Marine Biology Field Course

South Africa's premiere marine biology field course.

About our Marine Biology Field Course

Oceans Research's Marine Biology Field Course enables aspiring scientists and conservationists to work in conjunction with leading marine biologists as they undertake groundbreaking research on the charismatic marine mega-fauna of Southern Africa, including great white sharks.

Oceans Research Institute’s marine biology field research program provides a first-hand practical experience in marine research and conservation. Anyone with an interest in marine biology, conservation and/or education can benefit. Our shark field course focuses on long-term research projects like the population assessment of white sharks or the habitat use of many other shark species. Similar projects work in conjunction on teaching research skills to our students, like how to use ROVs or drones in marine research and monitoring projects. We also teach practical skills, from what to do when a boat engine does not start, to how to fish responsibly in order to tag sharks. Furthermore, the ability to apply the research knowledge our students obtain into our various conservation and awareness programs in local schools adds to the diversity of skills and experiences. Our program has been recognised by many international universities providing up to a full semester credits for one month with us due to the intensive experience obtained by the students.

Projects & Activities

  • Population assessments & trends of white sharks, humpback & bottlenose dolphins, southern right & humpback whales and Cape fur seals
  • Habitat use of white sharks and marine mammals
  • Population structure, trophic and movement ecology of other shark species
  • Predator-prey behavioural strategies of white sharks and Cape fur seals
  • Shark stress physiology and behavioural studies
  • Intertidal community assessment
  • Surveys of plastic pollution
  • Marine Mammal Stranding Response workshop
  • Science Communication Course
  • Get a SCUBA OWD, AOWD or RD certification included

*Some projects are seasonal


Learning & Skill Sets

  • Seamanship and crew in a research vessel
  • Through both land and sea-based fishing trips, techniques are taught on how to correctly catch & handle sharks, how to tag them, and how data on catch, tag & release can be used to monitor shark populations
  • Learn to deploy and operate Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) equipment, Remote Operated Vehicles (ROV) and drones, to subsequently answer specific research questions through analysis of video data
  • Gain experience in how to best maintain research boats and scientific equipment

Program Structure

  • Arrival 1st of the month – any time
  • 2nd-3rd orientation & safety briefing
  • 4th to month end – program activities
  • Work conducted Monday through Friday
  • Work hours from 7am to 6pm
  • Weekends are left for resting and additional recreational activities
  • Departure 1st of the next month

Program Cost Varies 

(based on student affluence)
  • Feb to Apr : 2,500 USD per month
  • Jun to Aug : 2,800 USD per month
  • Sept to Nov : 2,500 USD per month
minimum stay: 1 month

* discounts for South Africans citizens available outside Jun-Aug period

Price includes

  • Research fee
  • Dorm-style accommodation
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Local transport
  • Local airport pickup/drop off
  • Internet

Price Excludes

  • Airfare
  • Insurances
  • Laundry
  • Tourism activities
  • Spending money

Additional Information

  • Gain course credit
  • Career development skills
  • Certificate of completion

Informational Videos

Field Research Course quick view


Where we are: living in Mossel Bay, travel and medical insurance etc…


Flying, transfers, arrival info


Travel Preps: clothing, banks, wifi etc…


Living, Working, Weekends


Training program in 360 (look around!)


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