Marine Research Station Practical
Are you interested in marine biology and want to learn in a practical context? Or maybe you want to gain experience in marine scientific research to work in a marine biology research job? This is the perfect practical course for anyone looking to gain practical hands-on experience in a marine research environment. Whether that’s to gain expertise for future employment, or simply because you want to learn more about this fascinating topic of marine life.
This project is aided from the help of local villagers, Reef Check Malaysia, the Perhentian Islands Operators Association, the University Malaysia Terengganu and Plymouth University.
Included in your placement you will have the choice of an accredited and recognised Level 3 Diploma in Zoology, Marine Animal Rescue, Conservation, Biology or Ichthyology.
What is the Marine Research Practical Placement?
This is an intense four-week placement where students will gain hands-on experience in marine biology research work through vital work and research within a marine research station. You will help the locals and the village boatmen in carrying-out daily surveys, thus empowering them to protect their islands. Help with seagrass surveys and mapping, coral reef surveys and mapping or assessing the current artificial reefs around the islands.
Sadly, the corals in Malaysia hugely suffer as a result of tourism, down to an increase in pollution and damage from visiting tourists. From 2020 onwards, the concentration will be on seagrass research, alongside coral rehabilitation within suitable areas for new growth. You will also carry out research using photo IDs for sharks, turtles and alternative keystone species.
This placement will include a PADI Open Water/Advanced or Rescue Diving Course. This allows volunteers to dive once or twice during mornings, with the afternoon clear for research.
Marine Research week by week
Week 1 – Preparation and Training for Seagrass Watch – A combination of presentations, videos, worksheets and practical surveys.
Week 2-4 – Official Seagrass Watch Surveying – Including eight dives a week. During the surveys, some divers will be assessing the seagrass beds using quadrats while others will be mapping the outer boundary of the seagrass beds. Also, any sharks, turtles and juvenile sea horses will be photographed and recorded for Photo ID purposes.
What will I be doing?
Seagrass mapping and Surveys:
Seagrass surveys are usually conducted twice each year, at the beginning and end of each season. During these two periods, research will focus solely on these surveys. This means they do not offer the programme of Conservation in Action during this time. The training programme takes four weeks for already qualified divers. However, if unqualified, students can take a PADI course during the week before the placement. During Week one, marine research students will learn the methodology, history and practical training surrounding Seagrass Watch. These surveys are vital as they allow scientists to check the seagrass bed health-levels to influence decisions concerning further necessary conservation action.
Conservation in Action
Most of the diving season will be focused on conservation action. This includes programmes for coral rehabilitation with the help of multiple dive centres and marine parks based around the islands. The method has been tested by staff, consisting of attaching broken coral fragments to a PVC frame. Students may also be involved in the setting up of new frames, which helps to maintain and clean established frames or to collect monitoring data.
During other dives, marine research students will assist with contributing towards ID photos for the sea turtle database, whilst establishing new databases for shark and seahorse photos. Photo ID studies are helpful as an affordable yet impactful way of identifying individual turtles. Most animals have unique individual patterns, alike to human thumbprints.
Artificial Reef Assessments
To reduce the pressures on the natural reefs, the marine parks have recently sunk multiple nearby structures, so that these can act as new fishing grounds for the villagers. These structures need to be re-assessed for health and also fish numbers before they are cleared for fishing purposes. Students will help to carry out fish counts. They will also conduct video transect surveys, as these aid researchers in assessing the Fish Aggregating Devices or FADs.
Other Marine Biology Work Experience in Assessments
You can also get involved in helping marine research by collecting information about other aspects. This includes collecting data loggers for specific sea temperature, wave height, turbidity, water quality, salinity etc. These factors are vital and enable scientists to understand the individual abiotic factors which impact the reefs and seagrass.
1. You must be over 18 (16+ is allowed with a valid parent or guardian consent form). Families who have young children (six and above) can also participate. UK visitors will receive a 90-day free tourist visa upon arrival.
2. You will need evidence of the following vaccinations prior to starting the placement: Typhoid, Hepatitis A; Hepatitis B; (MMR) Measles, Mumps, Rubella and also tetanus-diphtheria.
3. It is necessary to have a good level of spoken English or Bahasa Malaysia to communicate with staff.
What’s included in my Marine Science Practical Course?
* Advanced or Rescue Diving Course or Advanced Diving Course / PADI Open Water Training
* Accommodation and all food (accommodation is a mixed-sex dormitory with a modern toilet)
* An Accredited Level 3 Marine Zoology/Biology Diploma
* Boat transfer and marine park fee
* Visa Applications and Fees
* Airfares – both International and internal
* Insurance and luxuries
Placement Fee: £1,850 for four weeks placement and this also includes your choice of a Level 3 Marine Diploma. The remaining payment of £1,476 is to be paid one month before the practical training begins.
Deposit Payment: £374
For any further questions regarding pricing or enrolment, please don’t hesitate to chat with one of our professional advisors.
So why not take the plunge and enrol now to book your Marine Research Practical place? Alternatively, if you would like to browse our other Marine Courses, click here
Animal Courses Direct accepts no responsibility or liability for practical placements available on our website; these placements are conducted at the user’s own risk. We ask students to sign a waiver form and also to obtain their own personal travel insurance. If a deposit is necessary, it is non-refundable. Students must pay their full course fees prior to commencing the practical placement. The dates of the practical placement are subject to change and availability, for more information please see our T&Cs.