Marine Action Research

About MAR

Marine Action Research (MAR) provides an opportunity for aspiring scientists and passionate conservationists 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 incredible amount 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 of the region’s manta ray populations and assist with their conservation in southern Mozambique.


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


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

Artificial Reefs

Of the 2 wrecks in Zavora, the newly sunken Rio Sainas [2013] provided an excellent opportunity to monitor the colonization of an artificial reef right from ground zero.


Together with iSeahorse, MAR aims to assess and monitor seahorse populations, trends, and threats in the Inhambane region.


Visual surveys and baited remote underwater videos (BRUVs) are helping to collect baseline data on the elasmobranch species in the region.

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. 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 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, seahorses, and artificial reef (wreck) colonization.

  • Research mentorship

    One-on-one guidance with research, scientific diving, and university study

  • Competitive fees

    Internship fee includes food, accommodation, airport transfers, practical training, 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 MAR Team

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Nakia Cullain

Scientific Director, Marine Action Research
Nakia holds a MSc in marine biology from Dalhousie University. In 2016, Nakia founded MAR and took over as director of ZML, continuing and expanding research in the region while fulfilling her passion for the 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 Instructor, 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 A.C.C.M. and the Zavora Marine Lab. She is our expert on nudibranchs in Mozambique and a main collaborator with MAR.
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Lab 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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