Joan Gonzalvo, born in Barcelona, is a Catalan biologist whose main research interest is the conservation of the marine environment and, more specifically, the study and conservation of marine mammals. He holds a Ph.D. in Biodiversity from the University of Barcelona.
In 1999 he started his collaboration with the Tethys Research Institute. Since 2007, he is member of Tethys’ Board of Directors. Between 2000 and 2005, Joan was a member of the Group for the Study and Conservation of Marine Mammals at the University of Barcelona. He has participated in a number of diverse projects involving work on dolphin-fisheries interactions, dolphin population estimates and behavioural studies with the aim of producing sound information to promote conservation action. For over two decades he has spent 1,000+ hours observing dolphin groups in their natural environment in different Mediterranean locations and has designed and executed numerous public awareness campaigns. Since 2012, when he had his first encounter with a Mediterranean monk seal, one of the World’s most endangered marine mammal, Joan has increased significantly his commitment and dedication to the research and conservation of this fascinating species.
Joan is experienced in research methods including ship-based, land-based and aerial surveys on cetaceans, individual photo-identification, behavioural sampling, remote biopsy sampling, cetacean dissection techniques and tissue sampling on stranded animals. He is regularly engaged in training and teaching young scientist wanting to gain experience in cetacean research.
In addition, Joan has worked as consultant of the UNEP’s Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA) and for the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area (ACCOBAMS) on the preparation, among others, of National Action Plans for the Conservation of Cetaceans in Syria and Lebanon, respectively. Between 2015-2019 he acted as Council member of the European Cetacean Society; since 2020 he is Chair of the ECS Council. He is member of the Scientific Committee of ACCOBAMS and in January 2020 became also member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Cetacean Specialist Group (CSG).
Since 2006 his research is carried out mainly in western Greece, where he leads the Ionian Dolphin Project which is supported by OceanCare since the same year. He speaks Catalan, Spanish, English, Italian and Greek.