included

Not included:

  • International and internal airfare
  • Visa application/fees
  • Vaccinations
  • Insurance and luxuries
Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

£1,025 for 3 weeks placement 

CONTACT us for enrolment information


Please note that your placement fee does NOT include the following: International and internal airfare, visa application/fees, vaccinations, insurance and luxuries.

Click here   if you would like more information about us and how to enrol

Contact us  to discuss this Conservation Practical

Animal Jobs Direct accepts no liability or responsibility for practical placements advertised on our website. Placements are carried out entirely at the user's own risk.


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