Students from around the world have been visiting Blue Ventures’ field site in Andavadoaka, southwest Madagascar, since 2003, to carry out independent research projects and medical elective placements. We also have a field site in northern Belize, where independent researchers are similarly welcome.
Medical elective programmeMedical elective students are invited to join Blue Ventures' award-winning community health team at our base in the village of Andavadoaka for 4-6 week placements. This is a unique opportunity to live and work with some of the world’s poorest and most isolated communities, and be part of our integrated health and conservation programmes.
You will take part in and learn about our community-based approach to health education and service delivery. You will witness the challenges of providing healthcare in a remote, resource-poor setting. You will learn about the cultural, social, environmental and economic context within which we operate. We are confident that no other medical elective can offer you this sort of learning experience.
- Download our medical elective programme booklet for more information
- Apply online for a medical elective placement
Independent research package
Visiting students can research a wide range of conservation and ecological topics at our field sites in Madagascar and Belize. Volunteers who join Blue Ventures’ six-week conservation expeditions may also be able to use their time to earn credits toward their university courses.
- Download our list of current independent research projects (2013-2014)
- A list of previous project titles is available here
Past independent research projects have covered such diverse issues as ecological monitoring of coral reefs and feasibility studies for community-based aquaculture development.
Blue Ventures does not offer funding for independent research projects, however, we can host undergraduate and postgraduate students at our field sites. Our independent research package includes project guidance and supervision, food and accommodation, site transfers, pastoral care while in the field, and comprehensive health and safety provision.
The independent research package is £27.50 per day for food and accommodation at our field sites, plus a one-off £95 bench fee for supervision and advice. Boat use, scuba diving and local guides can all be arranged at additional cost; please contact us for more information.
We suggest that undergraduate students choose a project that can utilise archived databases and is not dependent on new data collection due to the difficult logistics and time constraints of this remote region. While we advise prospective researchers to choose from our list of project titles, we do also welcome applications from students with their own projects.
If you are interested in undertaking an independent research project with Blue Ventures then please:
Independent research projects (2013-2014) - Madagascar
- The effects of short-term spatio-temporal closures of mangrove areas on fish populations
- Visualisation of traditional crab captures data in western Madagascar
- Study of national octopus fishery status and trends in Madagascar
- Study on status and trends of octopus fisheries in the Western Indian Ocean
- Analysis of growth rates of hatchery-reared holothurians (Holothuria scabra) in community-managed aquaculture farms
- Madagascar as a case of study for red seaweed farming implementation in the WIO
- A study of local farmer income over the course of the aquaculture programme since 2007
- Effectiveness of community-based marine aquaculture in Western Indian Ocean: what can be learned from past and present, successes and failures in order to further development
GIS & Remote Sensing studies
- Assessing the status of methods for detecting mangrove degradation through geospatial analysis
- Multi-criteria analysis for the definition of REDD+ project boundaries
- Identifying and deriving spatial surrogates for the primary drivers of mangrove deforestation
- Assessing the status of methods for modelling future deforestation scenarios
- Assessing natural regeneration within areas of deforested mangrove
- Centralising and organising the Blue Forests Project’s geospatial database
Socio-economic and integrated studies
- Analysis of the agents, drivers and underlying causes of mangrove deforestation in Madagascar’s northwest
- Value chain analysis of charcoal production in Madagascar’s NW coast
- Migration of inland peoples to coastal environments in the Mikea forest
- Development of the Barren Islands LMMA sustainable finance plan
- Climate adaptation impacts of a forest carbon project in Velondriake locally- managed marine area
- Analysis of the drivers, evolution and impacts of the demographic pressure on the Barren Isles ecosystems
Carbon & Forestry studies
- Sustainable harvest of mangroves in Madagascar
- Alternative fuel-wood plantations to prevent leakage of mangrove REDD+ activities
- Mangrove forest regeneration after harvesting and the associated changes in carbon stocks
- Changes in mangrove carbon stocks associated with natural die-off
- Comprehensive assessment of the seagrass meadows of the Velondriake LMMA and their value for blue carbon projects
Independent research projects (2013-2014) - Belize
- Describing community structure of reef fish within seagrass, mangrove and reef habitats: using ecological data to evaluate management effectiveness of Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve
- Why all the algae? An assessment of the population status and distribution of key reef herbivore, Diadema antillarum, in Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve
- The value and vulnerability of avifauna in Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve: forming recommendations to ensure planned tourism development is environmentally-sound