Page 1

1. About us Jonian Dolphin Conservation (JDC) is a scientific research association. We study and preserve cetaceans in the Gulf of Taranto, in the Northern Ionian Sea, since 2009. Our actions are focused on research, conservation and education. We realize dolphin watching activities involving tourists and citizens on board and we cooperate with several organizations and institutions. Our main partner and supporter of the volunteer program are: National Council of Research (CNR) and the Department of Biology of the University of Bari.

2. Study area The Gulf of Taranto (Northern Ionian Sea, Central-eastern Mediterranean Sea) extends from Santa Maria di Leuca to Punta Alice covering an area of approximately 14000 km2. The basin is characterized by complex morphology with a narrow continental shelf and steep slope cut by several channels in the western sector and terraces in the eastern one, both descending toward the NWSE submarine canyon system in the “Taranto Valley” . This singular morphology involves a complex distribution of water masses with a mixing of surface and dense bottom waters and the occurrence of high seasonal variability in upwelling currents.

Map of the Gulf of Taranto (Northern Ionian Sea, Central-eastern Mediterranean Sea) with indication of sampling effort in terms of investigated km2 applied in the survey area from 2009 to 2016. The amount of sampling effort for each cell is represented by a grey scale.

3. Research activities a. Visual surveys: When species of interest are spotted everyone on board gets instructions from the researchers and data collection begins through distance sampling method. In the last years we use drones as well to have a better view of the animal encountered.

b. Photo-Identification Scars occur naturally on specific species of cetaceans like Bottlenose Dolphins and Risso’s dolphins caused by their interactions and they are unique to each dolphin like a fingerprint. Collecting images of these dorsal fins on photographs provides data about individuals that can be followed for many years.

c. Bio-acoustics The aim of this research is to understand relationships between the behavior of cetaceans and their way of communications and to monitor the underwater noise that can be a threat for these animals.

d. Behaviour Focal group sampling activities are carried out in order to observe the behaviour of the cetaceans in the area.

4. Species of interest The Species of Cetaceans lives that lives in the Mediterranean sea are 12 and among them, some species are regularly present. Those are: Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus), Sperm Whale (Physester catodon) , Striped Dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba), Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphi), Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus), Pilot Whale (Globicephala melas), Cuvier’s baked Whale (Ziphius cavirostris). Focusing on our research area, the species that are regularly present during the whole year are: Striped Dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), Risso’s dolphins (Grampus griseus) and sightings of Sperm Whales (Physester catodon) are not rare.

5. Volunteer activities There is no typical day. Schedule may vary depending on the sea state, weather conditions and research and activities priorities. It is important that you are flexible and keep in mind that dolphins are wild animals and work with them is not 100% predictable. In general, if the weather conditions are stable, every day we carry our dolphin watching activities and you help researchers in every aspects of life on board and in every research activity. Our chance to see cetaceans are quite high, around 90% every day. If the sea is not calm the team remains in town and you can help enter data and daily lectures are offered on various aspects of cetacean biology or the marine environment. We also expect from you to assist in educational activities on board with schools or tourists and, if you want, you can learn useful skills from our captains. Working hours are usually from 9 am until 16 pm. In free time you may visit the town and the coastline, enjoy the beauty of our region and of our beaches and experience new exciting adventures. Sunday is designated as a free day. The atmosphere at the project is informal and relaxed and we will do our best in order to make you live a great experience. One researcher of our staff will be the tutor and coordinator of your daily activities.

6. Accomodation & food You will be hosted in Taranto. The house is situated in the city center and you can easily reach the harbour walking in 15-20 minutes. It provides a bedroom for maximum 5 volunteers (no gender division), 1 bathroom, a office and a small kitchen (equipped with the minimum useful items to cook – the accommodation is perfectly linked with supermarkets, restaurants, food shop, and so on). Bed, sheets and blankets are provided. Wi-fi available. Not equipped with washing machine (in the city center there are several centers with washing machine service). You are responsible of maintaining the house clean for the period of your staying. If you are involved during the activities on board, lunch is provided by us.

7. Conditions for participation People participating in this project should match the following requirements: - In good physical condition; - Able to tolerate hot weather and long periods on the boat (we cannot provide any medicines); - Speak English; - Over 18 years old; - Read the application form, accept the conditions; - Priority will be give to biology students but everyone can apply - Be aware that the project director or project manager has the right of expelling you from the field base, in case your behaviour and attitude may obstruct the normal research activities.

8. Dates The International Volunteering Experiences with the Jonian Dolphin Conservation starts from June 18th and ends on September 30th : -

Week 1 - June 18th to June 24th Week 2 – June 25th to July 1st Week 3 – July 2nd to July 8th Week 4 – July 9th to July 15th Week 5 – July 16th to July 22nd Week 6 – July 23rd to July 29th Week 7 – July 30th to August 5th Week 8 – August 6th to August 12th Week 9 – August 13th to August 19th Week 10 – August 20th to August 26th Week 11 – August 27th to September 2nd Week 12 – September 3rd to September 9th Week 13 – September 10th to September 16th Week 14 – September 17th to September 23nd Week 15 – September 24rd to September 30th

You can join us during this period of 15 weeks and each week has maximum 5 available positions. The arrival day is on Monday of each week and the departure is on Sunday. If your trip to Taranto make you arrive some days before or leave some days after we can suggest you accommodations but we cannot host you in our house because will be used by other volunteers.

9. Prices The cost for the activities is:

- 350 € for 2 weeks - 500 € for 3 weeks - 600 € for 4 weeks If you would like to stay longer the cost is 100€ for each additional week.

The cost includes:


Accomodation Trainings Personal tutor Workshop Boat excursions for whale and dolphin watching Everything that, in general, concerns the activities of the Jonian Dolphin Conservation

- One meal per day when you are on board The cost does not include:

- Food when you are not on board - Travel to and from Taranto

10. How to apply In order to apply, send an email to with object “dolphin house – period/week of your staying”. Please, in this email write us:


Name, surname, age, sex Your city and country Facebook contact Previous experiences & background Motivation to participate Contribution that you could give to the volunteers team Allergies, intolerance, specific and special needs

11. Leisure activities The city of Taranto and our region, Puglia, offer you a huge amount of leisure activities from any point of view. Beautiful beaches, wild nature, sea sports centers, magic cultural venues, museums and great folk events are waiting for you, ready to be shared with the youngsters that will join the same period of your staying. Our team will be happy to suggest you all the options that you have once you are here.

12. Travel information If you travel by airplane, we suggest you to visit to find your best way to connect you to Bari (nearest airport) or Rome or Brindisi. If you travel by train or once that you are in Bari, Rome or Brindisi, train connection to Taranto are available on the website If you need help for your travel arrangements contact us by mail and we are going to help you with all the travel info that you need. We are going to pick you up from the train station when you arrive to Taranto.

13. What to bring with you Here it is a list of recommended items: - Confortable clothes & shoes (but on board we are not going to use any shoes. Naked feet or with socks) - Confortable warm clothes like Jacket and sweater/sweatshirt (even with warm weather because on the boat can be windy and you can feel cold and even at night, because the humidity can make you feel cold) - Hat or cap - Sleeping bag (if you feel cold at night) - Bathing suit and (if you wish to swim during free time) - Sunglasses - Small rucksack - Your own water bottle (to reduce the consume of disposable plastic) - Bath towel - Beach towel - Personal toiletries (biodegradable soaps and shampoos are encouraged) - Personal first aid kit (e.g. anti-diarrhea pills, antibiotics, antiseptic, pain reliever, allergy medication and so on) - Suncream - A LOT OF GOOD MOOD AND POSITIVE ATTITUDE


Jonian dolphin conservation international volunteering experiences  
Jonian dolphin conservation international volunteering experiences