Projects Abroad | Marine Conservation

Italy: Whale & Dolphin Conservation

Ischia, Italy

Description

Location: Ischia, Italy

Duration: 6-day placements

Start Dates: Placements are available throughout the summer months, from May to October

Cost: from €800 (depending upon when you go) per 6-day trip – see ‘Costs’ tab for further details

Benefits:

  • Work and study aboard a sailboat cruising the Mediterranean, exploring marine life, researching while attending onboard lectures from seasoned scientists
  • Hands-on experience monitoring and observing, acoustic analysis, and seamanship
  • Ideal for Marine Biologists and Animal Science, Environmental studies professionals, and students
  • Keywords: marine biology, environmental conservation, cetology research, field-courses
Costs Explained

Introduction

For those wishing to jumpstart or further a career in marine biology, or for more casual conservationists keen to enjoy Italy’s ‘dolce vita’ while contributing to ecological research, this one-week Marine Biology Course on the Italian island of Ischia is for you. You will specifically investigate declining cetacean populations in the Italian Mediterranean with a local non-profit, living aboard a historical cutter ship of 18 m and contributing to ongoing academic research and conservation initiatives.

The waters off the Island of Ischia offer a unique opportunity to study cetaceans. Since 1991, seven different Mediterranean cetacean species have been recorded.

The presence of several species gives the project a unique occasion to study and compare the behavioral ecology of the animals. The project’s principal goal is to protect whales’ and dolphins’ habitats, corrupted and threatened by human activities.

Cetacean threats in the Mediterranean include prey depletion, contamination by xenobiotics, bycatch, marine traffic, and underwater noise caused by shipping, mineral prospecting (seismic), and military sonar.

Thanks to the amount of collected and published data, in 2017, the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force recognized the coastal waters of Ischia and Ventotene as Important Marine Mammals Area (IMMA), with common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, and fin whale as key species.
The Archipelagos Pontino and Campano were also identified as IMMA, with sperm whales as qualifying species.

The research is conducted in collaboration with: CIBRA, MPA “Regno di Nettuno”, MPA Isole di Ventotene e S. Stefano.

Any economic support for the project comes exclusively from participants in the summer courses, private sponsors, and foundations. Thanks to the participation of volunteers who choose to spend their holidays collaborating on the project, it has been possible to go on in our effort until today.

Daily Life

Participants live onboard the research vessel Jean Gab which preferably navigates under sail. Your staying will primarily dedicate to the research activities, and all participants will participate in the fieldwork. Every day, except for the arrival and departure days, will be spent at sea, according to the project and weather conditions. Your duties onboard consist of helping researchers to monitor dolphins. Dolphin behavior is recorded together with geographic position, group size, group composition, group formation, surface activity patterns, and duration of surfacing intervals. Behavioral sampling is coupled with acoustic recordings of dolphin vocalizations to relate the sounds produced by the animals to different behavioral activities. Navigation data are collected to estimate the cetacean distribution and habitat use. You will also help record the presence of sea turtles, tuna, swordfish, fish schools, mantas, moonfish, and marine birds.

Get on board with this unique project and gain invaluable research, monitoring, and evaluation skills, while enjoying Italian wine and the clear waters of the Med.

Book with Confidence

Travel & Accom.

You will receive easy-to-follow instructions to get from Naples (Capodichino) international airport to the island, where you will be met by project staff and taken to the ship.

You will live on board the cutter ship. You will be in a shared cabin with basic bathroom and kitchen facilities. Interested volunteers can learn the main riggings to sail such as steering, hoisting, and striking the sails, and take confidence with sheets, halyards, compass, and courses. You can also collaborate with the crew during the mooring.

We remind you that life on board a sailing vessel like Jean Gab is a choice: a simple, communal, and eco-compatible lifestyle conserving energy and resources.

There is very little privacy behind the curtains of the cabins.

Nevertheless, the spaces are large enough, and the sea and the sky will offer you unlimited horizons, and each watching shift will give you the possibility to taste the peace of sailing.

Fundraising Help

Requirements

This placement is particularly suited to those looking to gain a career in marine biology or environmental conservation. You do not need any specific skills, although any you do have will be very beneficial.

  • Min age 18
  • Minimum 6 days commitment
  • Reasonable physical fitness
  • Be highly adaptable, an essential requirement for living on a boat
  • Be interested in nature conservation and animal protection and have a positive attitude towards working with people from different countries
  • Full travel & medical insurance
  • Necessary vaccinations
  • Necessary flights & visas
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Costs

Arrival date 2023 Departure date Project Fee Second turn fee
22/5 28/5 €800 €740
29/5 4/6 €800 €740
5/6 11/6 €900 €830
12/6 18/6 €900 €830
19/6 25/6 €900 €830
26/6 2/7 €900 €830
3/7 9/7 €900 €830
10/7 16/7 €900 €830
17/7 23/7 €950   –
24/7 30/7 €950   –
31/7 6/8 €950   –
7/8 13/8 €950   –
14/8 20/8 €950   –
21/8 27/8 €950   –
28/8 3/9 €900 €830
4/9 10/9 €900 €830
11/9 17/9 €900 €830
18/9 24/9 €800 €740
25/9 1/10 €800 €740

*All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee.
** Second Turn discounts available

What’s Included:

Project Fee includes all accommodation, insurance, in-country support, electricity and gas, port fees, scientific supervision and lectures on cetaceans held by the researchers, Certificate of Participation (upon request), orientation, and all project-related activities.

What’s not included:

Meals and petrol (around 30 euros per day, to be paid on site), flights, airport pick-up, visas (if applicable), and vaccinations. Full assistance will be provided in if you choose our premium support.

Premium Support Upgrade

We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organize for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge, and experience of our Project Coordinators.

We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organized with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.

Note: Map coordinates are approximate


Past Participants Say

Veronika Samotskaya
Russia
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I found out about the project and Global Nomadic quite unexpectedly. I had a last time change in my plans for summer that did not depend on me. Eventually, I was left in Italy all alone without any suggestions what to do here. So, I hit the Google to make myself useful. I am a professional ornithologist but since my years in university I always wan...
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Jeremy Admin
United Kingdom
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I have a wonderful time in Ischia doing this conservation trip for dolphins and whales in the Mediterranean Ocean. I think this project is still on its progress to come up with a conclusion on the current status for these marine mammals and a complete scientific paper on its findings. I think I definitely made a difference to this project by adding...
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Sarah Murray
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  "I have for many years now harboured a desire to go whale and/ or dolphin watching. So earlier this year, April-May 2015, when I got an email from Global Nomadic offering me this opportunity, I knew I had to do it. It was an opportunity I would not likely get again and a dream come true. As it happens I enjoyed the whole experience imm...
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Celeste Rowe
United States
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  "I never thought a simple google search would lead me to one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I’ve wanted to study marine biology for as long as I can remember and I figured, what better way to know for sure that this is the right path for me than to get out there and see and be apart of the work that is involved? Global No...
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Patrycja Glaz
United Kingdom
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I found out about Global Nomadic unexpectedly while looking for an internship opportunity online. I have been studying Marine biology and was looking for an organisation that could provide me with hands on experience and valued work amongst professionals. This is exactly what I have found with the whale & dolphin conservation project and so muc...
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Noelle Lascoux
France
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I found out about this "dolphin and whales project" through google which redirected me to the Global Nomadic webpage. The location was very practical for me as I could book a direct flight to Napoli and then it was only 20 minutes by bus to Napoli harbour and 1h30 by boat to Ischia. The ferry takes you to one end of Casamicciola harbour  and the "...
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