Research Associates and Fieldwork
Giovanni Bearzi, Ph.D.
He has been conducting dolphin research 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. Coordinator and Science Director of Dolphin Biology and Conservation (since 2011). 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). Faculty Member and Research Associate Scientist, Texas A&M University (since 2013). Research Associate, OceanCare (since 2014).
Giovanni has authored or co-authored over 150 scientific contributions of which more than 40 are peer reviewed, and has produced various other work intended to support marine conservation action.
She got involved in dolphin research in 2000, and since 2006 she has been working as principal field investigator in various projects conducted by Dolphin Biology and Conservation, OceanCare and Tethys Research Institute in Greece (Gulf of Corinth, Northern and Southern Evoikos Gulf, Argolikos Gulf, Amvrakikos Gulf, Inner Ionian Sea Archipelago) and Italy (in Sardinia and Apulia).
She took part in oceanographic cruises in the Adriatic Sea (in collaboration with ISMAR); participated in cetacean surveys off Los Angeles, California (in collaboration with Ocean Conservation Society); conducted a pilot project using photo-identification from shore to study bottlenose dolphins in the Galveston Ship Channel, Texas (in collaboration with the Marine Mammal Behavioral Ecology Group, Texas A&M University). Her main research tools include GLM/GAM habitat modelling and individual photo-identification.
Silvia is currently a Research Associate with OceanCare, a Research Associate with Dolphin Biology and Conservation, and a Ph.D. student in Marine Biology at Texas A&M University (supervisor: Prof. Bernd Würsig).
Ricardo Sagarminaga van Buiten
Since 1984 Ricardo Sagarminaga van Buiten, skipper and marine research program coordinator, has combined his passion for sailing and building tall ships with his lifelong dedication to the conservation of marine biodiversity. Ric’s work has focused on developing marine apex predators monitoring surveys, designing and managing protected marine areas programs, and the conservation of endangered species and the sustainability of fisheries worldwide.
He specialises in coordinating international scale research and conservation programs and creating innovative technological measures to mitigate the risks to marine life linked to the fishing, defense, energy, transport and tourism industries.
After working with international environmental organisations, public administrations and academia, and becoming member of several scientific committees, he has created his own multidisciplinary approach to provide practical solutions for biodiversity conservation. Among his preferred formulas, Ric has used active education, citizen science and public volunteering as a tool for linking conservation strategies with the general public.
After founding and running the Spanish Cetacean Society, he co-founded ALNITAK Marine Research and Education center (www.alnitak.info) to generate novel environmental outreach strategies and forge a new tradition of cooperation between key international outfits. The success of the programs coordinated by Ric is largely due to having established schemes based on a positive and active involvement of all stakeholders in the search of win – win solutions. Following on this philosophy he later co-founded KAI Marine Services (www.kaiexpeditions.com) to provide full technical and scientific consultancy to policy makers aimed at making economic growth and biodiversity conservation compatible.
In 2014, Ric was elected as ASHOKA social entrepreneur fellow for his work in the Mediterranean, Africa and Latin America.
As a Senior Advisor of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment of the Spanish Government she has provided support for the monitoring and implementation of the main Multilateral Environmental Agreements for the protection of the marine environment in Spain since 2005. The main tasks include developing public policies for the conservation of marine biodiversity and representing the Spanish delegation at the main forums on conservation and sustainable use of the marine environment (marine groups of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Convention on Biological Diversity, OSPAR Convention, Barcelona Convention, Migratory Species Convention, Environmental Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organization, European Commission Working Groups).
However, her comfort zone is not only in the arena of international policy negotiation and the integration of its outcome in national levels. In 2009 she created KAI Marine, a “think tank” of international interdisciplinary experts with which she has worked in projects in Europe, Africa and the Americas, in a wide range of environments, often in extreme living conditions both at sea and on land.
Ana won the European Entrepreneur Environmental Award for the development of the KAI Marine Expedition initiative and its Marine Science Programme in November 2012.
Laetitia Nunny, MSc.
Laetitia Nunny is a researcher and advocate, specialising in wild animal welfare and with a particular interest in marine mammals. She completed the Masters in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law at the University of Edinburgh where her dissertation focused on the welfare of seals that were being shot under license.
In recent years, Laetitia Nunny has worked as a freelance consultant on animal welfare and conservation issues collaborating with various organisations including the Humane Society International and the Animal Welfare Institute. She has published papers on solitary-sociable dolphins, harbour porpoise conservation in Europe, predator control on land and at sea, and welfare issues related to seal killing. She has also worked as a consultant for the United Nations, writing documents on the issue of light pollution for CMS (the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals).
Since joining the OceanCare team, Laetitia Nunny has worked on a number of projects including acting as the editor and co-author for several chapters of the “Under Pressure” report, which highlights the many challenges facing cetaceans in Europe. She also contributed to and edited the “Quiet Waters for Whales and Dolphins” report regarding the Mediterranean Cetacean Migration Corridor.
Laetitia Nunny also helped in the preparation and delivery of two international workshops in 2021; one on climate change held under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission, and the second focused on ‘out of habitat’ marine mammals.
Laetitia Nunny is passionate about defending marine wildlife and believes that these animals are often overlooked and their welfare badly impacted by the ever-increasing activities of people at sea. She is delighted to be part of the OceanCare team and hopes through her work with OceanCare to shine a bright light on these issues and ensure that they are addressed.
In her spare time, Laetitia Nunny enjoys spending time with her family and friends, exploring the coast and countryside of Catalonia where she lives and using her camera traps to photograph the local wildlife.
Ever since Chérine saw her first fin whale at the age of five, she has been intrigued by the ocean and it’s megafauna – a passion that made her become an environmental scientist which led to a Masters Degree at the ETH University in Zurich. Her main research interest is the social complexity of megafauna, in particular the vocal communication of killer whales. In her own research project, she investigates the role of vocal cues in mediating coordination, when killer whales hunt herring. While acquiring solid data as such are important as a basis for effective conservation, she appreciates to now also engage at the science and policy interface as a scientific consultant at OceanCare. As scientific consultant she contributes to the fisheries work programme with focus on the protection of sharks and the animal and species conservation programmes.