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  • Overview
  • Objectives
  • Skills you gain
  • Costs to Consider
  • Site Conditions

2023 bookings were closed on April 1st 2023, if you would still like to book an expedition please do get in touch with us at and we will work with you to see what we may have available.

The reefs of the Wakatobi have been monitored by Operation Wallacea teams since 2002 and in recent years by teams from the Hasanuddin University in Makassar. These datasets provide an increasingly valuable resource to monitor how reefs in the heart of the coral triangle are changing. Initial observations suggest that the abundance of reef building corals has declined but other functional benthic taxa, such as soft corals, have increased. As well as an overall decrease in reef building corals, the types of corals present, both in terms of species and colony structure have also changed. Where once reefs in the region harboured a mix of different colony growth forms (including branching, table and foliose corals) the system today is dominated by massive (boulder-like) and encrusting corals. The physical form of the reef is therefore changing which has implications for resident and transient fish communities. During 2023 the Hasanuddin University researchers will be repeating the reef monitoring programme on the reefs around Hoga island, data from which can be compared to previous years to determine rates of change in key coral and reef fish community characteristics. The data consist of replicate 50m long transects at multiple depths over a series of reef sites. Benthic community structure is assessed using point intercept technique, more recently via underwater videography. Fish community structure was initially assessed using underwater visual census (UVC), but since 2013 has used state-of-the- art stereo-video surveys which allow accurate biomass measurements to be estimated. Students involved in this project will be assisting with the Hasanuddin led surveys but will have access to the larger datasets so that changes over time can be quantified.

Extended Dissertation Summary

If you would like to do a dissertation or thesis with us but your university hasn’t started dissertation planning or the project selection process, that’s no problem. You can cancel your expedition with zero cancellation charges up until the 15th of April of if you provide documentation from your university saying that they won’t support completing a dissertation project with us.

Indonesia - Wallacea Marine Research Objectives

There is a triangle of reefs in Eastern Indonesia that have the highest diversity of hard coral genera, the proxy commonly used to assess overall diversity of coral reefs, anywhere in the world. The Hoga Island Marine Station is located in the heart of the Wakatobi Marine National Park. Over the last 20 years, a series of scientists have been based at this site during the Opwall survey seasons and as a result, this is now the most published site in the Coral Triangle. For the last 15 years a series of constant monitoring sites around Hoga and eastern Kaledupa have been monitored for macroinvertebrates, fish communities, coral cover and community structure. The 2021 season will complete this monitoring plus some additional projects.

  • Develop an independent research project and write a formal proposal
  • Dive on a range of reefs around Hoga island
  • Complete a week-long training course on Indo-Pacific coral reef ecology
  • Learn to identify common Indo-Pacific fish corals and invertebrates
  • Collect data using a range of ecological survey techniques and cutting-edge technology
  • Learn how to organise and analyse large data sets
  • Opwall fee
  • Cost of international flights into and out of Jakarta or Makassar
  • Cost of internal travel to and from the start and end point of the expedition, plus any hotels you might require. The standard package costs around £582 or $340 (Jakarta) or £315 or $390 (Makassar)
  • Extra nights’ accommodation in Jakarta or Makassar costs around £26 or $34 (breakfast included).
  • Park entrance fees are £25 or $33 marine site.
  • Visa costs of approx. £32 or $40 for a VOA for 30days. Approx. £110 for visa extension (31-60 days). Please get in touch with someone from Opwall for more detailed advice.
  • Dive equipment rental – £60 or $90 per week for a full dive kit. If you only wish to snorkel and want to hire snorkel equipment, the cost is £30 or $45 per week. Please note that wetsuits cannot be provided – you should bring your own.
  • PADI manual and PIC card (if you are completing your Open Water qualification) – £69 or $89 approx.
  • Vaccinations and prophylactic medicines – cost can vary depending on your healthcare provider.
  • Spending money for snacks/drinks/laundry – Indonesian rupiah only
  • All prices in GBP or USD unless specified

Most of our volunteers fundraise for their expedition costs. Find out more.


At the marine sites during the day, the weather is normally sunny and warm (around 30 degrees Celsius), and the night temperatures drop to around 20-25 degrees Celsius. Being on the coast means there is often a pleasant breeze so it does not always feel this hot. It rains rarely, but when it does it tends to be very heavy for short periods of time.

Fitness level required

Low-Moderate. Some fitness is required for in water activities, but conditions are relatively easy.

Creature comforts

The Hoga Island Marine Station is an established facility that lies within the Wakatobi Marine Park of eastern Indonesia. The station was rebuilt in 2016 and supports a dive centre, lecture theatre, wet-lab as well as a large dining room and kitchen facility. Simple huts owned by members of the local fishing community surround the station and serve as guest accommodation. The island supports reliable phone signal that allows limited internet access.


  • Indonesia
  • Hoga Island Marine Station

Want to get involved with this project?


Want to get involved with this project?

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