top of page
Scientific Research

Scientific research is primarily aimed at evaluating the status of cetaceans population along the Sicilian coast, by photo-identification surveys. The Sicily Channel is the strait of the sea located between the island of Sicily and Tunisia. It plays an important role by dividing the Mediterranean Sea into two principal sub-basins, the eastern and the western Mediterranean. The complex topography and circulation scheme makes the SC a highly productive area and a biodiversity hotspot within the Mediterranean. In the waters off the western sicilian coast we  monitor the presence, abundance and distribution of cetaceans. In this area bottlenose dolphins, striped dolphins and the endangered short-beaked common dolphin are particularly aboundant.  In the past these waters have been poorly studied, our expedition explore for the first time its pelagic fauna.

Logo_Ocean Action Hub.png


Bottlenose dolphins in the Sicilian Channel. Increasing knowledge through research activities and People awareness on the marine environment conservation - #OceanAction28338” developed by Associazione Me.Ri.S. Mediterraneo Ricerca e Sviluppo,in the framework ofOcean Action Hub”, a project of the United Nations born as a result of the Ocean Conference. Within this project, countries around the world are committed to achieving the "Global Objectives" (17 Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs) by 2030. Specifically, the GOAL 14 aims to "Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development".

Associazione Me.Ri.S. aims to increase dolphins protection in the Sicilian Channel through two coordinated activities. T

he first, is to increase scientific knowledge about bottlenose dolphins inhabiting waters off Agrigento Province. T his target will be reached through the following specific objectives:
1) calculate a preliminary estimation of the dolphins abundance and movement patterns in order to identify ecological corridors;
2) evaluate the interaction between dolphins feeding behaviors and humans activities with particular regards to professional fishing.

The second activity, aims to raise awareness of people about the importance to protect cetaceans and their environment, through dissemination and training activity. This goal will be reached through dissemination activities for citizen as well as scientific training activities.

For more information visits:

ARCIPELAGANDO locandina social.jpg


ARCIPELAGANDO: alla scoperta della biodiversità dell’Arcipelago Toscano” is a project  by Distav - University of Genoa, Me.Ri.S. and Marelibero A.S.D. It is co-funded by the Tuscany Region on  Go Green Biodiversità 2018.

The project includes two activities to be carried out in the waters of the Island of Elba, Capraia and Pianosa:

1) Photoidentification campaign at sea, monitoring the biodiversity, especially with regard to the bottlenose.
2) The training, information and environmental education activities carried out on board during the monitoring campaign and dedicated to the following categories: Maritime Direction and Coast guard; Municipal representatives of the Pelagos Sanctuary; Park personnel, environmental guides, guides of parkand nature reserves; Diving and Associations; University students and recent graduates.


Dolphins of Akragas” s a long-term monitoring and research project launched in 2016, promoted by Associazione Me.Ri.S.
The project aims to increase knowledge on the presence, abundance and distribution of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), as well as to investigate their behavior and evaluate interactions with professional fishing and seabirds. The study areas are the waters in front of the province of Agrigento in the Sicilian south-west coast.

• Monitoring of cetaceans in the study areas, conducted by a rigid keel inflatable boat (Selva 5.40) equipped with a 40 hp 4-stroke outboard motor.
• Photo-identification activity used to estimate dolphin abundance and to obtain information on its movements and social structure.
• Application of modeling used to investigate the distribution and use of the habitat.
• Monitoring of group size and dolphin behavior.
• Monitoring of other marine species, including turtles, tuna, swordfish and seabirds.
• Observation of the interactions between dolphins and anthropic activity, mainly trawling and mid-water pai trawling. And related ethological investigations.



MeRiS is enganged in scientific training, organizing  summer school for people who wants to learn cetacean biology and monitoring tecniques, providing the opportunity to  work side-by-side with experienced researchers during their normal activities. It is also available to support internships and thesis projects.  Contact us for further information!

locandina corso perfezionamento III.jpg
locandina corso perfezionamento social.j
locandina campi studio.jpg


Monitoring Techniques for the Study of Cetaceans - III ° edition

The third edition of the specialization course in "Monitoring Techniques for the Study of Cetaceans" is active for the 2018/2019 academic year. The course is promoted by DISTAV (University of Genoa), Inter-University Research Center on Cetaceans (CIRCE) and Associazione Me.Ri.S. The course has received the patronage of the Ministry for the Environment and Protection of the Territory and the Sea and of the Italian Society of Marine Biology (SIBM).

The third edition of the course aims to train a professional figure with specific knowledge of 1) biology and ecology of cetaceans and the risks deriving from the anthropic impact and 2) monitoring of cetaceans. The two themes will be developed through 42 hours of lectures (at the University of Genoa and the Association Me.Ri.S.) and consolidated through 16 hours of training at sea in the Sicilian Channel (at the Association Me.Ri .S.). The course will take place during the period from May 27th to July 15th 2019 and will allow to obtain 5 credits.

The course is open to 6 participants and is aimed at graduates and undergraduates in science and / or graduates with experience in the marine sector (personal protected areas, administrators, law enforcement agencies).
Registration is open until 6 May 2019, at 12.
The announcement is available at the following link: or by
clicking here
The application for admission to the course must be submitted via the online procedure:


Monitoring Techniques for the Study of Cetaceans - II ° edition” s a post-graduate specialization course promoted by Distav - University of Genoa, Me.Ri.S. , CIRCE - Inter-University Research Center on Cetaceans The Initiative was sponsored by SIBM - Italian Society of Marine Biology, and has received the patronage of the Ministry of the Environment for the Protection of the Terriotorio and the Sea.
The course aims to train qualified figures, with specific skills in monitoring cetaceans able to apply the main techniques of sampling and analysis of data and will take place from February to October 2018 The 4 topics will be developed with a practical-interactive teaching approach through 94 hours in the laboratory (at the University of Genoa) and 50 hours of sea training in the Sicilian Channel (at the Me.Ri.S. Association).
The course is open to 10 participants and is aimed at graduates in scientific subjects and / or graduates with experience in the marine sector (personal protected areas, administrators, law enforcement agencies), as well as to students of three-year undergraduate courses who have matured at least 60 CFU.


Field Study in Monitoring Techniques for the study of Cetaceans” every year Association Me.Ri.S. promotes summer courses that aim to train qualified figures, with specific skills in monitoring cetaceans able to apply the main techniques of sampling and analysis of data. The theoretical-practical course is open to 5 participants per week.
Participation is open exclusively to adult and to members. Participation allows the acquisition of University Credits (CFU).

bottom of page