I really had fun at the animal park in Auckland. My job was to showcase some of the animals for the visitors. We handled domestic animals like lambs and goats which the kids really liked. But we also got to show off the iguanas and work in the butterfly garden. My supervisor was really nice and had amazing experience working in different zoos. I liked meeting people from around the world. It was a fun experience and I recommend it to anyone who likes animals.
” I made so many friends in Fiji and I know I will have them for the rest of my life. I want to talk to them but I know I can’t because they don’t own phones and very few of them have a post box. But the one thing they said to me is, “Eric whenever you want to come back, you just come straight to the village because this is your home.” So now whenever I want to go to Fiji I have a place to live because not only have I made so many friends…I’ve become family”.
“Creative,” “colorful,” “exciting” . . . this is the feedback we continually get from our Marine Research projects. IGS is the industry leader in this area and has been placing students in high end marine projects in Hawaii, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and the mainland USA since the 1990’s. We have run semester-long university field studies that have featured turtle research in Hawaii, reef monitoring in Fiji and Great Barrier Reef fish and coral studies in Australia. In short, you have come to the right place for marine studies!
Our projects pair the individual with university research statins, eco-tourism, aquariums, sea parks, dive shops among other organizations with the goal of creating a high quality learning experience.
We match your interest to a specific country. It is what we do best. Some examples of marine research conducted by Former IGS clients:
These are just some of the current projects we have. However, we have the contacts to do marine placements in this country and others not on the website. We are plugged into the global marine community so please let us know your first choice for a country and we will let you know the projects available
Receive training in Hawaiian reef fishes and share that knowledge with aquarium visitors.
After a week-long training session, your main duties will be educating the visitors to the aquarium on the different marine life. Specifically you will share what you have learned in training about the coral reef fish exhibits, seal exhibits, jellyfish, and others. In short you will have a high responsibility job that is the face of the aquarium.
One of the more popular topics for visitors is the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle. You will have a chance to discuss the behavioral patterns of these gentle creatures as well as their nesting habits in the area. You will help visitors see beyond the surface to fully appreciate these magnificent wayfarers in their true splendor.
Reef Fish Identification: Hawaii’s reef fishes are celebrated worldwide for their high degree of endemism. With several species unique wholly to Hawaiian waters, this is your chance to share with visitors some of the evolutionary principles that make these Pacific waters truly Hawaiian. In addition, you will be able to share some of the mutually beneficial relationships enjoyed by cleaner wrasses and the several species of hosts they glean.
Threats to the marine ecosystem: Coral bleaching is as much a problem in Hawaii as in other Pacific ecosystems. The death and destruction of these fragile environments come from many sources. Agricultural runoff, water temperature changes, boat anchors, and human footsteps are but a few of the dangers that a modern reef faces. Educate visitors on what they can do on both a large and small scale to help these magnificent systems endure for themselves and for future generations.
Availability and Requirements
Positions available year-round.
Minimum Length of Stay: 6 weeks
Please submit along with your application a resume or acceptable equivalent, indicating any relevant knowledge or skills. Please also provide a brief essay (one page or less) indicating: the source of your interest in this position, what you hope to contribute to the programs indicated, and what you hope to learn or experience through your internship.
IGS and the Univerity of Hawaii are teaming up to provide an on-going research/educational opportunity at one of the premier marine research locations in the United States. This is for interns who are looking for exposure to leading marine scientists and an atmosphere conducive to marine education.
The island sees over 4000 visitors per year that participate in overnight marine camps, science projects, and island tours. We will limit this project to six IGS interns at one time. This is really a great area of Hawaii and offers the best of both worlds.
You will be only 15 miles from Waikiki and can explore a lot of great places on the island using this as a base. With that in mind, the project will consist of the following activities.
PART ONE: Using snorkel and mask, conduct surveys of sensitive coral areas. Interns will record coral species diversity and fish counts in areas currently facing increasing traffic by boat mooring. Results will be catalogued and data entered to record the changing composition of the reef.
PART TWO: Interns will learn to identify the species inhabiting the intertidal zone. They will monitor how human usage is or may in the future effect species counts in the area.
PART THREE: Interns will have the opportunity to meet with one of the island supervisors and research projects that may be of interest. If you want to have more time in the water, this will be your chance to join in or create a project that will allow you to be hands on with the marine ecosystems.
PART FOUR: Interns will be posted in sensitive areas of the island and will help educate visitors about safe coral practices. Specifically, boats and their anchors are causing coral damage and to the area as well as people walking on the corals or spearfishing. Interns will be taught about this fragile ecosystem and will train visitors on reef etiquette.
PART FIVE: Interns will interview visitors to the island and will record the different demographics of people using the area to better assist the creation of a protection plan based on the use patterns of visitors.
PART SIX: Interns will become familiar with the different marine research ongoing on the island and will assist with educational tours of Coconut Island and share the current research projects with the public.
This is a new program so the above description may change and evolve so please be flexible as we try to put together a project that will have real-life benefits to both interns, the public, the ecosystem, and the island staff.
IGS has placed students on the island in years past. We had worked with one of the leading spinner dolphin specialists in Hawaii and she was based on Coconut. Students always enjoyed themselves and always gave positive reviews. The main thing to remember is that it is a premier research center and the scientists are serious about their work. So, you need to treat it like a campus and not a beach retreat. If you don’t see scientists sunbathing on chairs neither should you. Do as the scientists do.
Per the website, we will pick you up at the airport with a sign with your name on it. We will take you to the internship site and then to your house. We will provide bus information so you know how to commute to the internship site. The picture shows the island where you will work. It is a 2 minute boat ride from the mainland.
We set up housing on a custom basis. So, that means we actively go out and speak with landlords and find you the best option in our budget. We will send you photos of the house and roommate info before signing a lease. So, you can approve it first. If you would like to upgrade your housing to a studio or a room with a private bath in the room that may be possible. Please let us know ahead of time and we will tell you the cost.
Below are events offered on the island for visitors
Walking Tour – This 2 to 21/2 hour tour includes a boat ride to beautiful Moku o Lo’e island, guided discovery of the island’s natural and human history, as well as stops at the shark ponds, touch pool and other areas to learn about our cutting edge research. This program is available for individuals, as well as community and school groups.
Expedition to Moku O’Loe – Become part of a marine biology research team on the water and in the lab during this 3 hour program. Participants begin on our research vessel Honu Kai deploying a plankton net as they travel across Kane’ohe Bay. Upon reaching Moku O’Loe (Coconut Island) and the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, they encounter sharks and other research animals, then do two hands-on labs, one analyzing the plankton from the research cruise and the other sorting through invasive seaweeds to separate out and recover small creatures from the bay.
Coconut Island Overnight – Participants pitch tents creating a marine biology field camp; tour the island, and participate in a night lab dockside and in the lab. Scout troops can earn an oceanography merit badge or activity awards, school groups get a marine science intensive, and family groups can just relax and be marine biologists for a very entertaining evening (non-camping facilities also available at extra cost). This is an unforgettable experience.
Travel to the islands of Fiji to learn about coral reefs, island customs, and the cultural ecology that links them together. This six-week program provides interns an up close and personal immersion into the Fijian life-way and marine ecosystems.
Training for the project takes place in the capital city of Suva on Viti Levu. Here you will meet with world-renowned reef ecologist Helen Sykes to complete your training. Specifically, Helen will teach you how to lie transects and how to observe and record key indicator species that you will encounter on the reefs. You will stay at the South Seas Hostel and commute a short distance to your training site. This is also a great time to explore the Capital City and visit botanical gardens and cultural museums.
Once you have been through training, you will depart for one of our chosen research locations. Currently we are conducting surveys on the island of Taveuni and the island of Beqa.
Interns will live one or two per Fijian family but will have their own private room. Several of the following may be program highlights. The time of year you travel will determine which options are available:
Perhaps the highlight of your stay will be the opportunity to live with a Fijian family. Regarded by many as a “transformative experience,” the home stay provides insight into Fijian culture in a way that books cannot render. What makes the immersion special is that the villagers retain a uniquely Fijian perspective and practice many of the subsistence patterns of their ancestors. As English language is the primary language of instruction used in the schools (a “gift” of British colonization) most villagers can converse to you in your native tongue. The result is an unparalleled opportunity to discuss cultural practices with your hosts without relying on an interpreter.
The villagers live in primarily cement-walled houses with metal roofs. They are not luxurious by any means. So, you should expect to live as the majority of Fijians do. This may be a challenge depending on your experience in Third World countries. But, it will hopefully be worthwhile and eye opening. Testimonials Payment
The locale is unique for a number of reasons. Most importantly, you have the opportunity to contribute data to Fijian villagers and the government about the current MPA (Marine Protected Area). Marine Protected Areas are a modern form of a “no fishing or gathering zone.” These “taboo” areas were commonplace in ancient Fiji but that tradition has been compromised in modern times. The government and local villages are implementing MPA’s to encourage reef growth and the return of reef fishes.
You have the wonderful opportunity to stay amidst the Fijian people and conduct reef surveys both in and outside of the MPA’s. By comparing the data you gather, you will be able to help villagers and government officials alike make better decisions on how to best utilize their resources. If your data demonstrates that fish populations are noticeably greater within MPA’s, then villagers may decide to designate more protected areas. This is an unknown. We need to find out for ourselves whether the hypothesis that MPA’s result in greater diversity is in fact true.
CORAL REEF SURVEY
Interns will snap on snorkels and masks to conduct an underwater survey of a nearby reef ecosystem. Your research will allow for comparative data analysis, and will contribute to a database on the status of Fiji’s reefs, and how they experience different levels of human contact. While mapping the reef, interns will collect data on coral species abundance, diversity, and richness. Interns will obtain baseline data which will contribute to establishing a long-term coral reef monitoring program at these sites. The village’s livelihood and sustainability could be affected by changes to reef health. As such, your research is timely and important to the long-term survival of the very people you will stay with. You will be taught coral species identification, quadrant surveying techniques for coral reef environments, and data analysis.
FISH IDENTIFICATION & FISH COUNT
Interns will contribute to a long-term project assessing the fish populations off the coast of the village. The coastal villages rely heavily on subsistence offshore reef fishing. As reef fish is a staple of the traditional Fijian diet significant decrease in various reef fish populations have triggered concern in the community.
Consequentially, various research projects are taking place to investigate the most sustainable way to approach coastal reef fishing. Interns will learn fish species identification, data collection and analysis.
Throughout your stay you have the opportunity to go on fieldtrips to locations of ecological or cultural significance. Interns can learn fishing, cooking skills, as well as participate in reforestation projects, rainforest trekking, and cultural lesson