We have been investigating the ecology of marine species, most notably whales and dolphins, in research campaigns involving whale-watching lovers, that are among the earliest citizen science projects in the Mediterranen

Join us at sea! Everyone can participate


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.


Participants are involved in all aspects of  the fieldwork and of the management of the life on board or at the field station. No previous experience is required


The field season runs from May to September, during the warm Mediterranean summer. Each expedition lasts 6 days. Please check out dates for summer 2017: in Italy (Sanremo) cruises will start May; in  Greece (Vonitsa) in June.


Participants joining for more than one team will have a 10% discount in any additional team.  Special discounts will apply for students: check them out  on the project’s page “Dates & Fees”


Last Minute

Team IDP 03 (25th June – 1st July) has still a few spaces available at a special last-minute fee,  610 Euro instead of 720 Euro. Spaces will be assigned on a first come – first served basis. Those who are interested please contact our office asap. Don’t miss it!

Help needed urgently

Please help! We need funding to make front to essential repair work to the IDP car, a vital member of the IDP work force. We need 1,500 EUR to bring it back to life. Any contribution will be deeply appreciated. Thank you for your support!

Join us at sea

people on boat with fin whale

Both Tethys’ long term projects, in Greece and in the Ligurian Sea Sanctuary, are open to the participation of paying volunteers. Anyone can participate; no previous experience is required. Expeditions  will go on from May to September 2017.

Befriend a whale

logo a whale of a friend

Befriend a sperm whale from the Pelagos Sanctuary or donate its friendship to someone you love. With this symbolic gift you will support the research and conservation of Mediterranean cetaceans through the Tethys Research Institute.

An expedition as a present

Best  gift ever: get a voucher and the lucky ones receiving the present will be able to freely choose their participation dates and their destination, Greece or Italy – in the field, helping the researchers.

Cetacean Sanctuary Research

The Cetacean Sanctuary Project (CSR) takes place in the Ligurian Sea, N-W Mediterranean, between Italy and France, within the protected area known as Pelagos Sanctuary for whales and dolphins. Participants’ accommodation is on board a 58 ft motorsailer.

Ionian Dolphin Project

The Ionian Dolphin Project  (IDP) is conducted in the coastal waters of western Greece, in the Gulf of Ambracia and in the Inner Ionian Sea archipelago. Project participants are based in the traditional village of Vonitsa and participate to daily surveys at sea on board of our rigid-hulled inflatable boat.

Target species

Main two species  subject of study are bottlenose and common dolphins. Other marine animals frequently observed are striped dolphins, sea turtles and Mediterranean monk seals.


Participants enjoyed our expeditions since 1991


Km surveyed


Days spent at sea


Sightings of cetaceans

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 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.

More about our scientific work can be found at www.tethys.org

logo a whale of a friend

Have you ever considered to befriend a whale?

Befriend a sperm whale from the Pelagos Sanctuary or donate its friendship to someone you love. With this symbolic gift you will support the research and conservation of Mediterranean cetaceans through the Tethys Research Institute.


Fin whale CSR Diary
Fin whale CSR Diary
Fin whale CSR Diary
fin whale