Marine Research Expeditions

Marine Research Expeditions

IMG_8293Whether it’s a career break, a gap year before university or work, furthering your studies or just a break in your travels to do something different, volunteering with a Marine Research Expedition is an experience you’ll carry with you for ther rest of your life. Volunteering for a conservation expedition is not just an adventure, it’s your way to help make a positive difference. There are many fantastic organisations offering volunteer programmes around the world and we believe they all have something unique to offer. Different organisations will appeal to different people and choosing the right one for you is not always easy, but wherever you decide to go your input and work will be valuable to the marine environment and its conservation.

Please don’t forget to mention WiseOceans when booking your expedition!

Click on the logos below to get more information about the different organisations:


“Providing the resources to help protect coral reefs and tropical forests since 1986!”

“Take part in high-impact marine conservation work and expand your career potential”

“Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer.”

“Archipelagos’ work focuses on a combination of multi-disciplinary scientific research with efficient conservation work, in which the local communities share an active part.”


“Conservation research through academic partnership”

“A commitment to sustainable conservation and positive social development is at the heart of all our activities.”


“Volunteer abroad on critical community development and environmental conservation projects.”

“Blue Ventures’ volunteers learn how to collect data that is vital to the management of some of the world’s most remote marine biodiversity hotspots and directly contribute to our conservation, development and education programmes”


“With Barefoot Conservation you will gain practical marine conservation experience in one of the world’s most stunningly pristine and remote locations for marine research.”
“Wanderlust under the waves: be an explorer & ambassador of the wondrous liquid frontier in Tofo, Mozambique”

“Conservation through Research and Community Mobilisation”

“A leader in conservation & Development”

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“The hard work and enthusiasm delivered by our volunteers contributes directly to increased knowledge and conservation of cetaceans in the Hebrides.”

“We aim to study whale shark population dynamics, monitor coral reef health, and promote sustainable whale shark tourism in the Mesoamerican barrier reef”


How to Pick the Right Marine Research Expedition for You

Taking part in an expedition can be a unique and exciting experience and there are many varied and legitimate reasons for wanting to volunteer on one. However there are also a huge range of expeditions out there and sometimes it can be hard (and a little bamboozling) to pick the right one for you.

There are often many different elements to research expedition life, so it is worth doing some research and thinking about what aspects of work you would like to be involved with and whether this is possible in your preferred project.  Things to consider are:

  • Is there a particular area of the research program you are interested in?
  • Are you interested in learning survey techniques?
  • Do you want to learn to scuba dive or get the chance to add to your diving experience?
  • Are you interested in community outreach or education work?
  • Or how about camp management and operations?
  • Is there a particular country you would like to experience living in?
  • Do you get a gut feeling from the expedition company’s website?

If you are using the experience to help build your experience ready for a career in marine science and conservation you may want to consider these things:

  • What are the research aims of the project and how would you get to contribute to these?
  • What transferable skills would you come away with?
  • Would you get experience of specific survey techniques? Do you want to get experience analysing data?
  • Is the project publishing its research? Can volunteers play a part in this?
  • Does the project have good links with other organisations and local communities?

Other general questions you may want to think about are:

  • Where is the project? What accommodation is there? (Warning: expedition life is often basic!)
  • What health and safety measures are taken at the expedition camp?
  • What is the status of the expedition organisation: is it a charity, company or an institute?
  • How many other people with you be volunteering with?
  • What is the staff to volunteer ratio?
  • Is there the possibility to stay on as an intern or staff member?
  • To what extent does the project link with the local community?

It is a big step and potentially a large financial investment; do not be afraid to ask the expedition companies lots of questions to help you make your decision. Talk to staff, go to an open day if you can, ask if you can speak to an ex-volunteer. Make sure you end up getting the most fulfilling experience that is right for you.

Get out there, make a difference, see the World.

Good Luck!


8678051_origBeen on an Expedition and now looking for paid work or voluntary/internship positions?

We’ve got that for you too….

Visit Wise Work to find out more & Sign up to our weekly job alert email

Not sure how to get that perfect job, how to get there or what experience you need?  Zoox is a fantastic organisation that can help you gain more experience and progress to the ideal marine conservation job for you. Chloe Hunt from  Zoox has recently written an article about the journey she’s taken from university to the work she does today in marine conservation. Read it now…