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”


IDP 2018 dates

fishing boat with bowriding dolphin

New dates for season 2018 at the Ionian Dolphin Project in Greece are now available! Participation fees were reduced significantly last year. For 2018 the Ionian Dolphin Project will maintain the very same participation fees in an effort to facilitate access to this amazing experience to many more marine conservation enthusiasts.

CSR 2018 dates

people on boat with fin whale

The new dates for season 2018 at the Cetacean Research Project in the Ligurian Sea are now available! It’s an amazing experience in the Pelagos Sanctuary, where 8 different species of cetaceans, turtles, giant devil rays and many other marine animals live.

An expedition as a gift

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. They will be in the field, helping the researchers.

Befriend a whale

logo a whale of a friend

Why not giving a sperm whale from the Pelagos Sanctuary to someone you love? With this symbolic gift you will support the research and conservation of Mediterranean cetaceans through the Tethys Research Institute.

Ionian Dolphin Project wishlist 2018

At the Ionian Dolphin Project we are already planning the 2018 research season. You can help us. Please consider supporting the work we do by making a donation towards the acquisition of some urgently needed research equipment and boat upkeep. We will be deeply grateful for any amount donated. Follow the link to see in details which is the equipment we must buy.

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

Find which are our supporters

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 CSR Diary