Discover FAU Harbor Branch


Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (FAU Harbor Branch) welcomes your enthusiasm, experience, and energy as a volunteer. Anyone interested in volunteering may complete the application. If you are interested in volunteering at the Ocean Discovery Visitors Center, please complete this form in addition to the volunteer application. Consideration is given to all applications and placement is based on the Institute’s needs which may include short-term and on-going opportunities.

Current volunteer opportunities:

Outreach Team

The FAU Harbor Branch outreach team is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to assist with our “Keep
the Sea Free of Debris” teen summer camp, which will be hosted at Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Fort Pierce and Port Saint Lucie. Camp sessions will include educational lessons and activities, beach clean-
ups, marine debris art projects and an opportunity for campers to share what they have learned with the community. There will be 7 week-long camp sessions starting on June 6th and continuing through
the end of July. Volunteers must have a positive attitude and a passion for keeping our local
environment trash-free, be willing to commit to multiple camp days, and be able to assist with beach
clean-ups and educational sessions. If you are interested, please contact Laura Norton at, or 772-242-2293.

  • Ideally volunteers commit to helping for an entire week but do not need to attend every single
    camp week.
  • There will be a camp every week from June 6th to the end of July except for the week of July 4th.
  • Volunteers need to bring their own lunch, drinks (although there should be a water fountain at
    every club) and snacks.
  • Volunteers may want to bring gloves for beach clean up days.
  • Volunteers must be able to transport themselves to the Boys & Girls Clubs in Fort Pierce and Port
    Saint Lucie and then they will be transported to the beach cleanup sites.
    Volunteers with experience teaching, creating artwork, photography/videography, and data
    collection are a plus.

Development Team

Help us to celebrate Harbor Branch’s 50th Anniversary!  The Development Team is looking for enthusiastic individuals with attention to detail and a focus on quality and excellence. Volunteers will assist in the preparation of many exciting events over the coming months and will participate in pre-planning activities. Duties include, but are not limited to, filling of gift bags, assisting with data entry and the organization of guest lists, check-in procedures and more. Volunteers must have a working knowledge of Microsoft Office and be able to lift 20 lbs. Schedule and hours are flexible within the timeframe and deadline of each event.

Ocean Discovery Visitors Center

Volunteers are needed to staff the welcome desk at the FAU Harbor Branch Ocean Discovery Visitors Center. After being closed for a year and a half due to COVID-19, we are excited to relaunch our public programs and welcome volunteers back at the end of this summer!

The Visitors Center is a destination where the community can come to learn about the research conducted by FAU Harbor Branch marine scientists and engineers. The welcome desk attendant has a very important job; as the first person to receive guests entering the Visitors Center, they are responsible for making a great first impression and promoting our offerings. The attendant’s primary duties include greeting guests as they arrive, collecting basic visitor tracking data, providing information about current outreach programs, keeping a watchful eye on the Visitors Center while staff members are busy, and assisting with various organizational tasks as needed.

In addition to being a part of our outreach team, volunteers will receive a complimentary Immersion Tour, 15% off at the FAU Harbor Branch Gift Shop, and access to special events.

The Visitors Center is open Tuesday - Saturday from 10- 4 pm. The welcome desk attendant is required to fulfill a minimum of one three-hour shift each week (10 am - 1 pm or 1 pm - 4 pm). If you would like to volunteer but are unable to do so on a regular basis, other opportunities may be available. The number of visitors that come to the center each day is highly variable. While some days are very busy, others are quiet; volunteers must be able to remain seated at the welcome desk for the entirety of their shift and be prepared to greet visitors as they arrive. For this reason, volunteers are encouraged to bring a book or other quiet activity and will have access to a computer with internet to use during slow periods.




Marine Mammals Rescue team

Established in 1998, the FAU Harbor Branch Marine Mammal Rescue Program was developed to respond to stranding events in Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties. In addition, the stranding team will travel throughout Florida to assist our stranding partners when called upon. The FAU Harbor Branch rescue team operates as a marine mammal stranding responder under a Letter of Authorization issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).



  1. Volunteer help is needed for the sampling in the lagoon for microplastics. Ideal volunteer needs to be willing to help get samples on a regular basis (i.e., 2 x month, on Mondays mostly), be physically able to work on the boat where it could be slippery and hot being exposed to the sun. Must be able to stay out for a half-day trip (morning) in good weather conditions and calm sea. Volunteers must be able to assist with deploying and pulling back on board a sampling net which weighs about 30 pounds. This operation is conducted by two people. In the case of adverse weather (heavy rain, waves) there will be no sampling

  2. The Aquaculture and Stock Enhancement Program at Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute has a volunteer opportunity to work on the Sea Vegetable project that is part of the Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture System. The tasks include working outside setting up sea vegetable growing tanks, planting sea vegetables, and assisting with growth measurements. This work would take place through May. The work would also include harvesting the sea vegetables and preparing them for lab analysis. In addition, the volunteer would assist with the workshop schedule for May. It is anticipated that the volunteer opportunity would continue on a regular basis. 

  • The volunteer would work a minimum of 4 hours per week with some weeks up to 8-12 hours.

  • Volunteers must be able to work outside with no protection from the sun, typically for up to two hours.

  • There will be work inside when the sea vegetables are harvested for processing.

  • Volunteers may get their hands salty and wet however gloves will be provided.

  • Volunteers will be trained. A science background is not required however that would be a bonus.

For more information, please contact:

Cathy Rossmell, HBOI Volunteer Coordinator

HBOI ocean fish