Volunteering with our Animal Husbandry Team

The Ocean Conservation Trust runs the National Marine Aquarium, the largest Aquarium in the UK, as its centre of Ocean excellence.

Based in Plymouth, Devon, the National Marine Aquarium has a dedicated and experienced world-class Husbandry team who deal with the day to day running and development of the exhibits, as well as the management of all our off display back of house areas. Our Husbandry volunteer programme allows students to gain first-hand experience of this interesting and unique role and assist our biologists with taking care of the health and wellbeing of over 5,000 marine animals.

Our volunteers work directly with the Husbandry team and assist in the day to day running and development of all aspects of the Husbandry department. The positions are designed to introduce basic animal care and husbandry skills. Volunteers receive invaluable experience of working in a large and dynamic aquarium, helping us to achieve our aim to make the National Marine Aquarium the very best in Europe.

Day to day husbandry tasks include but are not limited to:

  • Maintenance of display tanks
  • Preparation of food for livestock
  • Feeding livestock
  • Maintenance of plankton cultures
  • Maintenance of off display tanks
  • Maintenance of life support systems
  • Operant conditioning of individual animals
  • Water chemistry analysis

There are different volunteering opportunities within the husbandry team, see roles below. For all positions, applicants must be aged 18 years or over. 

Please note that unfortunately, the National Marine Aquarium is unable to provide financial assistance for any of our volunteering roles. This role is physically demanding and requires a basic level of fitness.

Role 1: Husbandry Internships – NOW CLOSED

Husbandry internships allow volunteers to immerse themselves within the husbandry team for a period of 3 months. The intern will be assigned an area and assist a particular biologist in the day to day running and development of that area. This role is ~37.5 hours a week and is based on rota shifts and includes weekends. A complete rota will be given to successful candidates before the commencement of the internship. Email your form to nmavolunteers@oceanconservationtrust.org

Role 2: Year in Industry 2024/2025- NOW CLOSED

Industrial placement roles are for students whose degree course requires an industrial placement year for a minimum of 40 weeks. The student will gain an overall view of all the husbandry areas and will assist the husbandry team with the development of the aquarium. Students will also be encouraged to design and implement a research project which aligns with the Ocean Conservation Trusts policy and aims. The results for this project can be used for third year projects if allowed by the accrediting university. This role is ~37.5 hours a week and is based on rota shifts and includes weekends and bank holidays, including Christmas and Boxing Day. Placement students will accrue holiday entitlement.

Placements start on the first Monday of September.

For students wanting a shorter placement, please look at role 1. Students who are unable to commit to a minimum of 40 weeks will not be considered. For students who require longer than 40 weeks, this can be discussed at the interview stage.

We reserve the right to close this vacancy prior to the advertised closing date if we receive a sufficient number of applications.

Email your form to nmavolunteers@oceanconservationtrust.org

The National Marine Aquarium (NMA) is the UK’s largest aquarium, located in Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth. It is run by the Ocean Conservation Trust, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the Ocean.

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