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About us

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 (available online), and shared 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, as research volunteers, thousands of people from all over the world 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.

Our mission

The Tethys Research Institute is a non-profit research organisation supporting marine conservation through science and public awareness. The Institute was founded in 1986 by Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara and Egidio Gavazzi.

Since its beginning, Tethys has promoted research and conservation activities on marine mammals, in particular cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal, although investigations have also extended to devil rays and marine turtles. Research activities have taken place mainly in the Mediterranean Sea, but also in the Black Sea, the North Atlantic, the Caribbean, the Red Sea and Antarctica. Over almost three decades of work, Tethys has generated one of the largest datasets on Mediterranean cetaceans (available online), and communicated the results of its research activities during the most diverse range of meetings, workshops and conferences, as well as in hundreds of scientific publications.

Research methods used include population studies based on distance sampling (from aircraft and surface) and photographic capture-recapture, remote sensing, bioacoustic research, behavioural sampling, remote collection of biopsy samples for genetic and toxicological analyses, the combined use of laser range-finding binoculars and GPS to record the movements of whales, and historical studies.

Based on its Statute, the main goal of Tethys is the conservation of the marine environment, achieved through the provision of scientific knowledge to conservation policy, and the participation in the international conservation process as affiliate or collaborating body with organisations such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea, the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS), and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Accordingly, Tethys first conceived and proposed the creation of an iconic protected area, the Pelagos Sanctuary for the Conservation of Mediterranean Marine Mammals (in 1991), which was also the world’s first marine protected area established beyond national jurisdiction. Another important element of Tethys’ contribution to marine conservation is public awareness, achieved through the institute’s presence on the social media, on popular media and public television, as well as through the involvement, as research volunteers, of thousands of people from all over the world in its conservation activities (cruises and field bases). Started in 1987, Tethys’ involvement of volunteers in its research is amongst the world’s longest standing programmes of citizen science.

Funding to Tethys derive from government grants, private donors, European Commission programmes, and contributions from research volunteers. The work of Tethys is based on the collaboration of approximately 30 associates and assistants.

Click on the button to the right and read our Statute. The document is in Italian

30 years devoted to research and conservation

On January 31, 2016 the Tethys Research Institute completed 30 years of activities. Many are its achievements in the field of scientific research on large marine vertebrates, particularly cetaceans, but also mobulidae and seals; over 500 publications have seen the light in this period, in collaboration with the most prestigious international institutions.

Research by Tethys has always been aimed to the conservation of the marine environment and its species diversity, particularly in the Mediterranean. Several challenges have been faced by the institute. Simultaneously, Tethys has carried out science, education and public awareness, which are key in the implementation of conservation measures.

The slider below summarizes Tethys’ milestones.

The People

Board of Directors

Simone Panigada

Simone Panigada

President
Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara

Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara

Vice President
Arianna Azzellino

Arianna Azzellino

Scientific coordinator Cetacean Sanctuary Research
Joan Gonzalvo

Joan Gonzalvo

Coordinator Ionian Dolphin Project
Caterina Lanfredi

Caterina Lanfredi

Principal Field Investigator Cetacean Sanctuary Research
Sabina Airoldi

Sabina Airoldi

Coordinator Cetacean Sanctuary Project
Maddalena Jahoda

Maddalena Jahoda

Communication Manager

College of Arbiters

Margherita Zanardelli (President)
Elena Politi
Stefano Agazzi

Honorary Presidents

Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara
Margherita Zanardelli

Honorary Members

Claudio Cavolla
Massimo Demma
Carlo Nastri
Primo Vismara
Riccardo Zucchini

Historical records of Tethys’ board and management

Staff

Margherita Zanardelli

Margherita Zanardelli

Administrator
Adriana Geraci

Adriana Geraci

General & administrative secretary
Elena Politi

Elena Politi

Web Designer
Maddalena Jahoda

Maddalena Jahoda

Communication
Paolo Pinto

Paolo Pinto

Field researcher & Skipper
Roberto Raineri

Roberto Raineri

Field researcher & Skipper

Field researchers

Nino PierantonioPrincipal Field InvestigatorIonian Dolphin Projectn.pierantonio@gmail.com
Sara Sánchez-Quiñones RosellóField ResearcherIonian Dolphin Project
Giuseppe SciancaleporeField ResearcherIonian Dolphin Project
Marina CostaData Analysis and ConsultantIonian Dolphin Projectmarinza.costa@gmail.com
Dimitrios K. MoutopoulosFisheries advisorIonian Dolphin Project
Chiara PiroddiEcosystems modelerIonian Dolphin Projectpiropiro12@yahoo.it
Myron PapadopoulosField ResearcherIonian Dolphin Project
Martina BottaroPrincipal field investigatorCetacean Sanctuary Research
Gioele PassoniPrincipal field investigatorCetacean Sanctuary Research
Alessia ScuderiPrincipal field investigatorCetacean Sanctuary Research
Morgana VighiPrincipal field investigatorCetacean Sanctuary Research
Viridiana JimenezPrincipal field investigatorCetacean Sanctuary Research
Federico De PascalisField ResearcherCetacean Sanctuary Research
Valentina De SantisField ResearcherCetacean Sanctuary Research
Vittorio FaddaField ResearcherCetacean Sanctuary Research
Julia GostischaField ResearcherCetacean Sanctuary Research
Virginia IorioField ResearcherCetacean Sanctuary Research
Sylvan OehenField ResearcherCetacean Sanctuary Research
Federica SalandraField ResearcherCetacean Sanctuary Research
Giulia SoldanoField ResearcherCetacean Sanctuary Research
Livia TolveField ResearcherCetacean Sanctuary Research
Francesco VenturaField ResearcherCetacean Sanctuary Research
Raul Zabala BelenguerField ResearcherCetacean Sanctuary Research

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