Coral reef research assistant

Project name:

Reef Doctor (2)

Project purpose:

Coral reef research assistant

Project activities:

  • data collection/analysis

  • habitat restoration/management

  • scuba diving

  • teaching

Weekly cost (approx USD):



Direct benefits you gain:

  • cultural integration

  • gain a qualification and/or credits

  • field research skills

  • remote scenic location

Noteworthy conservation points:

  • contributes to environmental policy

  • development goals (supporting local community)

  • publishes work


huts or dormitory

When does the project run?


food included, accommodation included, drop toilets, local town, local shops, electricity, refillable water, limited access to internet, tea and coffee

How long can I stay?


Details of the day-to-day life on the project:

cheaper rates if you are already qualified diver, or stay longer periods of time!

  • Dive training to PADI Advanced level.

  • For 8 week + expeditions, volunteers may also undertake the PADI Rescue Diver certification (includes the PADI EFR 1st aid course) for an additional fee.

  • For 12 week expeditions, volunteers who are looking to gain more diving certifications and experience who join us already PADI Advanced open water certified could undertake the PADI Divemaster certification on a tailored program. Please see programme guide or ask us for details.

  • Lectures in coral reef biology and ecology, marine management and conservation principles.

  • Training in underwater marine species identification (fish, invertebrates, benthic, coral).

  • Training in underwater surveying techniques.

  • Participate in Reef Doctor’s long term coral reef monitoring programme: you will become a vital member of our surveying team.

  • Gain experience in data recording and data input protocols.

  • Undertake fisheries catch assessments with the local fisheries team.

  • Experience life living alongside a traditional Malagasy fishing community and gain insight into the unique Vezo culture.

  • Assist our science team in their other core projects such as coral gardening, seagrass surveys, turtle tagging/release, artificial reefs, and reforestation.

  • Theoretical and practical seagrass and mangrove research and conservation.

  • Help our aquaculture team in the maintenance and monitoring of seaweed and sea cucumber farms, with the opportunity to visit other villages in the bay where this is being implemented.

  • Make a lasting connection and impact with local children by participating in our local environmental education initiatives Kids Club and Junior Reef Doctors.

  • Enjoy exploring the local area; the popular beach resorts, the Spiny Forest, or visit one of the local National Parks (in your free time, at your own expense).

  • Ultimately, the more you put in the more you get out, so we want you to use your enthusiasm, experiences, and skills to become involved in a wide range of projects. In this way, we can make sure that whilst you’re here your contribution will have the biggest impact possible! The longer you stay for the more you can achieve!

Reviews & ratings



Very Good Program

My week at Daktari was excellent and the program is very intense in the sense that we all get together with the kids and animals from 7am until 9 pm. It is an excellent choice for a first volunteering program abroad considering and I would definitely like to go back someday



It was an experience that I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of

Wild Sun Rescue is an animal rehabilitation center located in the remote and scenic fishing village of Cabuya, Costa Rica. The long-term (12 week) volunteer experience involved getting to do hands-on work with all of the animals that are housed at the center, including howler monkeys, capuchins, opossums, squirrels and raptors. The daily duties included diet prep (mostly chopping and cooking fruits and veggies), enclosure cleaning, facility maintenance (repairing enclosures, building new enclosures and enrichment), and animal handling and medical treatment. It was an experience that I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of--nowhere else in the world would I be able to work with all of these amazing animals, in such a unique and beautiful location. As a wildlife biology intern, I also had the opportunity to create my own research project at the center, supervised and assisted by the internship coordinator.

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