Meet the people of the Ionian Dolphin Project

They are passionate about cetaceans and will all be happy to share their knowledge about wildlife conservation

The Ionian Dolphin Project research team is composed of extensively experienced professionals in the field of marine mammal research and conservation. Typically, resident staff in our Greek base includes a principal field investigator leading the fieldwork, and one (or sometimes more) research assistants.

Project Management

Joan Gonzalvo

Joan Gonzalvo

Project manager and Science coordinator
Principal Field Investigator
Data analyst

Born in Barcelona, Joan is a Catalan biologist whose main research interest is the conservation of the marine environment and, more specifically, the study and conservation of cetaceans.

Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara

Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara

Senior science coordinator and marine conservation advisor

born in Venice, Italy, Giuseppe has been concerned for over 40 years with the advancement of knowledge of the natural history, ecology, behaviour, taxonomy and conservation of aquatic vertebrates, with an emphasis on whales, dolphins, seals, sharks and manta rays.

Field Investigators

Nino Pierantonio

Nino Pierantonio

Principal field investigator

Nino Pierantonio is an associated researcher of Tethys Research Institute, where he has been a Member of the Board of Directors between 2013 and 2016.

Carmen Andrés

Carmen Andrés

Field Researcher

Coming from Granada (Spain), Carmen has always been captivated by all marine living forms, especially marine mammals.


Elena Politi

Elena Politi

Director 1991-1996 and Co-director 1997-2003

Back in 1993, with very little more than her enthusiasm and eagerness to study the dolphins inhabiting the beautiful waters of the eastern Ionian Sea, Elena established our first field base in the island of Kalamos and founded the Ionian Dolphin Project. Get a glimpse of Elena’s emotions when encountering, ten years after her last sighting, a group of common dolphins.

” She is the person who gave me the opportunity to come to Greece for the first time in 1999, when I was an unexperienced recently graduated student, to get a taste of the Dolphins of Greece experience; more than a decade later I still feel inspired by her passion for the marine environment, her never-ending energy and continuous advice and support. Thank you Elena!

joAn – IDP Project Manager and Science coordinator “

Giovanni Bearzi

Giovanni Bearzi

Co-director 1997-2003 and Director 2004-2010

Giovanni Bearzi (born in Venice, Italy, in 1963) holds a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Basel, Switzerland. He has been carrying out and coordinating dolphin research projects since 1986, particularly in the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. He founded and directed for a decade a dolphin research and conservation programme in Croatia, which was awarded the ‘Henry Ford European Conservation Award’ as best European project. Board Member (1990—2010) and President (2000—2010) of the Tethys Research Institute. Contract Professor of Cetacean Conservation (2002—2006) at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Venice, Italy. Research associate, Marine Mammal Behavioral Ecology Group, Texas A&M University (since 2011). Visiting senior scientist at the Institute of Marine Life Sciences, Texas A&M University (2011—2012). In 2001 he was awarded a Pew Marine Conservation Fellowship. Giovanni does field research on dolphins, particularly in poorly-known Mediterranean areas. His studies aim to inform management action through a description of problems faced by the animals, ideally also explaining how such problems could be solved.

Alexandros Frantzis

Alexandros Frantzis

Co-director 1995-1996

Alexandros (born in Athens, Greece, in 1964) holds a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Aix-Marseille II, France. He has been carrying out and coordinating dolphin research projects since 1995 in the Greek Seas, and he is the founder of the Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute. He founded and still directs the long-term research programs on the sperm whales of the Greek Seas and the mixed-species dolphin societies of the Korinthian Gulf.

His contribution to the Ionian Dolphin Project was key in the early years of the project for the establishment of our first field base in the Island of Kalamos and the designation of the Inner Ionian Sea Archipelago as a Natura 2000 area site. Nowadays, Alexandros and the rest of our friends from the Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute continue to provide valuable support and advice to the IDP

Past collaborators in alphabetical order (1991-2019)

Stefano Agazzi

Sabina Airoldi

Malvina Andris

Marta Azzolin

Giovanna Barbieri

Mauro Bastianini

Andreas Baumann

Maddalena Bearzi

Simona Bernasconi

Annalisa Bianchessi

Silvia Bonizzoni

Laura Bonomi

Fabrizio Borsani

Sebastiano Bruno

Erica Busatto

Enrico Cabras

Susanna Canuto

Marcello Cazzola

Andrea Ciboddo

Stefania Clemente

Marcel Clusa

Mauro Colla

Marina Costa

Jerome Couvat

Irene Crivellari

Elena Cussino

Carlo Della Libera

Matteo Del Lucchese

Christina Delyanides

Lucia Di Iorio

Claudia Dorado Menéndez

Vittorio Fadda

Daphna Feingold

Sabrina Ferretti

Elio Filidei

Francesca Fitzpatrick

Tilen Genov

Ioannis Giovos

Guido Gnone

Maddalena Jahoda

Shiva Javdan

Vasiliki Karpouzi

Kristyn Kleman

Kimon Koemtzopoulos

Viktória Kretz

Giancarlo Lauriano

Ruth Leeney

Eirini Lemos

Daniela Maldini

Elisa Malevolti

Gloria Marín

Claudia Mazzanti

Veronica Mento

Cristiana Miglio

Shotaro Nakagun

Ada Natoli

Gianni Neri

Stamatina Nikolopoulou

Simone Panigada

Myron Papadopoulos

Aina Pascual Cuadras Giorgos Paximadis

Gianluca Pecetti

Zsuzsanna Pereszlenyi

Giovanna Pesante

Kelsea Peterman

Annalise Petroselli

Theoni Photopoulos

Chira Piroddi

Katerina Pirounakis

Iva Popovic

Sveva Puerari

Francesco Quondam

Eletta Revelli

Elena Riva

Nuria Rocha

Giovanni Romagnoni

Miriam Romagosa

Vanessa Saari

Sara Sánchez-Quiñones Roselló

Beatrice Savinelli

Aviad Scheinin

Giuseppe Sciancalepore

Candilianne Serrano-Zayas

Andjin Siegenthaler

Arianna Sironi

Anikó Szegedi

Nina Therkildssen

Joe Treddenick

Jasmine Tribe

Maria Trivourea

Sofia Vekerithou