Become a volunteer


The marine station has welcomed hundreds of volunteers since 2015 from all over the world. The program provides future marine scientists with practical and field experience in marine science.

Primary duties will be animal husbandry and general aquarium maintenance and upkeep. There may also be opportunities to assist with research projects, fieldwork, and public outreach activities. Training will be provided as necessary.

Essential skills and qualifications

Volunteers will ideally be obtaining or recently qualified in a relevant science degree (e.g. marine biology), though exceptions may be made for people with suitable experience. Volunteers should also have a strong interest in marine life, the environment and conservation, and be enthusiastic, responsible, and reliable. Applicants must be aged 18 or over.


We usually take medium term volunteers available for 1-3 months, longer placements will also be accepted. Hours of work are negotiable, but we would ideally like someone who can commit to a minimum of 3 days per week. Hours will be between 9 am-5 pm; however, there may be times when work outside of these hours is required. This can include weekend work where suitable.

Travel and accommodation

Due to the remote location of the facility, access to own personal transport is desirable, but not essential. We also offer self-catering accommodation near the station, subject to availability.

How to apply

To apply download and complete the application below and email the completed form and your CV to

Download volunteer registration form

Volunteer stories

Isabelle Clarke, Oxford Brookes University

“I had the privilege of working alongside passionate experts in marine biology, ecology, and conservation. The hands-on experience has deepened my understanding of our oceans’ complexity.
I want to express my gratitude to the entire team at St Abbs Marine Station for welcoming me, teaching me, and allowing me to be a part of this extraordinary work. You are all true ocean heroes!
To anyone considering volunteering in marine conservation or scientific research, I wholeheartedly encourage you to explore opportunities at St Abbs Marine Station.”

Hope Stevenson, Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS)

“I started volunteering at St Abbs Marine Station at the end of May and will be completing around mid August. I chose to volunteer the Station to gain work experience over summer. After the summer I will be starting fourth year of a Marine Science degree, at the Scottish Association of Marine Science (University of the Highlands and Islands). I have enjoyed my time volunteering at the station, I learned a lot and have met many fantastic people.”

Oscar Speed, University of Plymouth

“Volunteering at the station over the summer has given me the invaluable chance to develop my practical skills as a marine biologist further, as well being fun and meeting many intersting, great people! For anyone thinking of a career in marine science or if you’re simply just interested, I would highly recommend volunteering at St. Abbs Marine Station.”

Harry McGinn, Heriot-Watt University

“Having spent the summer as a volunteer at St Abbs Marine Station, I feel I’ve gained a huge amount of practical experience in how to look after a variety of marine animals, as well as how to conduct a range of different types of survey work quickly and efficiently. These experiences will stand me in good stead for the future, and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to be here. Every single person at the station has been absolutely fantastic, and I’d highly recommend to anyone getting involved at the station if possible.”


Stasa Kamplet, Edinburgh Napier University

“I am originally from Slovenia but I have been living in Scotland for a bit over a year. I started volunteering at St Abbs because I would like to work in Marine Biology someday and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to gain experience in a research facility. I am learning something new every day and having great a time, so I want to say thanks to the amazing staff here at the station for having me.”

Erno Vriens, Nova College Haarlem

“I am from The Netherlands. I came to St Abbs in August to do an internship and to get some working experience as a volunteer. At the moment I am in my last year of studying laboratory biology, but I plan on studying marine biology. I chose the marine station as a workplace because I was not quite sure what to expect when people talk about being a marine biologist. This volunteering period has helped me figure out what I really like about biology and what I want to do as a fulltime job after my studies. I highly recommend anyone who is still in doubt to find somewhere to volunteer and experience it themselves.”

Heather Knight, University of Edinburgh

“I graduated with my degree in Zoology about a year and a half ago and started volunteering at the station at the end of April. Although I have a full time job in a laboratory, I still come down to St Abbs on the weekends! I am passionate about animals, conservation and the environment and I was drawn to St Abbs Marine station by the amazing work they do. It’s been great to be able to help out with the various fascinating projects being carried out here. It is nice to know I’ve played a part in something that could help protect marine life in future. Everyone I have met over the past months has been so lovely!”

Guadalupe de la Cruz, University of Extremadura

“I am from Spain. I came last summer with an Erasmus grant for an internship in order to gain some skills in the marine biology. It was such a beautiful experience, and I learned so much from it. I couldn’t believe it when the marine station offered me a grant to come back this summer to study the effects of electromagnetic fields on lobsters. It’s always nice to work in such a friendly and international environment, surrounded by other volunteers that are as enthusiastic as you about nature and science. The station and St Abbs are also an amazing place to take photos, which is something I really enjoy. I will be forever grateful and thankful for marine station staff for trusting in me and giving me this amazing opportunity.”

Kaitlin Scowen, University of Plymouth

“I am from Arizona. I have been lucky enough to volunteer at the St Abbs Marine Station on two separate occasions. The first time I volunteered was during a summer of my undergraduate degree in Marine Biology at the University of Hawai’i (my picture is of me diving in Oahu). I was intimidated coming from so far away and not knowing anyone in Scotland. The commute in with fellow volunteers from Edinburgh ended up solving that problem quickly and I found myself becoming pretty comfortable here. One of the main things I love about St Abbs is that you have the opportunity to gain a well-rounded experience as a scientist since there are many projects to get involved with, not to mention the amazing scenery. St Abbs helped me discover my passion for marine invertebrates. After completing my MRes Marine Biology course at the University of Plymouth, I returned for my second experience which I found just as rewarding as the first and I would love to keep up a great relationship with the station.”

Chrissy Maple, Bangor University

“After graduating I wanted to gain some practical experience in the marine industry. I volunteered at St Abbs last summer for 4 months, where I was able to get involved in a number of different research projects. I particularly enjoyed working on their lobster larval rearing project and am now looking to undertake further study in the field of aquaculture. Volunteering at the station was an extremely fun and interesting experience thanks to all the other volunteers and members of staff. I have learnt so much and I will always be grateful to have shared this experience with such a fantastic and supportive group of people.”

Olivia Eisenbach, University of Plymouth

“I’m 25, from the USA, and I volunteered at St Abbs Marine Station for a couple of months in autumn 2019. I went to St Abbs to gain practical experience in marine research. While volunteering, I was able to be a part of a variety of projects with a wonderful community of marine biologists. There was always something exciting to do at the station every day and plenty of places to explore on the weekend. I will be forever grateful to the staff and other volunteers at the station for providing such a unique and extraordinary experience!”

Ilaria Stollberg, Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS)

“I am  an undergrad student from Italy. I volunteered at the marine station in St Abbs because it seemed like the ideal place to get an idea of what lab work looks like, and what researchers do on a day to day basis. It’s truly been an eye-opening experience – my favourite part of it was the field trips out at sea, where I got to witness just how rich and diverse (and smelly!) the seafloor actually is. The people I met there were seriously amazing, and it was a pleasure to work and live with them. And on my last day there, I got to see a pod of dolphins cruising just outside the station; I can’t imagine a better farewell.”

Rob Moore, University of Plymouth

“As part of my placement year I’ve spent 4 months in St Abbs Marine Station volunteering as an aquarium technician and research assistant, helping the staff with research projects and gaining valuable skills and knowledge to help my post graduate career. Every day has been different with so much to learn and do from essential aquarium maintenance to fisheries science data collection. I’ve learnt so much from all the staff, fellow volunteers and visitors at St Abbs which has helped my decisions about what to do post graduate and what options are available. I’d highly recommend volunteering here to any marine biology student looking to get some amazing experiences and opportunities in a lively marine research station.”

Jess Hill, University of Southampton

“Whilst volunteering, I was able to be involved in a range of research projects undertaken at the station, developing both lab and practical field work skills; including aquarium maintenance, crab shore surveys and assisting the investigation of oyster larvae distribution patterns. I have learnt a lot from my time at St Abbs, and thoroughly enjoyed being able to work on such a beautiful coastline. I am very grateful for the experience volunteering at St Abbs, and am thankful to the great team of staff and volunteers of which I worked alongside. Volunteering at St Abbs was extremely rewarding and I would recommend to any aspiring marine biologist!”

Emilia Heiskanen, Edinburgh Napier University

“I am from Finland. I volunteered at St Abbs Marine Station last summer during the break from uni as I was keen to gain practical experience in my field of study. During my time at the marine station, I learnt so many new skills from precise lab work to practical field skills. Being able to do this all while working together with amazing, supportive staff and fellow volunteers, was an absolutely amazing experience!”

Laura van Gaalen, Nova College Haarlem

“I’m from the Netherlands, and have been volunteering at the St Abbs Marine Station as part of my study for a couple of months now. Volunteering at the Marine Station is an amazing experience thanks to all the other volunteers and members of staff. There is always something interesting to do at the Station and time to take beautiful walks on the weekends. I will be forever grateful for this unique experience that I had thanks to the wonderful people at the Marine Station!”