Research & Education
Curatorial and Research Internships - Reef HQ

Curatorial and Research Internships

Curatorial and Research Internship Specifics

Curatorial and Research Interns are part of the Technical Operations / Curatorial Team at Reef HQ Aquarium, the team responsible for water quality and daily maintenance of live exhibits at the Aquarium. Reef HQ Aquarium offers a Curatorial and Research Internship position to suitably qualified and motivated applicants twice a year. This six month program is designed for individuals intending a professional technical career in aquariums, aquaculture, or closely related fields. Successful applicants acquire hands-on experience in areas of laboratory operations, water quality analysis, aquarium maintenance, animal nutrition and observation, general husbandry techniques, record keeping, quarantine and handling protocols.

Each internship includes one supervised research project to be completed within the time frame. Where possible, Reef HQ Aquarium can cooperate with colleagues and universities to obtain course credit upon completion of the internship and research project, if deemed applicable. In addition, Interns are expected to assist Reef HQ Aquarium Technical Operations staff with core duties such as:

  • Laboratory water quality analyses, bioassays, and daily monitoring
  • Marine animal husbandry including feeding
  • General aquarium system maintenance
  • Occasional field trips for collection or research, including collaborative projects with affiliated institutions, which may be available depending on chosen research project
  • SCUBA diving in Reef HQ Aquarium to assist with routine maintenance. 


There are two intakes for internships annually, each being a duration of 6 months:

  • February / March
  • August / September 


Eligibility for a Curatorial and Research Internship

Preference will be given to those applicants who fulfil the following criteria which are considered to be 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, particularly in biology and chemistry
  • Familiarity and understanding of water testing and laboratory procedures
  • Experience in animal handling or husbandry
  • PADI Rescue Diver SCUBA certification, or equivalent. 

Please note:  the position requires the Intern to be committed to fulfill the position 5 days per week, Monday to Friday, full-time during usual operational hours for the entire 6 month period.

Successful applicants should also be in good physical condition, and be able to provide their own financial support, housing and transportation as it is an unpaid position, with no renumeration. Reef HQ Aquarium may be able to provide assistance with occupational training visas if needed for successful overseas applicants, depending on circumstance.

While these Internships are unpaid, the opportunity for vast skill and knowledge development provides a distinct industry-experience advantage to recent university graduates and those seeking such employment.

How to apply

  • February / March applications are due no later than 25 October of the previous year
  • August / September applications are due no later than 25 April of that same year


To apply, you must provide the following :

1.   A formal cover letter which should include:

  • Name, nationality and contact information
  • University affiliation, detailing academic qualifications and notable program achievements
  • Your motivation for applying for the Internship
  • Availability, stating which is the preferred biannual intake period. 

2.   A current resume outlining previous relevant professional experience. This should include three academic or professional references with their current contact information.

3.   An official letter of recommendation from a current faculty member or supervisor who is familiar with your internship related interests and skills. 


  • Familiarity with water testing and laboratory procedures is highly desirable.
  • Interns are scheduled on the SCUBA dive roster on a regular weekly routine basis. To be included in the dive roster it is mandatory that a minimum of a PADI Rescue Diver, or equivalent, be held. Also a current commercial dive medical, First Aid and CPR / O2 qualifications are desirable, but can be obtained at the commencement of the internship if not already held.

Please note:  Incomplete applications will not be considered. 


Applications may be submitted via mail to:

Life Support Systems Coordinator

Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium

2-68 Flinders Street




Alternatively you may submit your application with attachments via email to:


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


Good luck! 

Last published on 30/09/2015

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