Tropical Marine Biology and Conservation Internships

Our marine conservation internship team is here to welcome local and international students to further their studies. 

We run a full marine conservation internship curriculum that kicks off at the beginning of every month. You can choose a 2 week, 4 week or 8 week program that you can customize to suit your areas of focus and specialization. 

We organize everything except the flights, you can chat directly with our Head of Marine Conservation to help design your personal program.

You will spend the first week working on our Core Marine Conservation Course. After that, we have a broad selection of specialization modules to choose from – you can read more about those below. 

There will be ample opportunity to dive on our local marine protected area. It’s the oldest in the country and Dibba Rock has a vibrant ecosystem with high levels of biodiversity and a healthy coral reef environment to study. Our shark and turtle population provide additional opportunities for specialized course work.

There is also a continuous environmental monitoring program where we will teach you all the skills required to perform underwater research. 

Learn About Marine Conservation

Freestyle Divers Marine Conservation Course Curriculum
Marine Conservation Curriculum

You can choose your areas of marine biology specialization and focus from our comprehensive Marine Conservation curriculum. The Core Marine Conservation course or the Local Heroes course are the foundation. Once you have completed one of these courses, you can pick your own learning path. That means you can progress at your own speed with the topics that interest you the most.

All of our marine science courses are scheduled to run every month. If you’d like to join, all you need to do is contact us to find a date that works for you and get signed up!

We want to help you optimize your learning experience and help you make the best of your stay with us. So if you need a customized program, contact us and we will craft your perfect educational experience.

We’ll work with you to create your ideal mix of online learning, face-to-face classroom work, practical in-water experience and time in our laboratory. If you are traveling to us from abroad or would just prefer a ‘staycation’ residential course, we can help you design your customized marine conservation internship.

Marine Conservation Module Descriptions
Core Marine Conservation course.
This course is designed to give you a well rounded, in depth understanding of the oceans and the fantastic creatures that inhabit them, before looking at the threats to this environment and what can be done to mitigate these threats.
You can read more about the course here.

This consists of 5 topics:

  • The Blue Planet : Why are the oceans important and how do they help the whole planet to sustain life? What are the chemical and physical limitations of the oceans and how does this affect marine species?
  • Marine Ecosystems: A look at how the previously identified physical factors affect distribution of marine life and an examination of the different ecosystems throughout the Earth’s oceans.
  • Marine Biodiversity: An introduction to the range of species found throughout the planet’s ocean ecosystems and how the ocean environment drives speciation.
  • The State of the Reefs: What are the threats posed to the earth’s marine ecosystems and particularly the coral reefs throughout the tropical regions? Whether caused naturally or by man, the health of the oceans is declining and we identify and examine the threats in this section.
  • Marine Conservation: What techniques and actions can be taken to mitigate these threats? Is marine conservation just a drop in the ocean?
Ecology Foundation (1 Hour)

A quick biology and ecology refresher to make sure that we are all on the same page with regard to marine biology terminology and fundamentals.

Lab Foundation

This is an orientation class for microscopy, dissection techniques and laboratory fundamentals.

Coral Reef Ecology

Have you ever wondered: what is coral? What is a coral reef? How does the coral feed, grow, reproduce and survive? What is Zooxanthellae? Where did coral come from? This is the course that answers all those questions for you!

Environmental monitoring program

A course designed to train you in the skills of underwater survey techniqueshow these different techniques are applicable in different situations enabling you to collect relevant data in order to establish and contribute to long term environmental monitoring programs.

Advanced environmental monitoring program

A focus on coral species identification and associated benthic surveys, before looking at the associated statistical and analytical techniques which can be implemented upon the data identifying potential correlations.

Invertebrate Identification

An introduction to the common marine invertebrates found on the reef, we examine the range of weird and wonderful creatures that make the coral reef such a vibrant biodiverse spectacle. What’s the difference between a snail and an octopus? Surprisingly little in fact. We look at the different types of invertebrates, the traits which define them and how to identify them

Advanced Invertebrate Identification

In this module we take a more in depth look at the weird and the wonderful, creepy and crawly world of marine invertebrates. We explore how different invertebrates have adapted to the different niches found within a coral reef ecosystem and the worlds oceans. Adaptations ranging from simply being small enough to hide in the cracks, to hypnotic colour changes, to the most venomous animals on the planet. In a harsh underwater world of eat or be eaten, fight or flight, this module looks at how tthese wonderful creatures have managed to be around longer than the dinosaurs!  

Invertebrate Physiology

Invertebrates are the true origin of the species. The ocean is full of these fascinating yet quirky organisms, remnants of a primordial ancient era still thriving in the oceans today. Seemingly and presumptively simple as they may seem to be, the truth is far more interesting. This course builds upon the Invertebrate ID courses, providing you an overview of how different invertebrates have ingeniously adapted, not only to survive, but to thrive beneath the waves. How does an animal with no eyes do anything? How does a starfish with five appendages and seemingly lacking a reproductive appendage copulate? Which animal has nine brains, three hearts but no anus? The invertebrates are the weird and wonderful of the oceans and this course will go into the amazing ways in which these animals have adapted to their environment.


Fish Identification

An introduction to the range of fish found on the local coral reefs, and how to identify them. Often divers or snorkelers who excitedly explore the underwater realm see one of the many beautiful fish found on the reef and ask “what was that fish” when asked “what fish” the inevitable response of “ it was brown”, which only narrows it down to “a few fish” of over 8000 species. This module teaches you how to look at a fish and what to look for, so that after the dive you can use an identification guide to find its name.


Advanced Fish Identification

In this module we go beyond the initial identification of common fish species found on the local reefs and take a look at fish morphology. Fish are rather incredible in that their appearance can change between the sexes, between adults and juveniles, and even respond to their environment. We also take a look at the traits of fish morphologies and how this is synchronous with the predatory and anti-predation adaptations which have arisen through speciation on the beautiful biodiverse environment of coral reefs.

Fish Physiology

Ever wonder how a seemingly uncomplicated animal such as a fish has evolved and adapted to survive in the world beneath the waves? This course details everything you need to answer questions such as; How do fish breathe underwater? How do fish reproduce? How do fish eat and digest food? How do fish survive drinking seawater? and many more. For those of you who see that fish do far more than “just keep swimming”, the Fish Physiology course supplies the answers to the “how” questions compared to the “what” questions that were covered in the Fish Identification courses. 

Tropical Marine Ecosystems

This module is a more in depth look into the tropical marine ecosystems which aren’t coral reefs. These tropical ecosystems are introduced in the core (local heroes) course, and here we look at how they all work in unison: interconnected and collectively protecting  the coastline and reducing marine sediments.


Mangrove Forests

These tropical marine ecosytems are coastal forests, and here we look at how they have adapted to these harsh conditions to become ecosystem architects. We then examine how the mangroves are under threat and which marine conservation strategies can be implemented.


Sea Grass Meadows

A look at how these sea grass meadows are also ecosystem architects and how they play a vital role, not just in the delicate coastal systems, but also their role in the life of the oceans. As these ecosystems are also under threat, we look at conservation strategies which can be introduced to save them.


Sand Dunes

Nothing more than big old pile of sand, surely? In this module we look at the specific adaptations of organisms which survive in the shifting harsh environment of sand dunes. We also explore the conservation of these ecosystems.



Let’s take a look at totally awesome sea turtles and the role they play in marine ecosystems throughout the oceans. Then we go diving with them!


Let’s have a look at these misunderstood creatures, their physiological adaptations, the role they play in marine ecosystems and how the way that humans treat them could lead to our own demise.


A look at marine mammals, how they came to be and what role they play in marine ecosystems. What adaptations have they amassed allowing them to inhabit the oceans in the way that they do and what threats still remain to these magnificent creatures. 

Coral Nursery

We take a look at coral propagation techniques and the theory behind it before going and getting practical hands-on experience with fragment collection and placement. 

Artificial Reef

We look at the theory behind the implementation of artificial reefs before getting hands on experience creating and transplanting coral onto these structures.

Advanced Coral Propagation

Coral nursery maintenance techniques and an increased set coral propagation techniques allowing you to work on the nurseries in the future without supervision.

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