Marine Science Officer SW Madagascar

Fishing village of Ifaty, Bay of Ranobe, Toliara, SW Madagascar
Stipend, all on site living and working costs covered, reimbursment for flights, insurances, visa
Aug 13, 2018
Oct 13, 2018
marine science officer
Job Level
Entry level, Mid level
Employment Type
Contract, Full time

Reef Doctor requires an enthusiastic and energetic person to join its active coral reef research, conservation, and social development team. You will be working alongside local subsistence communities and in collaboration with the Marine Institute of Toliara (IH.SM) at our research base next-door to the fishing village of Ifaty, on the shores of the Bay of Ranobe part of the coral reef syand the 3rd largest coral reef system in the world.

We are looking for someone who has a background (degree) in marine sciences ideally with field based research experience in tropical environments to become part of our Marine Research and Management team and help manage our science and volunteer programmes in the Bay of Ranobe.

The position involves hands-on experience developing and implementing marine research, conservation, and management initiatives to help protect severely degraded and threatened reef systems and support the local fishing communities (total population over 20,000) of the Bay in sustainable resource utilisation. The candidate will be undertaking the standard duties outlined below with a focus on running the training of international volunteers, interns and students from the Marine Institute to conduct coral reef surveys and organise them in the running of specific research projects e.g., coral gardening and reef restoration, artificial habitats, seagrass assessments etc.

The candidate will working under the Head Science Officer and Project Manager alongside a core team that includes other international and national Marine Science Officers (1-2), Dive Officers (1-2), Science and DiveMaster interns (6), students from the Marine Institute (IH.SM), external researchers, and 4–12 volunteers (under our Reef Doctor volunteer programs) in a fully operational coral reef monitoring and community-based conservation programme.

We are looking for the chosen candidate to fill the position arriving in Madagascar around the beginning September.


This position is a 12-month contract with the possibility to extend thereafter



The job involves some of the following activities, though this list is not considered exhaustive:

  • Ensure you have a full grasp of the company’s scientific methodologies and lecture presentations up to the expert level.
  • Teach marine science to volunteers and interns, incoming staff, external visitors, and students from the IH.SM. This includes coral reef ecology, species identification, seagrass, coral reef surveying methodologies, reef restoration methodologies, climate change, and general presentations on Reef Doctor and the work we do.
  • To undertake coral reef scuba and snorkel based surveys (using the pre-designed survey methodologies), data documenting (in the pre-designed database), and help the Head Science Officer with data analysis.
  • To continue the long term monitoring of the Rose Garden and Ankarandjelita marine protected areas in the lagoon of the Bay of Ranobe run and managed by the locally established fishermen’s association FIMIHARA and a community management group (hotels, dive clubs and Reef Doctor).
  • To conduct seagrass mapping and monitoring.
  • To help create, design, implement, incorporate, and train others in new research projects.
  • To become trained in and assist in turtle tagging.
  • To help find new locations in the Bay interior and exterior to undertake research training requirements for volunteers, interns and students.
  • To help the interns check/verify the data collected by volunteers or anyone else involved in coral reef surveys, ensuring the research data is correct and properly documented in our database.
  • To help the Head Science Officer coordinate the science project plan, ensuring the projects are running correctly, any data is properly documented and stored in our database, and project achievements are written up for placement in the company’s monthly reports, yearly report, website, social media, and reports to the IHSM and government ministries.
  • To help the Head Science Officer relay project data collected on a monthly basis, to volunteers, interns, students using a visual format e.g., this month our reef survey data showed this etc.,
  • To work with the Head Science Officer and Interns with the organisation of University degree/MSc research projects or any general project for students, interns or volunteers
  • To act as an educator, facilitator, and organiser to IHSM students.
  • To assist in any external organisation projects.
  • To help the company inform the local stakeholder communities through appropriate presentation methods etc., on the data collected through our marine research objectives.
  • To help create, monitor and act as coordinator for any marine research/assessment undertaken by Reef Doctor.Org/IH.SM with other NGO’s in collaborative projects when required.
  • To act as a continuing educator in fish, coral, invertebrate identification, reef fish survey techniques, conservation techniques, general marine biology, ecology, and general oceanography etc. to the interns, volunteers, other project staff and students from the IH.SM.
  • To create, update, improve upon lecture presentations on species ID, survey methods, general marine science etc., when asked.
  • To help write the science section of the Reef Doctor Newsletter science section for distribution.
  • To help create educational packages/leaflets/posters/presentations etc., on our work and the marine environment for the local school children (Kids Club and Junior Reef Doctors) and tourists (e.g. information on closed seasons for marine products to be put in hotels, restaurants, dive clubs).
  • To be on hand to help organise and oversee students or scientists from the IH.M in their duties when hired for specific project objectives under our collaborative agreement with the IH.SM and University of Toliara.
  • Attend and participate in weekly staff, team, and weekly planning meetings.
  • Conducting activities outside your job description (e.g. creating the dive plan for that day, teaching English, escorting interns, volunteers, and students on excursions from camp, look after volunteers general wellbeing on camp etc.) when asked for.

Applicant Requirements

Outlined below are the requirements the candidate needs to have to apply for the voluntary Science Officer position at our Ifaty site in Madagascar.

  • Aged over 20.
  • Degree or above in a biological field (marine biology, environmental sciences preferable.)
  • Ideally 3 months+ fieldwork experience in a biological science field, preference will be given to those with tropical marine ecology work experience or experience in a relevant field such as community based conservation.
  • Knowledge of tropical marine survey work (Indo-Pacific coral reef species preferable) and data collection and analysis techniques.
  • Data analysis skills including using SPSS, PRIMER, R, and Mini-tab.
  • General computing skills using Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint and Publisher.
  • PADI Advanced Open Water certification or above.
  • Ability to read and speak French to a basic/moderate level, ability to write in French preferable.
  • Experience working in small teams in isolated, tropical environments.
  • Experience working closely with rural communities in developing countries.
  • Ability to work in basic conditions with limited facilities and diet.
  • Ability to work under pressure to deadlines and within limited budgets.
  • Adaptable with good practical problem solving abilities.
  • Your own full set of dive equipment.
  • Current diving, medical and travel insurance.
  • Physically fit with full valid diving medical.
  • Financial ability to pay the cost for your international return flight to Madagascar and one domestic flight to the south of Madagascar.
  • Financial ability to cover standard travel, dive and medical insurance.

Applicant Receives

  • All living costs in Ifaty (project site, includes bungalow with bathroom) and Toliara (main city), and all project and work costs.
  • Free internal transport.
  • Diving medical, travel insurance and standard dive equipment insurance (reimbursed at end of the contractual period only) up to £600.
  • Dive training (up to PADI DiveMaster).
  • Salary of 400,000 MGA Malagasy local currency, roughly £100 per month paid in country.
  • Internet access (work and personnel).
  • Four weeks paid holiday per 12 months.
  • Reimbursement of International flight costs to Toliara Madagascar and visa costs at end of contract period

What you will gain from the work

We hope that by working on our project you will gain experience in research, marine management and conservation including the following:

  • Hands on experience in community-based marine conservation, education, management, and social development projects.
  • Experience in running, developing, and implementing marine research and management programmes.
  • Experience of managing a team of researchers, students and general public volunteers.
  • Data collection and analysis with experience in writing articles on our research and general work for local and international distribution.
  • Experience in undertaking novel marine conservation techniques (coral gardening, reef restoration, aquaculture).
  • Help train students from the Marine Institute (IH.SM) to become the next generation of scientists for the country
  • Experience working with local subsistence communities in a developing country using a holistic approach of marine research to implement marine management and education initiatives alongside socio-development programs to undertake conservation ensuring the future of the Bay of Ranobe’s coral reef ecosystem, its people, and culture.

The job is on a voluntary basis but the applicant will have to sign a standard employment contract on acceptance.