Education at Reef HQ Aquarium
Curatorial and Research Internships - Reef HQ

Curatorial and Research Internships

Reef HQ Aquarium offers a curatorial and research internship position to suitably qualified and motivated applicants. This six-month program is designed for individuals intending a technical or professional career in marine biology, aquaculture, or a closely related discipline. Skills acquired during these internships provide a distinct industry-experience advantage to recent university graduates seeking such employment. Each internship includes one supervised research project that will be the core duty of the candidate. In addition, interns assist Reef HQ Aquarium Curatorial Staff with duties such as:

  • Water quality analysis and daily monitoring
  • Marine animal husbandry including feeding
  • Aquarium system maintenance and construction
  • Routine aquarium cleaning and diving
  • Occasional field trips for collection or research may also available
  • SCUBA Diving in Reef HQ Aquarium to assist with routine maintenance.

Curatorial and Research Internship Specifics

Curatorial and Research interns are part of the Curatorial Team at Reef HQ Aquarium, the team responsible for daily maintenance of live exhibits at the Aquarium. As such, they acquire hands-on aquarist experience in areas like: laboratory operations, water quality analysis, aquarium maintenance, animal nutrition and observation, general husbandry techniques, record keeping and quarantine and handling protocols. Additional opportunities in specialist areas, coral propagation being one example, are also available as time and interest permit.

Example of past a Reef HQ Aquarium Curatorial and Research Intern project 

Eligibility for a Curatorial and Research Internship

There are two intakes for internships annually:

  • February or March
  • August or September

Preference will be given to those applicants who fulfill the following minimum requirements (please check before applying):

Bachelor’s degree in marine biology or a related discipline, or a minimum of three years experience in university-level science, especially in biology and chemistry

  • Familiarity with water testing, laboratory and/or microscopy procedures
  • Experience in animal handling or husbandry
  • PADI Open water SCUBA certification or equivalent

Successful applicants should also be in good physical condition, be able to commit to five days/week for the full 6-month internship period, and be able to provide their own financial support, housing, and transportation. Reef HQ Aquarium provides assistance with occupational training visas for successful overseas applicants.

While these intern-ships are unpaid, the opportunity for skill and knowledge development is excellent. In addition, where possible, Reef HQ Aquarium can cooperate with colleges and universities to obtain course credit upon completion of the internship.

How to apply

  • February/March applications are due no later than November 25
  • August/September applications are due no later than May 25

To apply, you must provide the following materials (incomplete applications will not be considered):

  1. A formal cover letter should include:
    • Name, nationality and contact information
    • University affiliation, address, and academic qualifications and program
    • Specific interests and motivation for applying
    • Previous relevant experience.
    • Tentative schedule of availability or preferred start date
  2. A current résumé or curriculum vitae that include three academic or professional references with their up-to-date contact information
  3. An official letter of recommendation from a current faculty member or supervisor who is familiar with your intern-ship related interests and skills

Submit your application by mail to:

Water Quality Officer
Reef HQ Aquarium
2-68 Flinders Street
Townsville, QLD 4810

Alternatively, you may submit your documents via email to:

Last published on 04/03/2015

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Associated Sites

  • Australian Government - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
  • T-QUAL - Australian Tourism Quality Assured
  • Eco certified - Advanced Ecotourism
  • Australia Climate Action Business
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