Marine Action Research

About MAR

Marine Action Research (MAR) provides an opportunity for university students to learn practical fieldwork skills, gain scientific scuba diving experience, and explore qualitative and quantitative data at the Zavora Marine Lab in southern Mozambique. MAR focuses on manta rays, humpback whales, nudibranchs and reef colonization through investigations of the marine life and coastal ecosystems of Zavora Bay. Zavora has an abundance of biodiversity and offers the opportunity to study these unique and charismatic species in one of the most beautiful and wild areas of southern Mozambique.

Manta Rays

Manta research aims to generate knowledge on the region’s manta populations and abundance, and assist with their conservation in southern Mozambique.


Zavora Marine Lab is conducting the first biodiversity assessment of nudipleura in Mozambique: solving a complex of species problems and describing new species.


Humpback whales come to Zavora Bay each year to reproduce and give birth. Land-based surveys help provide estimates of humpback populations travelling through the region.

Artificial Reefs

There are two wrecks in Zavora Bay. In 2013, the Zavora Marine Lab started a new project to monitor the colonization of the newly sunken Rio Sainas.

Begin your adventure to the wild and remote coast of southern Mozambique

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About the Zavora Marine Lab

-24.513552, 35.193464 | Praia de Zavora Bay | Mozambique
study. dive. explore

The Zavora Marine Lab was founded in 2009 by marine biologist Yara Tibirica to investigate and conserve the unique marine life and coastal ecosystems of Zavora Bay, one of the most beautiful and wild areas of southern Mozambique. Zavora is one of the few places in the world where marine megafauna, including manta rays and humpback whales are still found in high abundance. Marine Action Research at the Zavora Marine Lab offers the unique opportunity to study a marine ecosystem with little human impact and where there remains much of the reef yet to be explored. The lab's ongoing research is focused on manta rays, humpback whales, nudibranchs and artificial reef (wreck) colonization.

  • Research mentorship

    One-on-one guidance on research and university study

  • Competitive fees

    Internship fee includes food, accommodation, transportation, dives and rentals in Mozambique

  • Low cost of living

    The cost of living in Mozambique is 66 per cent lower than the United States; a cup of coffee costs $1!

  • Community environment

    Interns live together, work together and develop lasting friendships

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The ZML Team

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Nakia Cullain

Scientific Director, Marine Action Research
Nakia holds of Masters of Marine Biology from Dalhousie University. In 2016, Nakia founded Marine Action Research and took over as director of ZML, continuing and expanding research and fulfilling her passion for oceans.
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Mornay Delport

Director of Operations, Marine Action Research
Mornay has had a passion for diving and conservation since childhood. Mornay oversees dive planning and safety as a certified NAUI Dive Master, as well as manages general lab operations.
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Yara Tibirica

Founder, Zavora Marine Lab
Yara is a diver, researcher and conservationist from Brazil. In 2009 she founded the Zavora Marine Lab in Mozambique where she led research on manta rays, whales, reef colonization and nudis.
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Lap dog/beach bum
Balu is a staffy mix and the newest member of the MAR team. This handsome boy’s good manners are only matched by his sweet temperament and gentle disposition.

What our interns say

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