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Marine Science Internship in Belize

This 4 week programme is designed and run by marine science professionals.

 to give 8 students and graduates from all areas of Marine Sciences practical experience and insight into thier chosen career by working alongside a team of researchers and government authorities in Belize, home to the second largest reef system in the world.

Throughout the programme you will shadow and work alongside the founder of one of the most highly respected organisations in Belize, the fisheries department, local fisherman and communities to learn about and tackle the threats to the marine environment, and gain experience of conservation methodologies. 
During the internship you can expect to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the Caribbean fish, coral, invert species and coral bleaching and will see first hand the effect of sustainable fishing regulations on a fishing communities. Most importantly you will get to contribute a chapter to the organisation's annual report, which will be published, with full credits, and submitted to Belize Fisheries department and other key stakeholders.


  • Experience/ Qualifications required: Undergraduate or graduate in Marine Sciences, Oceanography or related subject with a strong academic record.
  • Nationalities: This programme is open to all nationalities (subject to visa requirements.)
  • Typical Hours: Monday-Friday; 6-8 hours per day; Weekends free for personal time and travel in Belize.
  • Remuneration: Unpaid position

What will I be doing?

This is an exceptional opportunity for students and graduates in Marine sciences to boost your CV and gain practical experience with one of the top marine research organisations in the Caribbean. Throughout the programme you will gain experience in marine park management and a thorough oversight of conservation methods and techniques used in Marine science today.

You will also have the opportunity assist with research into the effects of issues such as climate change, introduction of alien species into the marine ecosystem, and the socio-economic impact that regulation has on communities in the region. By the end of the programme you will have detailled knowledge and experience of the techniques, methods, challenges and considerations that exist in marine park management and a fantastic introduction to a career in Marine Science, oceanography and Marine biology. You will also develop an excellent knowledge of the diverse range of Caribbean flora and fauna, and ecosystem dynamics that exist in this spectacular part of the world. Here is a sample of what you can expect to gain from taking part in the Internship.

  • Further PADI dive qualifications, an advantage in Marine Science
  • Your own contribution/chapter in published Annual report
  • Experience in working with Belize Fisheries department 
  • Monitoring experience and understanding of a broad spectrum of research methodologies
  • Practical insight into Marine Park Management and liaising with fisheries officers
  • Comprehensive knowledge of Caribbean fish, invertebrates and coral species
  • Understanding of threats to the local marine environment
  • Experience in giving fun and educational conservation presentations – to tourists and local children
  • Community outreach participation
  • Real life insight into the effect of marine/sustainable fishing regulations on a local fishing town

Here is a weekly breakdown of the types of activities you will be involved with during the programme.

Week 1:
This week we focus on dive training, up to Advanced diver level, and a thorough introduction to the programme. 

  • Induction and orientation
  • Session on conservation methodologies and techniques
  • PADI Dive course (Open Water or Advanced)
  • Peak performance buoyancy session (for qualified divers)
  • Coral identification, Fish identification, Invertebrate identification and Coral bleaching and disease identification
  • Choose specialty/ area of focus for the annual report; Coral Watch, Lionfish, Commercial fish species, Lobster, Queen Conch, Whale Sharks, Reef Check
  • Fun dives

Week 2: 

  • Further Coral identification, Fish identification, Invertebrates identification, Coral bleaching and disease identification
  • Presentation/workshop with Belize Fisheries Department on Marine Park Management
  • Research / Survey/Lionfish spearing dives
  • Fun dives
  • Training for presentation to Tradewinds guests (sail boat passengers) on the Marine Environment and the general health of the reef that they will host the following week
  • Beach clean up

Week 3: 

  • Comprehensive study and analysis of data for given specialty
  • Compilation of data for Annual Report
  • Educational session with local children
  • Coral, Fish, inverts and coral bleaching and disease identification
  • Informal presentation to Tradewinds sail boat guests
  • Beach clean up
  • Survey dives
  • Lionfish spearing dives
  • Fun dives!

Week 4: 

  • Lionfish spearing. Followed by dissection, analysis of stomach contents, preparation and cooking!
  • Conduct the PowerPoint presentations on general marine environment and threats to the reef
  • Workshop on sustainable fishing practices with local stakeholders
  • Complete written section for annual report
  • Present your findings to research team, and other interns
  • Wrap up party: bbq, presentation and awards

Gap Year Vitals

  • Location: Sapodilla Cayes, Punta Gorda, Belize
  • Price: £2,299



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