Black Turtle Conservation

The marine conservation program at Black Turtle Dive was launched in 2022, having evolved from the Eco Koh Tao Reef Ecology & Conservation program which has been running since 2007. Since 2006 Eco Koh Tao has focused on research and restoration, specifically focused on the west side of Koh Tao, creating Junkyard Reef, now one of the most popular training sites for entry level diver training around Koh Tao and an instrumental part of the progression of coral restoration development in Thailand.

Black Turtle Dive works alongside the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources on two restoration projects, Junkyard Reef and Black Turtle Reef both located off the west coast of Koh Tao.

Black Turtle Dive is also one of the few operators in Thailand legally allowed to offer training courses and programs in Coral Restoration in conjunction with the DMCR.

Discover Black Turtle Conservation Courses

Training Center Offering


Core Conservationist

Scheduled over 7 days, the Core Conservationist Internship provides a fantastic introduction to the coral reef for individuals who want a scientific based academic experience but are limited on the time they can spend on Koh Tao.

The Core Conservationist internship introduces you to the fundamentals of coral reef ecology, the marine organisms that live on and around the reef, and the important roles these organisms perform that contribute to a healthy reef.

Core Conservationist

You will learn how to view the reef from a scientific perspective using key biotic and abiotic reef components and you will be able to identify key fish and invertebrate indicator species, substrate types and coral growth forms and assess coral health and identify coral diseases.

The Core Conservationist program also explores threats our marine ecosystem faces, including coral bleaching and introducing students to coral restoration.

Scientific Diver

Our four week Scientific Diver Internship is divided into 2 parts, foundational and intermediate that can be completed at different times for those unable to complete the full 4 weeks in one go.

Two-week Foundational level program: Master Conservationist

This 14 day program is our most popular Internship. Covering the modules contained in our Core Conservationist Internship program the Master Conservationist delves further into anthropogenic and natural threats to the environment including the marine plastics problem.

The Master Conservationist Internship introduces participants to advanced ecological monitoring including Coral Taxonomy where you will learn to identify 18 common genera in the marine environment of Koh Tao.

We will also focus on building artificial reefs to help take pressure off dive sites and assist with reef regeneration and look more into coral restoration.

During this Internship an individual will receive 6 Conservation Diver certifications plus a Master Conservationist certificate of completion.

Two-week Intermediate level program: Scientific Diver

Designed to follow on from the foundational level the Scientific Diver program builds on what participants have learned in the Master Conservationist.

We will focus on Advanced Ecological Monitoring, introducing participants to common coral diseases, Macro Algae and the effect this has on a healthy reef ecosystem.

You will learn to Identify another 32 coral genera, study the effects predation has on the coral reef and look closely at the role Giant Clams, Nudibranchs and Sea Horses have on the reef. Students completing the Scientific diver Internship will also spend more time working on our artificial reef, performing maintenance, coral gardening and a more in depth study of coral transplanting techniques.

During this Internship an individual will receive 7 Conservation Diver certifications plus a Scientific Diver certificate of completion.

Research Assistant Program

After completing the 4 week Scientific Diver program you will be equipped with the core skills needed to join our research team and work towards becoming a certified Conservation Diver Research Assistant through this advanced internship opportunity.

This internship is designed to help you harness the methodologies and protocols within our program and apply your knowledge in the field as you make the change from student to an active member of our conservation team.

Every student that comes through our program makes an active difference to our research and restoration efforts but it is our Research Assistants that underpin our conservation ethos and help to evolve our program. This program involves 15-30 dives per month.

You will assist our research team with daily activities and ongoing projects including but not limited to:

  • Prepare conservation equipment for the day (ie. slates, pencils, tools, reels, etc)
  • Assist on the dive boat with equipment set-up and pre-dive safety checks and ensure our conservation divers are proficient.
  • Help with pre dive briefings, and post-dive clean downs and student debriefs
  • Be an active presence on the conservation program, pre-empting the needs of the instructor staff and students, helping the program to flourish
  • Attend all student level lectures where possible and be prepared to answer questions when called upon
  • Demonstrate a passion to learn and better yourself
  • Indirectly supervise new students during the restoration and research diving activities.
  • Assist with land based conservation efforts, including but not limited to: artificial reef construction, beach clean-up programs and social events
  • Encourage productive discussion during group activities, encouraging students to approach knowledge gaps in a scientific way
  • Manage beach and dive site clean-up program
  • Manage data recording activities
  • Assist with dive activities, including but not limited to: artificial reef construction and maintenance
  • Complete an independent conservation or research project with a clear written report for public presentation