31 July 2009

John Russell Twiss, Jr.

John Russell Twiss, Jr., age 71, died July 23, 2009 in The Plains, Virginia after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease (...) His life-long commitment to ocean and marine conservation began early in his career when he joined the National Science Foundation, where he managed scientific research in the Antarctic. He then joined the NSF's Office of Ocean Exploration, where he led research-based expeditions. In 1974, Mr. Twiss became the first Executive Director of the Marine Mammal Commission, a new and independent government agency dedicated to the protection of marine mammals. He served in this role, shaping all aspects of the Commission, for 26 years until he retired in 2000. His dedication to the survival of marine mammals and healthy oceans helped save species such as the Hawaiian monk seal, West Indian manatee, North Atlantic right whale and California sea otter. Mr. Twiss was a strong proponent of stewardship of the land through youth education. He served on the board of the Student Conservation Association from 1986 through 2009 as a Board Member, Chairman and Chairman Emeritus. During his tenure on the board, he offered outstanding leadership while drawing on his commitment to preserving our environment and building the next generation of conservation leaders. He oversaw unprecedented growth in land protection programs and inspired thousands of young people to service. He was instrumental in the development of the Island School and Cape Eleuthera Institute, serving as a board member for both for 11 years. Mr. Twiss served on numerous other boards, including those of the Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Fellowship at Harvard University, the Ocean Conservancy, and the Marine Conservation Biology Institute. Mr. Twiss received the Founders Award in 2000 from the Student Conservation Association, and the John Phillips Award in 2002 from his alma mater Phillips Exeter, for his service to his country, extraordinary leadership and invaluable contributions to ocean and environmental conservation. (...)

From The Washington Post, July 29, 2009

30 July 2009

Dolphins of Greece, 21-29 May

I thought the lack of sleep was going to be a major problem when I arrived to find we would be awake at 7am each day, but with the atmosphere of the other volunteers, Susie and Joan the sleep was soon forgotten… until the beautiful siesta in the afternoon. Waking up to the thought of your day being spent identifying dolphins and their behaviour, as well as the odd sea turtles (they are so cute!), was amazing. It was a dream I have always wanted to fulfil. You almost get to know the animals through the cropping and matching activities in the afternoon and feel as though you are helping them directly by conducting a part of the data collection for scientific research. I had never seen a dolphin before, not even at a zoo, so the size was what struck me, as well as the cheeky grin on their face. The evening lectures were really interesting and I learnt so much, which was helpful to supplement the work we completed on the field. The video on overfishing, even though I had seen it previously, has a strong message and impressed me once again. Susie and Joan were so nice! And made us feel like friends straight away which was helpful as the first day was really daunting. I spent the previous night in hotel Vonitsa whih was unbelievably friendly but also quite lonely because I have never travelled alone before but, once we all met and went back to the field station I felt completely at ease. Joan cracked jokes almost instantly which allowed us to speak freely and Susie was so incredibly supportive. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity it was totally lifechanging and made me even more passionate about conservation and how you should never give up!

Anabelle, U.K.


This was certainly the most unique experience I have had in my life. As an environmental lawyer, it felt amazing to work so close to the nature as well as to learn about dolphins and other marine mammals. Being at the sea in the morning and seeing so many dolphins was great! In addition, helping with the cropping and matching made me feel like if I was part of this project. The presentations and films were very enriching and for sure will contribute to a better development of my profession as well as for my personal evolution. Besides these most obvious things, this expedition turned to be much more than I expected in many ways. The house is extremely cosy and Joan and Susie made us feel at home all the time! We have had so much fun at lunch and dinner! They are very special people! The team was very nice and of course, Posi is so cute! To sum up, everything was great! Thank you so much Joan and Susie! I will miss these days!

Patricia, Brasil


The scenery, the atmosphere and the people were all wonderful. Joan and Susie were both very helpful and great fun. We were made to feel right at home from the very beginning. The lectures were very informative and interesting. We learned a lot about the dolphins and other marine mammals. The dolphin sightings were amazing! We got to see a large group feeding very close to our boat and the dolphins really put on a great show for us. They are so cute. We were extra lucky and saw about 16 dolphins in Kalamos on the first day in that area where, unfortunately, it is rather normal not to see any dolphins at all. We helped Susie and Joan with the cropping and matching and it was a great feeling to be able to help in this way. The heat was quite intense for us Canadians but we learned to do "siesta" in the afternoon after the first couple of days. The food was amazing. Everybody had a turn at making the evening meals so we all had input in what we ate. We feel we had a very good group of ladies, and Joan and we were all able to work very well together and good fun. This was the greatest experience in our lifetime. Thank you to Joan and Susie for making this such a wonderful experience.

Jenna and Kim, Canada

29 July 2009

Striped dolphin video

At the link below you can view a rough cut of some videoclips filmed in the Gulf of Corinth, Greece, during a beautiful sighting of striped dolphins (together with a single short-beaked common dolphin) made in the context of Tethys' Ionian Dolphin Project.

View the striped dolphin video

Maldives Meeting on Indian Ocean Whales and Dolphins

The Indian Ocean Cetacean Symposium held in Maldives from 18-20 July 2009 concludes with a declaration pressing for improved conservation and management of whales and dolphins in the Indian Ocean. Sixty scientists and conservationists from 22 countries particpated at the Symposium. A wide range of research, management and conservation work being carried out in the Indian Ocean was presented. Problems faced by whales and dolphins in the region include by-catch, ship strikes and habitat degradation in general.

A major outcome of the meeting was the Lankanfinolhu (Maldives) Declaration, which urges concerned authorities to improve conservation and management of whales and dolphins in the Indian Ocean.

For more information:

28 July 2009

Kalamos: first sighting of the year

Finally! Yesterday, just after 15 minutes of navigation around the transparent waters of Kalamos we had our first sighting of the year. It was my seventh time surveying the area this year and I already had come to terms with the fact that a sighting, given the low dolphin density in these waters, was quite unlikely.

When my colleague Susie called out! I couldn’t believe it. My perplexity, however, only lasted three seconds -- the time it took to turn around and spot the familiar silhouettes of the dolphin’s dorsal fins smoothly cutting the sea surface. As we approached them we confirmed that they were bottlenose dolphins. We spent three hours photoidentifying all the 16 dolphins of the group and recording their behaviour with the help of our five Earthwatch volunteers. I cannot think of a better spot for the dolphins to pop up and make my day. They were right in front of the beautiful village of Episkopi, where we had our field base for over 15 years and where I had some of the best moments of my life.

Because of my exclusive dedication to research in the Amvrakikos Gulf for the past several years, my last sighting in Kalamos occurred in 2004. Being around that group of dolphins felt special. Since I switched on the camera to get started with the photo-id, memories kept coming to my mind. My first sighting in a nearby location, 11 years ago. The first day I grabbed the camera with shaky hands after Giovanni (Bearzi) handed it to me saying “Joan, six dolphins: photoidentify them all - you have half an hour”. The first research season in which me and my fratello Stefano (Agazzi) were in charge of the research and logistics on our own... and many hours spent in the company of these wonderful creatures. I would not be the same person without all those experiences on my shoulders.

Joan Gonzalvo

Mediterranean Monk Seal conservation in Greece

Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara, Honorary President of Tethys, just completed a work for MOm, the Hellenic Society for the study and protection of the Mediterranean monk seal, which includes a national conservation strategy.

The work is summarised in two documents, which can be downloaded from the links below.

Conservation strategy

Full report

27 July 2009

500 Facebook fans!

Visit the Facebook page of Tethys, and become a fan!

Cetacean Sanctuary Research 09, 20-26 July

Our week with Tethys has been amazing. After seeing four sperm whales, pods of striped dolphins, a sunfish, a swordfish and a sea turtle on the first day we wondered If it could get any better. But then It did on the next day, Wednesday, when we saw a fin whale and followed it for about an hour and a half, then we saw another pod of striped dolphins! It was fabulous to see so many animals and be so close to them. Thank you to the crew for all the hard work you have done for this to be such a great week.

Phoebe & Jasmine, England


I’m not sure if seeing a fin whale blowing off the bow, dolphins bowriding Pelagos or waiting for a sperm whale to surface, its feeding clicks having ceased was the highlight of the trip. Perhaps it was drifting at night under across the Mediterranean sea, keeping watch in 2 hour shifts with the splash of dolphins somewhere in the dark, more stars than you realise are in the sky staring down or the jelly fish flashing from the sea beneath in reply that was the best bit, or maybe it was the great company of the Tethys team and the multinational volunteers. Perhaps it was all of these things that made the week an unforgettable experience.

James, England


How could the first day get better? Sightings of sperm whales, striped dolphins, a swordfish and even sea turtles! With the addition of a fin whale sighting on the second day, life aboard Pelagos has been pretty good! A lovely group of fellow volunteers and a fantastic crew of researchers, not forgetting the Captain of course, all made the week fly. I’m definitely planning a return trip. Thanks Tethys!

Claire, England

26 July 2009

Carcassa di balena urta nave da crociera (?)

Repubblica.it di oggi, nella sezione Ambiente, titola

"Carcassa di balena urta nave da crociera"

e pubblica alcune foto di una collisione fra una grande nave da crociera e una balenottera, spiegandole con il seguente testo:

"Vancouver: le immagini della carcassa della balena che ha urtato la nave da crociera Princess Cruise. La balena è stata scoperta durante le operazioni di attracco."


Tethys spiega come sono andate VERAMENTE le cose.

Dalle foto è chiarissimo che la carcassa putrefatta di balena, morta alcuni secoli fa ma ancora animata da furia omicida, ha urtato intenzionalmente la nave con il chiaro obiettivo di affondarla. Per fortuna l'abilità del comandante e dell'equipaggio hanno consentito di evitare la tragedia sventando l'intento criminoso del pericoloso pesce.


Le collisioni con navi sono una delle principali cause di morte e ferite per diverse popolazioni di grandi cetacei, tra cui le balenottere comuni del Mediterraneo.
Panigada S., Pesante G., Zanardelli M., Capoulade F., Gannier A., Weinrich M.T. 2006. Mediterranean fin whales at risk from fatal ship strikes. Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Delphi's Dolphins 11, 19-25 July

The last three weeks here have been the best of my life, for the first time I feel like I have done something to help benefit the world. During the last three weeks I have helped Silvia, Aina and Giovanni with their research on dolphins in the Korinthian Gulf in Greece. The project is not by any means a dolphin sighting program, we do not just go out and take pictures of dolphins and then head back. In fact when we are out on the ocean the team looks for dolphins and documents everything from their behavior towards each other to their respiration pattern. The information that the team collects helps the research team with their quest to make the Gulf a protected area for dolphins and other marine wildlife. For me the project has taught me more about dolphins than any class room could teach me. I have also gained research experience, since my field of study is based on research I have seen and learned how field research works. The project also opened my eyes to the dangers of overfishing and ways in which I myself can help protect our oceans. Being here has been the best experience of my life, for once I am helping benefit the world and learned more about myself in the process. Silvia, Aina, and Giovanni are so cool I had a great time working with them and many others who volunteered for the project. I hope to return to the project next year and continue to help the team with their research.

Sara Heaton, USA


The feelings and emotions that I have felt in the last week are very hard to express in writing, but I will try to do my best ☺. Having the privilege to be with these divine creatures while they are in their natural habitat is truly remarkable. But seeing the people working on this project, and the way they love, respect and are very serious about what they are doing is even more important. They opened my eyes to the problems that we shall face very soon (if not already) if something is not done by all of us to help dolphins and marine life. Before leaving, I was a bit nervous about spending a week with strangers. But meeting, getting to know and living with new people, and how quickly one feels at home and so comfortable is amazing. The cooking (oh no!!!) makes everything worthwhile (hahaha). And this being my last night here I will really miss it all. Thank you so much Silvia, Giovanni and Aina for this wonderful and unforgetable week. I will definetely be coming back home to Galaxidi very soon.

Kelly, Greece


The experience this week was much more interesting and personal than I could have imagined. A big thank you to the Tethys team, Giovanni, Silvia and Aina. The dolphin sightings were spectacular. Wishing you continued success with your future efforts.

Russell, USA


Giovanni, Silvia and Aina… Thank you so much for making this such an amazing, unforgettable week. We really have loved every minute of it. We both feel like we have learned so much in the last week, and our only regret is that we didn’t book another week with you guys! The research you do here is really incredible and we have definitely come away wanting to do our own bit to conserve marine ecosystems… (Amie will never eat tuna again!) Good luck with all of your future research. Thanks again.

Hannah and Amie, UK

25 July 2009

Curley the striped dolphin

Dolphins sometimes have rather strange dorsal fins.

The curled dorsal fin of this striped dolphin (click on photo to enlarge) was photographed in the Gulf of Corinth, Greece, in the context of Tethys' Ionian Dolphin Project.

Physical anomalies are not so uncommon in the Gulf of Corinth, and have been observed on both striped dolphins and bottlenose dolphins.

This particular individual has been nicknamed 'Curley'. We do not know what may have caused this deformity. In any case, Curley looked as fit as any other dolphin in the group.


24 July 2009

'The Animals Count Down': sculture a Pietrasanta

Pietrasanta (Lucca): installazioni e sculture per denunciare l’estinzione di animali. Dal 20 giugno al 30 agosto.

Il complesso di Sant’Agostino e l’antistante piazza del Duomo diventeranno la cornice del forte messaggio di sensibilizzazione lanciato dall’artista bresciano Stefano Bombardieri, il cui universo è popolato di balene, rinoceronti, elefanti e ippopotami. Una parata di grandi animali trasformeranno l’antica Chiesa di Sant’Agostino in una rivelatrice arca di Noè: ogni animale recherà un contatore elettronico che scandirà in tempo reale il numero di esemplari di quella specie ancora esistenti. Gli animali sembrano mettere in guardia lo spettatore: oggi ci siamo, domani chissà. Nella piazza, una bambina trascina il corpo esanime di un’enorme balena. Oltre le opere monumentali in resina, in mostra anche disegni, studi preparatori, bozzetti e sculture di marmo e bronzo.

“The animals count down” è un evento promosso dall’Assessorato alla Cultura del Comune di Pietrasanta in collaborazione con la Galleria Della Pina Artecontemporanea. L’evento si svolgerà dal 20 giugno al 30 agosto presso il Complesso di Sant’Agostino e la Piazza del duomo di Pietrasanta (Lu).

Assessorato alla Cultura, Comune di Pietrasanta
Tel: 0584 795381, fax: 0584 795588

23 July 2009

A sighting, which was different from others

Back in 2007, I remember coming to the Amvrakikos Gulf with no previous experience. Thanks to the several months spent in the field, I am now more adept, but I still have to learn how to stand up on my own after a fall. While working in different study areas with my colleagues, I’ve got many chances of broadening my skills. Advise from my teachers Giovanni, Stefano and Joan allowed me to improve myself, but then the time arrives when one must fly away from the nest.

This time arrived earlier than I thought when Joan asked me to run a boat survey on my own. I felt fortunate to finally get such a nice opportunity and although my knees were shaking a bit, I felt joy.

On that morning, the Amvrakikos Gulf was completely flat so the circumstances were ideal. I decided to head towards the northwestern part of the Gulf. Everyone on board was eagerly scanning the sea surface until… out at 11! When the dolphins surfaced in the distance, my heart started to beat fiercely. But as we got closer I had become more focused on my several tasks, and oblivious of my initial excitement.

When I realized that there was a calf in the group, a smile appeared on my face. It is always a nice moment to see a tiny life following her mother with its clumsy surfacings. The dolphins, including the mother-calf pair, approached a fish farm. This was unexpected, because calves normally do not get close to the cages. At that moment, I realised that I wasn’t just an observer but I could understand what was going on and share this knowledge with my group of volunteers.

It was amazing to see things from another perspective compared to the sightings when I was acting as a research assistant, and someone else was in charge. Things that only a year ago appeared so overwhelmingly difficult, like driving the boat, taking good photos, recording the behaviour and directing people on board, all at once, now unfolded smoothly, and this gave me even more confidence and pleasure.

I still have a lot to learn in this field, but at least I could enjoy the feeling of being a leader for one day and experiencing how it feels to be responsible for a group of people on board, for all the data collection and for Joan’s ‘baby’, the inflatable.

In the end, everybody survived the first sighting with me. One volunteer, Jane, had a particularly good experience and her feelings came to surface after we moored the boat, back at the port, when I saw tears of joy in her eyes. Guys - it was a great experience for me, too! Thank you for being such a good team!

Zsuzsanna Pereszlényi

22 July 2009

Ketos 2.0 - Un Mondo Senza Balene

Nell'ambito di Ketos 2.0 - Un Mondo Senza Balene, i Musei Civici di Reggio Emilia organizzano una serie di eventi estivi dedicati ai grandi cetacei del Mediterraneo.

Una mostra composta da opere di giovani artisti proverà ad immaginare il mondo privato delle sue balene, impoverito dalla maestosità dei giganti dei mari. Gli artisti esprimeranno con istallazioni e performance il disagio di una natura svuotata e dal destino triste.

La rassegna prende spunto da due “ospiti” delle collezioni dei Musei, un’esemplare di balena fossile e un preparato storico di capodoglio, molto amati e conosciuti dalla città.

Tra gli incontri previsti, giovedì 23 luglio ci sarà la conferenza dal titolo: “I grandi cetacei del Mediterraneo tra conservazione e ricerca” tenuta da Francesca Zardin dell’Istituto Tethys.
La serata porterà testimonianza dello stato di conservazione dei cetacei nei nostri mari e delle possibili soluzioni per porteggerli, come l’istituzione di aree marine protette, la regolamentazione della pesca, la riduzione dell’inquinamento chimico e acustico, e la prevenzione delle collisioni con le navi, fenomeno di entità preoccupante nel Santuario Pelagos.

Immagini e suoni dei “mostri marini” completeranno l’incontro.


La conferenza tenuta da Francesca Zardin si terrà a Reggio Emilia, giovedì 23 luglio alle ore 21:30, presso il Chiostro dei Musei Civici (via Spallanzani 1)

Per maggiori informazioni: http://musei.comune.re.it/

21 July 2009

Cetacean Sanctuary Research 08, 13-19 July

Having finished my two weeks on Pelagos I can honestly say it has been the most wonderful two weeks, weeks that I shall never forget! Each individual sighting of the Ligurian’s most treasured cetaceans stand out amongst the many laughs and silly moments shared on board between participant and crew member alike. Who could forget Mauro, Elisa, Viridiana and Morgana, each a devoted cetacean researcher with their passion and individual quirky nature. Who could forget the oceans most historic animals as they join our modern and busy world for just a fleeting moment. Thank you to Tethys, to Pelagos, Roberto and the team, I will never forget!

Tamsin, England


A week spent with an eclectic group of knowledge-hungry travellers, onboard the beautiful Pelagos. We were unlucky with the weather, however one fantastic day was spent at sea, with many striped dolphins. A solitary sperm whale and a refreshing afternoon swim with an exhilarating 2000m of blue beneath us. The days in harbour were whiled away in the sun, reading and exploring San Remo, punctuated by informative lectures. Many thanks to all crew and participants for making this a memorable and treasured week.

Vicky, England


Thank you for all the passion and energy you have shown, to learn us and make us aware about cetaceans as well as other species in “our” sea (as we share it in Marseille), but also for the nice atmosphere you created to make our week very pleasant despite the weather which was not so much “clement”. However, this journey shall be unforgettable as I will come back home with two sperm whales (Pat and Clemente). Don’t worry I will take care of them! All my best wishes to all, and long life to your research adventure and long life as well to cetaceans in all over the world!

Isabelle, France

20 July 2009

Book of the Month: July 2009

The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit

by Melvin Konner

2nd revised edition, 2002 (first published in 1982)

Henry Holt, New York


First published to great acclaim twenty years ago, The Tangled Wing has become required reading for anyone interested in the biological roots of human behavior. Since then, revolutions have taken place in genetics, molecular biology, and neuroscience. All of these innovations have been brought into account in this greatly expanded edition of a book originally called an "overwhelming achievement" by The Times Literary Supplement.

A masterful synthesis of biology, psychology, anthropology, and philosophy, The Tangled Wing reveals human identity and activity to be an intricately woven fabric of innumerable factors. Melvin Konner's sensitive and straightforward discussion ranges across topics such as the roots of aggression, the basis of attachment and desire, the differences between the sexes, and the foundations of mental illness.

Read a comprehensive book review by Richard Wrangham:
Wrangham, R. (2004). Review of The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit by Melvin Konner. Evolutionary Psychology, 2:3-6.


View complete list of Tethys Books of the Month

View complete list of Tethys Videos of the Month

19 July 2009

Dolphins of Greece, 11-19 July

What an incredible opportunity it has been to participate in Earthwatch’s Dolphins of Greece expedition. After a few excruciatingly hot days in Athens, I travelled to the indescribable town of Vonitsa, which pictures will not do justice to reflect its true beauty. The past eight days have been filled with memories, fun times, and educational opportunities that will stay with me for a lifetime. I feel so fortunate to have worked with a team of amazing volunteers - Avril, Allegra, Jane, and Matt. Also, as an educator myself, I have truly appreciated Joan and Susie’s (each unique) teaching styles which have allowed us all to learn so much about not only dolphins and Greece, but also a wide range of issues critical to the preservation of our Earth’s valuable resources.
Courtney, USA



Sea turtles
Dolphins, dolphins, dolphins
Feeding frenzy
Sightings galore

Avril, Australia


What can I say? This has been one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had and I enjoyed every bit of it, from the amazing dolphins to the unbearable heat! Vonitsa is a beautiful place and the introduction to it couldn’t have been better! I’ve learnt so much in a week, it’s incredible! I definitely won’t forget the dolphins bowriding our boat! I never thought I’d get to see them so close, let alone watch them feeding and swimming only a few meters away from us! Thanks for all the laughter and amazing moments. This expedition definitely showed me that it’s worth fighting for these beautiful animals!

Allegra, Switzerland


Vonitsa, Vonitsa. Oh how I will miss you. With your dolpins, gyro pitas and half-liter Heinekens, this is an experience that will never be forgotten. The heat rash and lack of modern room cooling practices will not be missed, however. Being my second Earthwatch trip, I came with some level of expectation and my stay here exceeded them all. This expedition would not have been so enjoyable if there were any other individuals in charge besides Joan and Susie. They're the greatest! Best of luck to the entire Tethys team and the wonderful work they are doing here.

Matt, USA


Dolphins of Greece, Dolphins of Greece, Oh how I will miss you. You have surpassed the expectations that I have come with, and leave me to take a fresh new heart and eye for the world that surrounds me. The land that you reside comes anew with the species that we have to help preserve. Dolphins of Greece, your eye, your breath, your percussive and aerial behaviour never fails to awe me. The beauty of the way that you travel and the way that you feed will always stay close to my heart. I take with me the fond memories of you. For the children of our future, I promise to educate about you. Your protectors, amongst the many, Joan, Susie, Tethys, Earthwatch and many more will continue to care and watch over you. Joan and Susie, thank you for teaching us about this species. The new found knowledge that you have bestowed unto me will continue through my students. The intelligence that you have shared will continue to spread through me. My heart smiles as I leave Vonitsa.

Jane, USA

18 July 2009

Delphi's Dolphins 10, 12-18 July

The programme was great as it allowed us to see dolphins in their natural habitat which is really exhilarating when previously we have only seen them in tiny tanks in the zoo. On the last day the striped dolphins decided to give us a warm goodbye when around 80 surrounded the boat. It was quite spectacular. We have met some lovely people here, and it was great to live a week in the life of a real research team. As well as having hands on experience in the boat with collecting data, we also learnt a lot of interesting stuff about the project and its goals. Our eyes were really opened to the problems dolphins and fisheries face now and in the future and it feels great that we did even just a tiny bit to help. Galaxidi is a lovely place (we especially enjoyed the evening at the ‘dance competition’). Thanks for an AMAZING week guys!

Rebecca and Jenny, England


This program allowed us not only to be part of a research team, but also to be part of a friendly and warm team. We enjoyed it a lot and would definitely recommend this program to our friends. It is so much worth coming and we are sure that the memories will remain with us for the rest of our lives.

Julia and Ana, Lithuania

17 July 2009

Rachel Carson on wilderness


To convert some of the remaining wild areas into state and national parks, however, is only part of the answer. Even public parks are not what nature created over the eons of time, working with wind and wave and sand. Somewhere we should know what was nature’s way; we should know what the Earth would have been had not man interfered.

And so, besides public parks for recreation, we should set aside some wilderness area of seashore where the relations of sea and wind and shore—of living things and their physical world—remain as they have been over the long vistas of time in which man did not exist. For there remains, in this space-age universe, the possibility that man’s way is not always best.

-- Rachel Carson

16 July 2009

Society needs a range of alternatives

The following part of a recent letter appeared on Conservation Biology makes an interesting point about the role of scientists in presenting the problem and a whole range of choices, and then let the decision makers decide.

There may not be a 'best choice', and what is seen as best sometimes depends on the circumstances.

Suffering myself from an injured knee I understand all too well the reported difficulty in choosing among 'least worst' options.



(...) I recently injured my knee, so I went to an orthopedic surgeon. After subjecting my knee to several tests, the doctor gave me his diagnosis followed with descriptions of several treatment alternatives. Considerations included future condition of my knee (assuming the treatment was successful), relative likelihood of success, how long I might be incapacitated following surgery, and the risk of undesirable outcomes. There was no “best cure.” In fact, one alternative was to do nothing. The best cure was my choice—a choice based on my subjective assessment of multiple factors. I did not choose the treatment that would make my knee almost 100% functional. That treatment had the lowest probability of success, would entail many weeks on crutches, and months of physical therapy. The treatment I chose would make my knee about 80–90% functional (which is all I need at my age), had a high probability of success, and would have me on my feet in days. If I did not have medical insurance, then the monetary cost of each treatment would have greatly influenced my decision.

Scientists (and social scientists) should interact with policy makers in much the same way the doctor interacted with me. Scientists collect data and diagnose the current condition of a population or ecological system. If the current condition is thought to be “unhealthy,” then alternative treatments to improve that condition are proposed. The description of each treatment should include a projection of the future condition, probabilities of achieving those conditions, the relative costs, and other available information relevant to the decision. Like the doctor, our role as scientists is to provide comprehensive, accurate, objective information about a range of alternatives so that society (the patient’s guardian) can make the best decision regarding the conservation of biodiversity (the patient).

Wilhere G.F. 2009. Society needs a range of alternatives: a reply to Villard and Jonsson. Conservation Biology 23(1):4-5.

15 July 2009

Cetacean Sanctuary Research 07, 6-12 July

The last week has been a pleasant mix of some of the world most extraordinary animals, wonderful company, fantastic lectures and good food all in the stunning setting that is the Ligurian Pelagos Sanctuary. Sperm whales, Risso’s and striped dolphins in one week, I can only imagine what next week with Tethys might bring…

Tamsin, England


Even much better than just whale-watching: to be able to not just passively watch and enjoy whales and dolphins, but to have the feeling that you yourself can actively take part a tiny little bit in the research of those wonderful animals in order to help protecting this important and stunning part of our environment. Many thanks to the friendly, enthusiastic and experienced team for showing and teaching us so much and to the interested, uncomplicated and helpful group! An unforgettable experience we will recommend to all our nature-loving friends!

Betty and Conny, Germany


E’ difficile esprimere tutte le emozioni che questa permanenza su Pelagos mi ha regalato. Sono felice di aver avuto la possibilità di ammirare dal vivo la potenza e l’eleganza di queste nobili creature del mare. Continuerò a trasmettere ai miei figli e ai miei nipoti questa ammirazione, insieme al rispetto che questi esseri viventi meritano da parte di tutti. Grazie a tutto il team, che ci ha accolti con garbo e professionalità e complimenti per il vostro lavoro fatto di pazienza e tenacia.

Anna, Italia


Beh, cosa dire di questa settimana… come sempre è stata un esperienza meravigliosa. Ho avuto la fortuna di vedere tutto ciò che avevo desiderato. Di sicuro non si tratta solo di osservare un capodoglio o un grampo, ma anche di capire e tramandare ciò che abbiamo visto alle persone che incontriamo! Non c’è cosa più bella al mondo di vedere con i propri occhi la bellezza di questi animali e sentire da vicino la loro forza, anche se in verità sono molto più fragili di noi. Vorrei ringraziarvi per il lavoro che fate ogni giorno. Senza di voi tutta questa bellezza troverebbe presto una fine.

Catia, Svizzera

14 July 2009

Not every conservation biologist

Not every conservation biologist can be a genius and envisage effective actions or revolutionary solutions to mitigate global or local problems.

Yet, all of us can manage to send a conservation message to the world and try to embody such message through honest practice and personal example.

13 July 2009

Delphi's Dolphins 09, 5-11 July

I have always loved dolphins, and originally this week was little more for me than a chance to chase dolphins, enjoy the ocean, and see Greece. Yet my week with the Tethys Research Institute has changed my life fundamentally. I plan to use my knowledge of the damage we are doing to the oceans, and the methods by which we can remedy that damage, to vastly alter my own consumption habits, and to try and change those of others. Silvia, Giovanni, and Aina have given me a profound gift in providing me with the chance to study dolphins in their natural environment, and I can only hope to do as much as possible to help preserve not just this amazing species, but all the creatures that share its habitat.

Heather, USA


Participating to the Ionian Dolphin’ s project has been one of a lifetime experience. I have just spent one week of pure satisfaction, helping collecting data and assisting the Tethys team in their research. Watching sea turtles and dolphins in their natural environment will stay in my memory, not to mention the great welcoming and organisation of the Tethys team, Silvia, Giovanni and Aina, thank you. In addition I discovered a beautiful country and the typical Greek life in Galaxidi. Strongly recommend it.

Delphine, Ireland


Taking part in this research project for a week has been a truly memorable experience. By briefly being a part of the actual research process, I learned more about how the data is collected and analyzed, and how important the acquired data is in terms of furthering the environmental cause. (Not to mention how amazing it was simply to see animals such as dolphins and sea turtles in their natural habitat.) My time here has made a lasting impression on me and has convinced me even further of the depth of damage we have inflicted on our environment and how important it is to take both the small and large steps that can help alleviate these problems.

Catie, USA

12 July 2009

How one person can begin to make a change

Coming to Vonitsa as a research assistant happened naturally for me. The Mediterranean Sea and its beautiful coasts, is a region very close to my heart, and I immediately knew that I had to be a part of the Ionian Dolphin Project.

It was late evening when I arrived in Vonitsa. I managed to block out the lively music from the packed tavernas and focus on the lectures and terms racing through my mind. I reviewed the highlighted papers that were rolled up under my arm and I was certain that I was prepared for my first time working in the field, and my first time with any cetaceans in the wild.

My first sighting of a group of bottlenose dolphins came sooner than I had expected. Alongside the Earthwatch volunteers, on our first trip towards the center of the Amvrakikos Gulf, two adults stretched on the surface and peered out in our direction before an entire group of dolphins came into sight and began to forage. I felt the adrenaline immediately, and of course my mind went blank. Thank you Joan, for always getting me back on track.

As a Biology student you become overwhelmingly aware of the accumulating threats facing marine mammals and their sensitive habitats. As most of these threats occur on a global scale, they are often difficult to grasp and they only become a constant reminder that you are just one individual. Ultimately, it becomes all too easy to get lost in your studies and to lose sight of your way and where to begin to make change.

In the short time I’ve spent in Vonitsa I’ve learned more than I could have prepared myself for. I feel like I’ve grown more as a Biologist during these ten days than in my five years at the University. Thank you to the Earthwatch volunteers for sharing their time, from the dedication in the field to the painful belly laughs over dinner.
On my last day out in the Gulf we sighted two calves with their mothers foraging by their sides. It is with these experiences, when science becomes something tangible, something that you can share with others, that all the lectures, the stress, and the long nights finally make sense again, and you remember that this is how one person can begin to make a change.

Iva Popovic, Canada/Serbia

11 July 2009

The day I arrived in Galaxidi

For the first time in my life, I'm speechless. I have so many stories that I want to share, but I really don't know where to start. In fact, I could write 10 pages about this trip, and still that would only cover 5% of the entire journey. Being part of the dolphin conservation course for five weeks has been more than I had ever anticipated. This course in the beautiful village of Galaxidi is not just another volunteer programme: it's a complete package filled with education, experiences, social analyses, bust most of all lots of fun.

The day I arrived in Galaxidi I knew almost instantly that this village would leave a positive memory behind. The shops, the friendly people and the harbor with all the bars and restaurants... a small paradise in Greece tucked away in a small bay, yet to be found by the mass tourism. But it was when I met the other volunteers that I knew this would prove to be something special. No cheesy grins, no awkward silences: we chatted as if we knew each other for years. And that was only the first day! When Silvia came to pick us up, all of us had the feeling the adventure had just started.
And an adventure it became. Being on a small boat 5 days a week, searching the Korinthian Gulf for dolphins, never knowing what you might face.

The sea can be as unpredictable as its inhabitants. But the moment you spot a group of dolphins, there is a shared boost of adrenaline, excitement and joy between the volunteers and the staff. I can't really describe the feeling you get when you see a group of dolphins jumping out of the water, but it is something I will remember for the rest of my life. You can literally sit and look at them for hours, you never get bored of them. Dolphins are such beautiful creatures: active, enjoyable, wild. They are almost like humans. I remember a striped dolphin juvenile in the middle of the group. All of a sudden, it came straight towards us. Not knowing any fear, he approached our boat like a racing car. And just when our mouth fell open, an older striped dolphin cut in front of him, forcing the juvenile to take a hard turn to the right. Perplexed by the speed of the action, we were also amazed by the protectionism that keeps the young in place. However, the older dolphins don't mind getting close and we were enjoying every minute with them. I also recall a group of approximately 30 dolphins. We were surrounded by them, and they were getting so close to us, all jumping over each other, that at a certain point one of the dolphins hit the boat. There were so many dolphins around: the only way he could go was towards us.

One of the things I really likes about this project was the shared feeling of discovery between the volunteers and the staff. This project in Galaxidi is relatively new and all the things that we learned and saw were new to the researchers as well. I'm proud to have sighted the very first striped and common dolphins with Silvia, Aina and Tilen. Every day we could learn something about the area: the adding of a new transect, a mighty storm (you are a damn good captain Silvia!) or the encounter with a sea turtle. Probably the most amazing and intense moment during my long stay was when our group came across a large sea turtle trapped in the remains of a fishing net, that was rescued by our team until he was able to dive and swim way.

Although rescuing the sea turtle was one of my favourite moments, when you think about it it’s actually a sad example of how we humans are exploiting and destroying the planet. This is where the education part of this project kicks in. Watching movies about overfishing and waste production just puts everything in perspective. We came to understand how overfishing affects the food web, causing a decrease in the dolphin population. We humans are linked to the dolphins. That is why we need to stop consuming ever more stuff and save the natural resources that are left, protecting and cherishing them rather than taking them for granted. I remember multiple discussions with other volunteers after watching documentaries on Giovanni's computer. Talking about how waste is handled in our countries etc. These discussions may seem meaningless to many, but the team of Tethys knows that we have the ability to spread the word about environmental issues and affect our own community.

The dolphin conservation project in Galaxidi just isn’t a 'dolphin watching' programme. We don't go out on a boat just to have a laugh in the middle of the ocean and take hundreds of pictures of jumping dolphins. This is a research project and we aim to see how many common, striped and bottlenose dolphins live in the Korinthian Gulf. We crop and analyse the pictures looking for new individuals. And we also enjoy ourselves, taking crazy photos on the top of the hill and eating good food.

I couldn't wish for a better and nicer team than Silvia, Giovanni and Aina. Without them this project would not have been the same. They are truly friendly, open-minded, funny, but most of all passionate about their work and willing to share their expertise with an ongoing enthusiasm. Thank you so much Silvia for the fun trips we had on the boat and the long chats. Giovannni, thank you for the amazing videos and documentaries you showed to us. The talks and discussions we had with you helped us putting this project and global issues into a perspective. As a journalist, I truly valued these conversations. And finally, Aina - my precious! You are the sweetest girl I ever met. I wish we could spend some more time together in the future! And thank you to all other volunteers who made this trip unforgettable.

Eddy Roosen, The Netherlands

10 July 2009

Dolphins of Greece, 1-9 July

After a long trip I am usually ready to return home, but working with Joan and Iva and the dolphins has been such a wonderful experience that I wish it could go on for a few more days. Our group was very impressed with Joan’s abilities, especially to take photo’s while driving the boat with one foot, while giving directions to us volunteers on where to keep our eyes. “Shout louder please Sophie, I can’t hear you”. Joan, your knowledge, dedication, and patience is admirable. I will take your message back to my students to inspire them, and challenge them to take better care of our planet so that dolphins and every other creature (humans too!) can enjoy a beautiful healthy planet. Many thanks to Iva for teaching me how to use the netpad and all her help with the photo cropping, grouping and matching. Without your help we’d still be working on the first batch of photos.

Maureen, USA


For 9 days, I was living in my childhood fantasy that I would have a dolphin as my pet and have a bathtub big enough for it. Here in Vonitsa, I have a beautiful “bathtub” big enough to hold more than 150 amazing dolphins, lots of sea turtles and different kinds of fishes. When the dolphins were surrounding us, we could hear them breathing so peacefully. I almost jumped out of the boat to swim with them. (Sorry Joan, I know you said they’re wild animals just like tigers and lions. Swimming with them is unpredictable). The day we did our last survey at Amvrakikos Gulf, I saw a group of 5 dolphins in the afternoon from the beach. They were about only 200m away which supposedly to be the closest sighting “ever”! We took it as a gesture of saying goodbye to us. This is my first Earthwatch expedition and I enjoyed every second of it. Joan is an experienced marine biologist with great knowledge and enthusiasm. He is also a REAL guy and you feel like yourself around him. All of our group members liked him a lot and probably went home with lots of precious “quotes” from him (some might not be appropriate for kids). Thanks Joan, Iva, Marcia, Maureen, Sophie and Bo for this wonderful experience in my life!

Nan, USA


I visited Greece many years ago as a tourist and always wanted to return as something more. This expedition and Earthwatch have provided me with that opportunity. Joan is a magnificent research scientist doing and sharing so much more than merely his knowledge. He is implementing a program to hopefully change the fate of the dolphins he studies. Iva’s patience and kind expertise (even as she learns ) is inspirational. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. The sea, the dolphins, the village and all of the knowledge that you imparted are appreciated and will be shared many times over with friends and associates. Hopefully a greater impact will be made as a result of all of your efforts!

Marcia, USA


When I arrived I had never seen a dolphin outside an aquarium. Now, a week later, I have a mental catalogue of cetacean friends. Tip for new photo-matchers: mnemonics help! “Wedge” and “Kissy Lips” were much easier (and more fun!) to spot than “A2” and “A14”. I enjoyed the simple, slow life of a (pampered, wannabe) marine biologist. I ate delicious food. I breathed clean air. I learned a lot. I laughed a lot! Thanks, Joan, for showing us your version of what life can be when it’s not about “stuff”.



This has been a “brilliantly lovely” introduction to Greece, I'm so glad I came on this project. I feel like I've learnt so much in just a short space of time. Despite not being able to differentiate between 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock in the pressure of the moment, not yelling loud enough, and getting the distances all wrong, I hope I've helped in a small way (and not frustrated Joan too much!). Congrats to Joan for all his hard work and dedication, its very impressive and inspiring. Congrats also to Iva, a top notch assistant! I will leave this place with many special memories – from “floating potatoes”, to “blip” the dolphin, to yummy greek salad (with cucumbers), to the “totally awesome” moment when a dolphin was bowriding right next to me! Since I'm studying science at university I just want to mention how encouraging it was to see that the work done was carefully considered so as to be scientifically sound, and therefore valuable to the wider scientific community. Keep up the good work Joan et al! Thanks for all the laughter, but also for showing one person can make a difference in the world. All the best to my lovely team of Nan & Bo, Marcia, and Maureen.

Sophie, UK

09 July 2009

No cetaceans in captivity in Croatia

The Minister of Culture of the Republic of Croatia enacted a new "Ordinance concerning the conditions of keeping protected animals in captivity, marking methods and keeping
records thereof".

According to this new regulation, Croatia prohibits keeping cetaceans in captivity for commercial purposes, including dolphinaria, aquaria and similar facilities.

The only exception could be granted by the Ministry of Culture if the animals are injured or sick and the solely purpose of their keeping is rehabilitation and recovery to return to nature.

This regulation was adopted based on the expertise study prepared by the State Institute for Nature Protection. Valuable information and evaluations included in the study were provided by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.

With adoption of this regulation, Croatia has met provisions of the ACCOBAMS Resolution 3.13. on Dolphin Interaction Programmes, adopted at the Third Meetings of Parties organized in Dubrovnik in 2007.


08 July 2009

Dolphins in Greece and whales in Maine

What do dolphins in Greece have to do with whales in Maine? We wanted to know so we went to Greece to find out! As teachers in Expeditionary Learning schools, we qualified to apply for a grant from Fund for Teachers and received a fellowship to work with Earthwatch Institute.

For 10 days last Summer we worked with Tethys Research Institute as volunteers on the Dolphins of Greece expedition.
We learned so much about dolphins and how they are identified and even got to know some of them by name. We found out what marine mammals need in order to survive and what conservation efforts exist or are being proposed in order to protect them. We learned about the methods scientists use to observe and record data in the field and turn that data into long term studies that demonstrate how people play a vital role in the survival of species. We also learned that all species are equally fascinating and equally important and that they are all interconnected. All species are threatened by pollution, loss of habitat and over fishing; and all species play a vital role in the delicate balance of nature.

As teachers we needed to take all that we had learned and transform it into an expedition for children that focused on the relevant content and skills they needed to learn at their grade level. And, as teachers of English as a second language, we needed to find a way to present information and concepts in a comprehensible manner. In addition to learning lots of information about individual species and forces at work within the ocean ecosystem, we wanted students to develop a spirit of curiosity and adventure. We wrote grants to buy materials and pay for field experiences. We went to teacher workshops and developed relationships with local experts. We met with other school personnel to get feedback and refine our plans. We named our expedition: The Sea and Me and began in the spring of ’09. Our guiding questions were: 1- Why should people care about the oceans? 2- Who lives in Casco Bay, Maine? Finally, 3- Is the Casco Bay ecosystem endangered?

With the students, we conducted experiments, watched You Tube videos, observed plankton, and took many trips to the shore to observe and record data. Through an L.L. Bean grant we were able to take our 2 classes on a 5 hour whale watch 20 miles out from Portland Harbor. Even though the trip was long and arduous (including lots of throwing up) everyone loved it! For days afterward students came to school asking when we were going in the boat again.

We developed a list of plants and animals that live here in Maine’s coastal waters and began researching their characteristics, place in the food web and threats to their survival. We looked at local sources of pollution and other threats to the animals such as overfishing and gear entanglement and read about laws created to protect them. We worked with local artists, authors and experts in the field. After researching and learning to care about the animals, the students created a final product in order to share what they had learned with others. The Middle School students created a book containing vital information about each species. The first and second grade class created a board game that illustrates the connections between plants, animals and people.

Our culminating event was a presentation of the final products to other classes of students at the East End Community School. In all, we created 10 sets of books and games to distribute. Teachers were impressed by the advanced vocabulary students used to explain complicated concepts. We were impressed by their excitement to learn, the bonding that developed between the two groups of students and their collaboration in this endeavor, and by their deeper understanding of the importance of preserving the ocean ecosystem and all that lives in it and depends on it.

Amy and Marcia, USA


In August 2008 Amy and Marcia participated as volunteers in the Dolphins of Greece expedition. From the first instant of their arrival they were eager to learn and to gather as much information as possible to take back with them to their classrooms. What they have managed to accomplish with their students is impressive and should be an example to be followed by many. Well done girls!

Joan Gonzalvo

07 July 2009

Susie in regalia

Tethys collaborator Zsuzsanna Pereszlényi received her MSc in Biology during an official cerimony at the University of Pécs, Hungary, after having also passed a most challenging State Exam.

Susie graduated with a thesis titled "Feeding behaviour of common bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus in the Amvrakikos Gulf, Greece".


Photo: Susie in regalia at her MSc cerimony

06 July 2009

Cetacean Sanctuary Research 06, 29 June – 5 July

I have been excited about this holiday since I booked it some months ago. It far exceeded my expectations. Seeing the dolphins, whales, sea turtles and lots of sun fish was much more than I had anticipated. Watching the animals was somewhat surreal as their grace, elegance and beauty is overwhelming. I gained memories during this week which will remain with me forever. The crew are an enthusiastic and knowledgeable group, their excitement and positivity adds to what is an already incredible experience. Thank you Tethys, for something which for most people is ‘a once in a lifetime experience.’ I have many tales to tell my friends and family of this week.

Cathy, England


At first I didn’t know that there are whales in the Mediterranean Sea. But when I heard that you can find them there and even watch them from a boat, I wanted to go. I have been looking forward to it and dreaming of seeing a whale without disturbing it – and by chance taking a good picture… But what can I say - It was a fabulous week!!! We have seen a lot of whales and dolphins, and there are some great pictures to take home (In my head and on the digital camera).

Frank, Germany


Ho passato una settimana BELLISSIMA, ho vissuto esperienze che non potevo neanche immaginare e mi son sentita parte di un gruppo unito e nuovo, eterogeneo per età e provenienza... Indescrivibile la gioia con cui ogni mattina mi sono alzata con la voglia di scoprire qualcosa di nuovo, di conoscere nuove nozioni ma soprattutto di vedere animali meravigliosi alcuni dei quali a me totalmente sconosciuti… Il tempo con noi è stato più che generoso regalandoci una settimana di tempo perfetto per poi sbottare in una lieve pioggia una volta attraccati al molo l’ultima sera di escursione, come se avesse resistito fino all’ultimo minuto per poter permetterci di navigare in tranquillità. La fortuna è stata dalla nostra e balenottere, capodogli, stenelle striate, tartarughe marine, pulcinella, pesci luna, “jumping fishes” e (last but not the least!) meravigliosi grampi si sono palesati di fronte ai nostri occhi sbalorditi

Giulia, Italy

05 July 2009

Delphi's Dolphins 08, 28 June - 4 July

I have just completed two weeks of the Tethys Research Institute program in Galaxidi, Greece. I can say with certainty that this experience has had a profound effect on my life, and the direction that it will continue in. It was absolutely incredible to see dolphins in their natural habitat and know that you are not just observing them, but helping to collect information which will hopefully aid in the preservation of this species.

Susan, New York/USA


The week I spent at Tethys has been such a profound experience that I will not be able to articulate fully the effect it had on me until I have a chance to reflect and process all that I learned and saw. I know that it changed me on a fundamental level. The professionalism coupled with knowledge and passion of Silvia, Giovanni, and Aina was a gift to all of those who participated in the program. I am so fortunate to have been able to participate in this crucial study.

Elektra, New York/USA


Dolphins have fascinated me ever since I was a little girl, so when I found Tethys on the internet, I decided to sign up. I had no idea what to expect, but thought that no matter what a week on the shores of Galaxidi would be pretty great. This program however went above every expectation that I could have had. Not only is Galaxidi wonderful (friendly people, great food, cool streets, the sea), but in this one week I learned more and saw more than I could have ever hoped for. I will never in my life forget the image of over 50 dolpins circling our small, inflatable boat, some of them coming close enough to touch. It was incredible. I would recommend this program to anyone. The combination of the knowledge you gain, the beauty that you see, and the people that you meet is absolutely unforgettable. Thanks for such an amazing week!

Katherine, Connecticut/USA


This week spent exploring in the Gulf of Corinth, our boat and our minds scratching only the surface, has taught me and changed me unexpectedly. I thought I would grill some fish when it was my night to cook, being a fish-eating vegetarian, until I asked Silvia where I could find someplace in town to buy fresh fish, and she answered me seriously, that it is hard to find. Since then, when dining out, is no longer easy to figure out what fish to order, knowing that the mussels might be from the nearby mussel farm which is in the same bay as a massive aluminum factory which releases its byproducts into the the same body of water. I no longer want to eat farmed fish after learning that it takes more fish to feed them than it produces, while adding toxins into the water. Facing these grim new realities, it is even more amazing (katabliktico), and elating, to have been lucky enough to witness a glorious group of dolphins.

Cate, New York/USA

04 July 2009

Riciclaggio: che fare

A tutti è capitato di dover sostituire vecchie apparecchiature elettriche ed elettroniche perché non più funzionanti o obsolete. Dal momento che le informazioni per smaltire questi prodotti sono il più delle volte insufficienti, abbiamo deciso di raccogliere qui alcune informazioni e consigli.

Se l'oggetto di cui ci vogliamo liberare è ancora funzionante potrebbe essere utile a qualcun altro per cui, prima di buttarlo, bisognerebbe verificare se non possa servire a parenti, amici o conoscenti.

Se il passa-parola non dovesse dare i frutti sperati possiamo rivolgerci alle associazioni che si occupano di ridare vita ai vecchi computer e regalarli a chi ne ha bisogno, ad esempio:





Se anche la strada della donazione dovesse fallire (ad es. perché il PC / aspirapolvere / televisore non è funzionante), l'oggetto entra a far parte della categoria dei RAEE (Rifiuti di Apparecchiature Elettriche ed Elettroniche).

Lo smaltimento dei RAEE

Sono rifiuti RAEE le lavatrici, i frigoriferi, le TV, i telefonini, i PC, i videogiochi, gli orologi e molti altri oggetti (elenco completo).

I RAEE devono essere smaltiti presso apposite strutture (isole ecologiche o riciclerie presenti in ogni comune). E' possibile individuare il centro di raccolta dei rifiuti RAEE più vicino alla propria abitazione attraverso questo link.

Basta specificare la propria Area Geografica, Regione, Provincia e Comune e vi verrà segnalata la piazzola ecologica attrezzata per i RAEE.

Qualora nel vostro Comune non fosse presente una piazzola potete cercare nei comuni limitrofi oppure contattare l'Ufficio Ambiente del vostro Comune e chiedere direttamente dove poter smaltire questo tipo di rifiuti.

I rifiuti ingombranti

Per i rifiuti ingombranti il problema è più complesso, infatti può non essere semplice portare fino alla piazzola un frigorifero o una lavatrice dismessa. Spesso quando acquistiamo uno di questi prodotti nuovi e ci viene recapitato a casa, è lo stesso negoziante che ce lo istalla che si occupa di portare via il vecchio. In questo caso è bene assicurarsi che la destinazione sia effettivamente una piazzola ecologica in cui il rifiuto verrà trattato correttamente.

In generale è sempre possibile comunque disfarsi di un rifiuto ingombrante senza dover recarsi di persona nei punti di smaltimento. Purtroppo non esiste una sola modalità o un unico ente che si occupa di questo tipo di servizio ma ogni comune ha le proprie risorse.

Per ottenere queste informazioni è necessario andare sul sito internet del proprio comune di residenza e digitare nell'area "cerca all'interno del sito" (se esiste) le parole "rifiuti ingombranti". Nella maggior parte dei casi verrete mandati direttamente alla sezione della raccolta differenziata in cui vengono indicate le modalità e i numeri di telefono da chiamare per far venire a casa propria il personale che si occupa di ritirare e portare nelle piazzole questo tipo di rifiuti. Il servizio è gratuito.

Se queste informazioni non sono indicate la cosa più semplice da fare è telefonare all'Ufficio Ambiente e chiedere informazioni sulla raccolta differenziata. Vi verrà indicato il numero di telefono della società o dell'ufficio da contattare.

È importante ottenere queste informazioni direttamente dal Comune, attraverso il sito ufficiale o un contatto telefonico, per evitare di imbattersi in società fasulle che non effettuano un corretto smaltimento dei rifiuti.

A cura di Elisa Remonato, Stefano Agazzi e Giovanni Bearzi

02 July 2009

The moment I stepped onboard

The moment I stepped onboard the sailboat 'Pelagos' in San Remo, I entered another world. For six unforgettable days, 'Pelagos' was my home, the Ligurian Sea was the street on which I lived and the five crew members and ten volunteers were my extended family.

It has been more than a week since I returned to shore yet the magic of my week with the team and fellow volunteers seeking whales and dolphins and trying to uncover some of their secrets of the deep remains with me.

I cannot speak more highly of the team from the Tethys Research Institute who were onboard - Caterina, Francesca, Enrico and Eva. Not only are they serious and professional research scientists, they are enthusiastic and patient teachers. Along with Captain Roberto, the team was very warm and welcoming and nothing was too much trouble for their volunteers.

As a volunteer working with the Tethys team, I have been so close to fin whales I can hear them breathe. I have held eye contact with a striped dolphin as she rides the bow wave beneath me.

From the deck of our boat, I have watched the sun drop behind towering mountains and the moon rise over a satin-smooth sea.

For one week, I worked with people who are passionate about their work in trying to protect the beautiful marine animals which inhabit the Cetacean Research Sanctuary.

With volunteers from around the world, we have laughed heartily together and also watched in silent awe as whales surface near our boat.

In my life I have experienced many wonderful times and my week onboard 'Pelagos' ranks as one of my highlights so far. Already I am looking forward to the next time I step onboard 'Pelagos' and can call the 21-metre sailboat 'home'.

Through the work of Tethys and similar organisations, I sincerely hope generations to come will also know the privilege of seeing these magnificent mammals in the wild.

Sue Smart, journalist

01 July 2009

Cetacean Sanctuary Research 05, 22-28 June

Wow, what an experience! This, although a “working holiday”, was one of the best of my life. Whales have been a passion of my childhood, and being able to help research and photograph them was an awe-inspiring experience. Throughout the expedition we received insightful lectures about the various cetaceans in the sanctuary and how Tethys Research institute is working towards further protection of the cetaceans in the area. Overall the crew were very helpful in providing useful information about the animals, but also in helping with “tasks” i.e. washing up and cooking which for a 15 yr old (myself) are quite challenging. I would recommend this holiday to anyone of all ages and (weather permitting) they will not be let down with opportunities for wildlife spotting.

Matt, UK


I could do this type of work for the rest of my life. In fact, I plan to. This week has been a fantastic eye opener with regards to how much and how hard the researchers work in this specialist field and determined my resolve to join the fight for safer seas. The dolphins I saw will continue to leap and twist through my dreams for months to come until I can return to this magical and truly unique area of beauty.

Zoë, Northern Ireland


Fabulous week with superb collection of multinational volunteers and researchers. Enlightened about all matters ecological and amazing opportunities to view wildlife in their natural habitat. Inspired to undertake more conservation activities and also to spread the word.

Nic, England


You can only miss what you know.
I will miss the nights on deck.
I will miss the Dolphins playing around the Pelagos.
I will miss the beautiful sound of the Fin Wale breathing.
I will miss the Fantastic team of Tethys.
I will miss sitting at the bow watching the sea.
But this missing will make me come back.

Peter, Germany