Me in a nutshell


Born in 1948 in the Italian lagoon city of Venice, fascinated by nature since I started walking and swimming, I have been looking for all sorts of critters in the world that to me matters most, where water and land meet. Becoming a marine ecologist was therefore my recipe for happiness.

My major professional interests focus on marine science, conservation and policy. I have been concerned for over 40 years with the advancement of knowledge of the natural history, ecology, behaviour, taxonomy and conservation of aquatic vertebrates, with an emphasis on whales, dolphins, seals, sharks and manta rays, and described my research in almost 150 scientific papers and many reports and conference presentations.

During my lifetime as the world transited between two geological epochs, from Holocene to Anthropocene, the depressing deterioration of the marine environment has mutated science in my mind from an end into a means. This caused the age of curiosity to yield to commitment to conserve, and happiness to be tainted with concern.

Since 1985 I am engaged full time in supporting the conservation of Mediterranean marine ecosystems with a variety of

Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara aboard Santal, Patmos, 2011

Aboard Santal, Patmos, 2011

means, including the designation and management of marine protected areas. In particular, I have stimulated the creation of the first high-seas marine protected area, the Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals. I have been responsible for the leading and management of governmental and private, national and international science and conservation organisations, and served as a marine policy advisor to various national and international bodies, also participating in multilateral meetings and negotiations in representation of Italy. In many occasions I have engaged in training and teaching activities, and currently teach a course on marine biodiversity conservation science at the University of Milan. Through appearances on television and radio, and the publication of popular articles, blogs and books, I have been striving to increase public awareness on the conservation of the marine environment.

You can read a recent autobiographical perspective here.