Coastal Dolphin Conservation Coastal Dolphin Conservation Vonitsa, Greece Tethys Research Institute
From June to September, be part of a scientific team focused on the study and conservation of coastal dolphins in the beautiful waters of western Greece.
Research Assistant for Cetacean Species Sanremo, Italy Tethys Research Institute
FRom mid May to the end of September participants will be involved in the research on cetaceans living in the vessel "Pelagos sanctuary".

8 Project reviews of Tethys Research Institute

Project Details

A non-profit research organisation supporting marine conservation through science and and public awareness with a focus on large marine vertebrates

The Tethys Research Institute is a non-profit research organisation supporting marine conservation through science and public awareness, founded in 1986 and headquartered at the Civic Aquarium of Milano, Italy. Tethys’ main goal is the conservation of the marine environment, achieved through the provision of scientific knowledge to conservation policy, the participation in the international conservation process, and public awareness. Over almost three decades of work, Tethys has generated one of the largest datasets on Mediterranean cetaceans and communicated the results of its research in hundreds of scientific publications. In 1991 Tethys was the first to conceive and propose the creation of an iconic protected area, the Pelagos Sanctuary for the Conservation of Mediterranean Marine Mammals, the world’s first to be established beyond national jurisdiction. Since 1987 Tethys has involved  thousands of people from all over the world as research volunteers in its conservation activities. Funding to Tethys derive from government and EC grants, private donors, and contributions from research volunteers. The work of Tethys is based on the collaboration of approximately 30 associates and assistants.

Striving to increase scientific knowledge on ecological aspects of the marine environment, and on the threats to ocean health deriving from human activities, is the core business of the Tethys Research Institute.
During its 30 years of operation Tethys has contributed substantively to the understanding of the ecology and conservation status of many species of marine vertebrates such as marine mammals and cartilaginous fishes, mostly in the Mediterranean Sea but also in the Red Sea and North Atlantic Ocean.

Conserving the marine environment involves the management of human activities, and as such it is primarily a political process. Science has an important supporting role in such process, and Tethys has actively worked to provide robust scientific knowledge to marine conservation.
Contributions include attracting decision-makers’ attention on emerging issues, such as collision with ships and effects of noise, proactive participation in the international conservation effort, and the proposal of place-based conservation measures such s marine protected areas.

Whales and dolphins are being studied in their natural environment; Tethys runs two long-term projects which are open to the participation of the public: one in Italy, in the Pelagos Sanctuary of the Ligurian Sea (north western Mediterranean), and one in Greece, in the Eastern Ionian Sea.

The Institute has conducted long-term studies on cetaceans in the Corso-Ligurian-Provencal basin, in the coastal waters of Greece and in the Adriatic Sea. Research has also been carried out investigating cetaceans in the Messina Strait and in several other Mediterranean and Atlantic areas, as well as aerial surveys in the seas around Italy.

Research methods utilised by Tethys include the use of remote sensing and telemetry data, the combined use of laser range-finding binoculars and GPS to record the movements of whales, population studies based on distance sampling and photographic capture-recapture, bioacoustic research, behavioural sampling, remote collection of biopsy samples for genetic and toxicological analyses, and historical studies.

The Institute holds vast photographic archives of cetacean images that have enabled the identification of over 1,500 individuals of eight Mediterranean species.

With a core team of approximately 30 collaborators, the Tethys Research Institute has involved in its expeditions thousands of people from all over the world, and has developed a remarkable cetacean research and conservation network

The main focus of the project is on
NPO Status
Yes, registered non-profit organization
Foundation Year
Contact Person
Adriana Geraci
Spoken Languages

Social Impact

Through their quality of umbrella, flagship and cultural keystone species, charismatic animals such as dolphins  and whales can be important drivers of the conservation process. 

Our conservation activities  should result in local citizens, stakeholders and authorities being aware of the ecosystem services provided by a diverse and healthy habitat, and thereby, the importance of endorsing sustainable management. People need to care, and caring largely comes from knowing and understanding.

Pursued Sustainable Development Goals

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