Be part of the team working at the forefront of active reef restoration science

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Coral reefs face a multitude of threats, from climate change and storm damage, to sediment and nutrient run-off. Join us in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef to help scientists develop best-practice methods for coral recovery.

On this expedition, you will be part of the research dive team, making baseline measurements of environmental conditions and assessing fish and invertebrate diversity and abundance, as well as actively removing algae and deploying coral recruitment (settlement) tiles.

In contributing to this research, you’ll be at the forefront of active reef restoration science. You’ll be helping researchers on experiments that aim to develop best-practice methods for removing macro-algae and allowing coral to regrow. You’ll also be directly involved in filling in knowledge gaps that will help reef managers to make evidence-based decisions about active interventions that will support the Great Barrier Reef’s recovery, and the recovery of reefs around the world. 

Important Information

This expedition is open only to occupational divers and experienced snorkellers. All divers must meet the requirements of the James Cook University Dive register. Please contact Earthwatch for more information regarding this process. Read our comprehensive briefing to find out more about the research, daily life in the field, accommodations, meals, and travel planning & packing tips.

Expedition Briefing 

Learn More

For more information or to book contact our office (03) 9016 7590 or email [email protected]


Magnetic Island, Queensland



Includes accommodation, meals, transfers and research activities


5 days

2023 Dates

Team 1: 01-05 May 2023

Team 2: 10-14 July 2023

Team 3: 16-20 October 2023

Activity Level


Lead Scientist

Dr David Bourne, James Cook University and Australian Institute of Marine Science 


"Sitting on a plane back to Sydney let me reflect on what an incredible week I was so privileged to be a part of. Getting to spend nearly 6 hours underwater and countless hours on the surface with some of the best minds in the business and assisting with their research is something I never dreamed I could be a part of. And knowing I was able to make a real contribution is just so rewarding. Through the guidance of Hillary Smith and Dr David Bourne, I gained an incredible understanding of the part they are playing in researching Macroalgae and the affects it may or may not be having on what I consider to be Australia’s, if the not the world’s, greatest asset - the ocean and the Great Barrier Reef. I took many learnings from this experience but above all it showed me that no matter what part you play, no matter how small it may be, it is better than doing nothing." 
~ Trent Mulligan, Portfolio Manager QBE | Woolooware NSW

"Hillary and David were great; I really liked the fact they were more than happy to answer questions. Nothing was 'dumbed' down so to speak. The guys made a real effort in challenging weather conditions to provide lectures, talks and excursions that were fantastic. The knowledge and experience gained was invaluable and really increased my love for the subject. I saw baby coral larvae and I was completely hooked! Loved it!"
~ Laura Birley, Principal HR Consultant | Seaford VIC

This is a part of our 
Healthy Coasts campaign.

Want to get involved?  Click Here

COVID-19 update: Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 globally and Australian border arrangements, Earthwatch has a number of controls in place.

  • Vaccination: Our vaccination policy follows the latest Australian Government advice. All Earthwatch Participants are required to produce verified proof of full COVID-19 vaccination (double dose) unless medically exempt. 
  • Domestic Travel – border closures: We recommend that participants monitor domestic travel and entry requirements specific to their circumstance.  Due to our limited capacity, Earthwatch does not take responsibility for informing participants if they are unable to attend an expedition due to border closures. If you have booked for a program or expedition in an area which you are no longer able to travel to, please refer to our Travel Credit policy below.
  • International Travel: At this stage, we are not offering international expeditions.
  • Travel Credit: If you are unable to attend a program or expedition which you have booked due to circumstances out of your control (e.g. domestic border closures), we will automatically issue travel credit which will remain valid for a period of 12 months from date of issue. As we are a small organisation, we have a number of unrecoverable costs when it comes to arranging programs and expeditions, therefore we are unable to provide refunds.