Volunteer to survey coral reefs, turtles and nudibranchs in Madagascar.

Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute

The Marine Conservation Programme


Who: Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute (MRCI)

Where: Nosy Komba (Black Lemur island), Madagascar (northwest coast)

Focus: Coral reef, turtle and nudibranch surveying

When: All year round

Duration: 4-12 weeks

Suitability: Over 18s

Cost: 4 weeks from USD 1800.

As a volunteer, you will:

  • Take part in a variety of conservation efforts focused on the protection of the marine ecosystem in Madagascar.
  • Become a PADI Advanced Open Water diver.
  • Learn turtle, fish, invertebrate and coral identification and baseline survey techniques.
  • Perform scuba diving surveys to monitor the biodiversity, health and growth of the reef system
  • Help create artificial reefs and support reef regeneration by coral propagation and litter removal.
  • Support the protection of the house reef – aka “Turtle towers” – which is now a Marine Protected Area.
  • Survey nudibranchs to determine the species density and biodiversity of nudibranchs in the area as well as associated substrates.
  • Monitor turtles through snorkel surveys. Identify and monitor individuals within the population to support an ecological study of each species and so determine the frequency and population strength of the varying species of turtle that visit the area.
  • Monitor turtle nesting areas (in season). Keep watch for female turtles laying eggs and hatchlings making their way to the sea. Monitor breeding and protect nests from any disturbance.
  • Take part in beach clean ups. The data collected is used for an international research project run by University of Cape Town, which monitors ocean waste across the Indian Ocean.
  • Help educate the local community on environmental issues, conservation and the protection of biodiversity and marine resources.

Scuba Diving

Dive Training: In order to survey, volunteers must be PADI Advanced Open Water certified (or equivalent). Full dive training is provided via the dedicated dive school.

PADI Certifications: Further dive courses are available including EFR, Rescue and Divemaster.

Divemaster Internships: Takes a min. of 4 weeks to complete. Students can stay longer to gain experience in leading dives and practising dive skills.

The Base

Accommodation: The Turtle Cove Research Facility next to the beach.

Sleeping: Communal bungalows with bunk beds sleeping up to 8 volunteers.

Food: 3 meals a day.

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The next step: Visit MRCI for more information and to book.
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