In the study area of the project the following species can be found: striped dolphins, short beaked common dolhins, common bottlenose dolhins, Risso’s dolhins, long-finned pilot whale’s, Cuvier’s beaked whales, sperm whales and fin whales.

Project

Volunteer work with dolphins in Italy; Since 1990 the project whales and dolphins has been organizing field courses for volunteers who are willing to contribute to research and conservation. These courses offer participants a unique opportunity of observing marine mammals in their natural environment and discover the fascinating world of cetacean research. Experience is not required. This long-term project focuses on the ecology, behaviour, feeding habits and conservation of the cetacean species.

The staff is composed of highly-qualified team members. The field work is conducted by one Principal Investigator, two experienced researchers and one or more research assistants (usually intern students), helped by volunteers (project participants). Team members stay on field for quite some time so they can manage all aspects of the research,. The language spoken at this project is English (and Italian).

The study area covers about 25,000 km2, and it includes the waters between Genoa (Italy), the islands of Porquerolles and Cape Corse on the island of Corsica (France). The environment is very divers. Liguria is one of the smallest and finest regions of Italy. Its capital is Genoa. It is popular with tourists for its beautiful beaches, picturesque little towns, and delicious food.

The Project participants have also the opportunity of seeing beautiful sites during the cruises. If weather conditions are unfavourable, volunteers can participate in inland trips and visit the small town of San Remo or the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.

You will travel by yourself to the project location in Italy. Travel details are given after your application.

Volunteer work with whales and dolphins varies and your tasks can be for example:

  • Project participants are involved in all field research activities, helping the researchers to collect cetacean data and entering them in a computer
  • Lectures on cetaceans and marine biology are also given
  • Participants will for example learn about: cetaceans ecology, threats faced by cetaceans worldwide, dolphin and whale photo-identification techniques, marine Bioacoustics and use of basic research equipment, including binoculars, timers, GPS
  • Participants contribute to sighting shifts during the day. Every hour, two participants and a researcher will scan the horizon from the sighting platform to search for marine life. Participants must also help researchers during night watch shifts. This involves looking out for other boats in order to avoid collision
  • Participants also help with cooking and cleaning shifts

Research at sea is conducted from a comfortable vessel. This 21m motor sailboat built in 1990 has 2 masts. The comfortable dining room has a bar as well as air conditioning (for use in the harbour or when necessary). There are five small cabins hosting up to 16 people: A four-bed cabin and a larger room for 6 for the volunteers. Each cabin has its own private bathroom, equipped with shower and hot water. The galley is small but.

As a volunteer you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be 18 years old or above, although minors from 12-15 years old may be accepted if accompanied by a parent or guardian, who will be able to look after them during the research cruise. Youngsters aged 16 and 17 may participate unaccompanied, but parents must delegate the skipper for the minor’s responsibility)
  • Be physically and mentally able to cope with hot weather and spending relatively long periods of time in the sun and on board in open sea
  • Be in good health, fit, steady on their legs and reasonably agile (for example be able to climb and get down the sighting platform ladder or disembark from a small inflatable craft, occasionally used to move from the boat to the harbour)
  • Be able and happy to swim in deep water, if not you must inform the skipper and the principal investigator on board
  • Be highly adaptable, (an essential requirement for living on a boat)
  • Be able to speak enough English to communicate with other project participants and team members
  • Be highly adaptable, an essential requirement for life on a boat
  • Be willing to share a cabin or room with persons of the opposite sex, if necessary, and to share a double bed with a person of the same sex
  • Follow all the safety instructions provided by the captain
  • Accept responsibility to pay for individual damage caused to the boat or to research equipment

Volunteers are welcome at the project in Italy from 10 May till 03 October 2021. Minimum stay is 6 nights.

Period
Price per person
6 days
Price per person
for students
6 days
1 10 – 16 May
€ 735,-
€ 735,-
2 17 – 23 May
€ 735,-
€ 735,-
3 24 – 30 May
€ 830,-
€ 751,-
4 31 May – 06 June
€ 830,-
€ 751,-
5 07 – 13 June
€ 830,- (vol)
€ 751,- (vol)
6 14 – 20 June
€ 935,-
€ 845,-
7 21 – 27 June
€ 935,-
€ 845,-
8 28 June – 04 July
€ 935,-
€ 845,-
09 05 – 11 July
€ 935,-
€ 845,-
10 12 – 18 July
€ 975,-
€ 975,-
11 19 – 25 July
€ 975,-
€ 975,-
12 26 July – 01 August
€ 975,-
€ 975,-
13 02 – 08 August
€ 975,-
€ 975,-
14 09– 15 August
€ 975,-
€ 975,-
15 16– 22 August
€ 975,-
€ 975,-
16 23 – 29 August
€ 935,-
€ 845,-
17 30 August – 05 September
€ 935,-
€ 845,-
18 06 – 12 September
€ 830,-
€ 751,-
19 13 – 19 September
€ 830,-
€ 751,-
Costs include:

  • Information and assistence before departure
  • If desired, free estimate of flight options / travel possibilities (the most convenient flights options at a glance)
  • Accommodation on board
  • Food and beverages (breakfast, lunch and dinner, except for alcoholic and soft drinks) for the duration of the cruise, except for the dinner at a restaurant in town on the day of the arrival
  • Mooring expenses in the harbour
  • Electricity, water heating and cooking costs
  • Fuel for boat and dinghy
  • Lectures and training by the researchers
  • Scientific supervision
  • Certificate of participation to the project
  • Research contribution
  • Progam and administration costs
  • And, of course a very memorable experience!

Prices are valid for the said periods in the year 2021.

Everything you need to know before you book this project:
Extensive information Project Whales and dolphins in Italy (PDF)

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