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Work Placements.

There's absolutely no better way to positively contribute and effect a huge change to the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef than becoming part of it!
Work Placements

About The Program.

The Marine Discovery Work Placement has been designed to increase the amount of research, education, and conservation on the Great Barrier Reef. As an intern on a placement with us, you will not only visit the World Heritage GBR, but contribute to its management and understanding through real scientific studies and research. This data collection and communication is more crucial now than ever before and you can be part of it.

During your placement, we will train you in reef ecology and survey techniques. A vital part of the placement is heading to the reef to collect data, with the bonus of always having one of our highly qualified marine biologists by your side.

Unlike other programs that you may come across, during this placement you will collect real data on actual scientific projects that link directly back into management of the reef, rather than just focusing on citizen science. The data that you collect on the reef will be entered into the relevant scientific databases, and you will also have a crucial role as part of the analysis team.

  • Who Is This For - Anyone interested in volunteer holidays, taking a gap year, on study breaks, travelling Australia or Marine Science/Biology students looking for some practical field experience.
  • No Previous Experience Required - We, as marine biologists, will train you in reef ecology and reef survey techniques together with accompanying you to the GBR during data collection trips, education and conservation events.
  • Moderate To Good Swimmers - A large amount of the monitoring and data collection is completed by snorkeling, we prefer swimmers capable of completing a minimum of 50m unaided.
  • Minimum 18 Years Of Age - Due to the nature of many of the activities and working off-shore, we unfortunately have to set this age limit.


Request a work placement
information pack to be emailed to you.
What People Are Saying...
  • Marine discoveries provides you with an amazing and highly educational internship with both office based days and field days both relating to the current projects that the company is contributing to. All team members of marine discoveries treat you with respect and are more than accommodating in answering questions or providing reassurance with ...

    - Sophie Di Betta

  • When I first signed myself up to a placement with Marine Discoveries, I was told 1 week would definitely be too short and that I'd even be surprised how quickly 2 weeks would go! They weren't wrong - at the end of my 2 week placement, I definitely felt like the 2 weeks had flown by and wished I had more time to spend with the team. It was wonder...

    - Jennifer Kan

  • Activities & Duties.

    The placement lasts for 2, 3, or 4 weeks with longer placements available on a case-by-case basis. Placement activities run Monday to Fridays, leaving the weekends free to explore the beauty of Tropical North Queensland.

    During your placement you will become a true part of the Marine Discoveries team and although this is designed to give you highly transferable skills and a fantastic experience, we hope to give you an authentic experience of what it is to be a marine biologist and so you will work on the same projects, at the same time, as our staff.

    Activities that you will be partaking in include:

    • Reef Ecology training
    • In water Reef monitoring data collection
    • Data input and interpretation
    • Resource development
    • Reef education projects(3)
    • Community engagement projects(3)
    Program Inclusions
    • Accommodation for the duration of your stay (2, 3 or 4 weeks)
    • Transport to and from accommodation and Reef Teach (if staff pick up not possible, transfer cost will be reinburst)
    • All Reef trips (up to 7 Reef Trips)(1)
    • All snorkelling equipment
    • All equipment and resources necessary to perform duties
    • Breakfast everyday (light continental which includes cereal, toast, tea, coffee)
    • Lunch on the days you go to sea(2)
    • Reef ecology training – dry and in water
    • Marine Discoveries T-shirt
    • Internet
    Program Exclusions
    • Flights to and from Cairns
    • Meals not mentioned above, self catering facilities are available(2)
    • Weekend transport, entertainment or activities
    • Dive courses (courses can be arranged and charged separately)
    • Travel insurance

    (1) Reef trips are dependent on weather and availability. No refunds for less or no reef trips beyond the control of Marine Discoveries management and staff.
    (2) Dietary requirements will be catered for as far as reasonable. Please inform Marine Discoveries management of any dietary requirement prior to arrival.
    (3) Not all these projects are covered in every 2, 3 or 4 week program. Volunteers may only work on a few areas as some of these programs are seasonal.

  • What You'll Be Doing.

    For more information on the research projects that you will be involved in, check out our research page. We aim to give all interns the best experience possible and so will strive to get you involved in the greatest variety of projects(1).

    Reef days usually have a data collection focus but occasionally you may be involved in community engagement projects as well. This aspect of science is important as without public engagement in science and research, there is little hope of changing things for the better in the future.

    Whilst in the office, we aim to give interns a wide variety of tasks but will also work with you if you have a specific interest or goal. For example, we have had interns who have enjoyed and been talented at video editing and so these interns have helped create creative content for Marine Discoveries during their placement.

    You will be participating in projects supported by the following organisations.

    Australian Institute of Marine Science
    Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
    Australian Institute of Marine Science
    Sightings Data Collection

    Identifying, mapping and documenting sightings of a variety of marine wildlife species for inclusion in the "Eye On The Reef" Sightings Network program.

    Reef Health Monitoring

    Monitor coral cover and indicator species at local reef sites through repeated surveys and provide a look at reef health at less frequently visited sites.

    Education Program Support

    Designing and creating educational resources and programs. Engaging with school and university education and conservation programs run by Marine Discoveries.

    Computer Data Entry

    Collection and collation of data for entry into various databases both national and worldwide. Analysis of data for publication in multiple forms.

    (1) Projects that you will be involved in depend greatly on what is happening at Marine Discoveries at the time of your placement.

Work placement
dates and costs.

This is a "paid for" placement which enables the projects to be self-funded. Having this financial independence allows us the freedom to run projects that are important and will have a meaningful impact on the health of the reef.

Your placement fee pays for your accommodation and reef trips and the remainder goes towards reef research. By joining Marine Discoveries, you are directly contributing to the monitoring and management of the reef; as well as gaining invaluable skills, connections and an utterly unique experience.

Monday, 8th July 2024
9:00 am
Great Barrier Reef, Cairns
Monday, 5th August 2024
9:00 am
Great Barrier Reef, Cairns
Monday, 2nd September 2024
9:00 am
Great Barrier Reef, Cairns
Monday, 30th September 2024
9:00 am
Great Barrier Reef, Cairns
Monday, 4th November 2024
9:00 am
Great Barrier Reef, Cairns
Monday, 2nd December 2024
9:00 am
Great Barrier Reef, Cairns
2 or 3 week placement only, finish on the 20th

Participant cost

2 Week Placement
A$1,650.00 per week
3 Week Placement
A$1,550.00 per week
4 Week Placement
A$1,450.00 per week

Note: All Work Placement fee's are stated in Australian Dollars (AUD/A$) and are quoted Per Week.

Ready to go?
Register your interest
in a work placement.

If you are ready to participate on a work placement with Marine Discoveries, register your interest and one of our Program Managers will contact you to discuss your application in further detail.
Please include any country and state/territory or province prefix.
You must meet our minimum requirements before we can accept any registration for the Work Placement Program.
Acknowledgement Of Country
Marine Discoveries acknowledges, recognises and respects the Elders, families and forebears of the the Bama Peoples – the Aboriginal rainforest people who are traditional custodians/owners of the lands that cover our region. We also acknowledge, recognise and respect other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who call our region and the Great Barrier Reef their home.
Copyright Marine Discoveries Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
ABN : 93 643 207 845