Volunteer Programs at Mote's Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration (IC2R3)

Realize the good you can do by simply giving your time. You can be part of something meaningful and help support one of the world's foremost marine research organizations by becoming a volunteer at Mote Marine Laboratory's Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research and Restoration located on Summerland Key, Florida! Volunteering here is an educational experience to learn from our team in any of our widespread departments while gaining hands-on experience and knowledge!

Most volunteer opportunities require a weekly commitment, which can range from four to six hours. If this works best for you, you will select a set day and time for your shift that will be reoccurring each week. If committing to a set schedule doesn’t fit your needs, that’s not a problem! Several of our departments have a flexible schedule and and volunteer positions can be coordinated with Program Managers.

Please carefully review the volunteer descriptions for each department below to ensure that you select areas that will be a good fit for your skills, interests and schedule before submitting an application (see button at bottom of this page).

Coral Reef Restoration – Land-based

Mote scientists cultivate diverse corals for restoration and research in IC2R3’s land-based coral nurseries. At our facility, our land based restoration program maintains and cares for thousands of coral fragments located in our raceways. Day-to-day duties include generating tags for our various coral species, making/repairing racks and/or trees which hold our coral plugs, cleaning and siphoning raceways, and transferring corals to different raceways (outdoors, long hours in the heat). If an individual has previous husbandry experience, cleaning coral plugs to rid them of algae and pests is also available. Observing coral health and training in Mote’s coral microfragmentation process are also long-term volunteer possibilities!

Coral Reef Restoration: Grazer – Land-based

The Grazers lab is primarily looking at the herbivorous Caribbean King Crabs and their ability to remove algae from degraded reefs as well as developing the best methods for culturing them. Volunteering with this team will involve helping with everyday duties like cleaning and siphoning raceways and pumps, feeding, and counting out the hundreds and thousands of crabs that are hatched on site. For long term volunteers, there are also opportunities to help tag the new incoming crabs and record their information, collect algae for them to eat, and assist in conducting experiments when they occur!

Coral Reproduction –  Land-based

Volunteer with our coral reproduction team and learn more about Mote’s breeding efforts for corals. As coral reefs are severely threatened, Dr. Hanna Koch and her team focus heavily on reproduction in a lab setting and our nurseries. Volunteering with this team includes duties such as coral husbandry tasks and providing care and maintenance to our coral recruits and assisting with basic aquaculture duties. This is only a long- term volunteer opportunity and desired skills in this lab include, special attention to detail, ultimate organization, and steady hands.


Join our Education Department and gain more knowledge and experience while educating the younger generation! Volunteer opportunities with this program include assisting in various educational outreach programs that are geared towards elementary and middle school students.




Join our Event squad! Mote’s Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration hosts a variety of events throughout the Florida Keys, such as Ocean Fest. This includes various events in Key West, Marathon, Islamorada and up to Key Largo. Assist with setup and breakdown, manning booths for tickets and/or merchandise, distributing food or beverages and managing shifts in our booths during the event.

SFM Photogammetry - Virtual (FULL)

The coral reef ecosystems program studies the effect of coral restoration on the rest of the reef community. Using a technique called Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetry and Large Area Imaging, the team creates cohesive, interactive 2D and 3D site representations of research and outplant sites. These are "virtually surveyed" allowing a greater depth and breadth of data extraction than in water surveys on SCUBA.This team is perfect for someone who is extremely computer savvy and ideally has command line experience as it will involve aiding in the data processing, rendering, and digital surveying of restoration and research sites. 

*Volunteer opportunities in the Ocean Acidification Lab and Coral Health and Disease lab are available based on specific circumstances.

Please Note

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium does not currently offer:

  • Short-term, group, or corporate volunteer opportunities

  • Volunteer opportunities for kids under 15 years of age

  • Court-appointed community service opportunities

  • Job shadowing. For college students and recent graduates, see our internship page here.

Apply Now!