The RSDP was established by a team of scientists with an interest in the ecological and social dimensions of marine conservation. The team has been and is currently involved in a variety of projects related to marine mammal research and conservation in the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.

Dr. Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara

Giuseppe is the scientific supervisor of the Red Sea Dolphin Project. Ecologist and conservationist, he is devoting his career in advancing the knowledge and protection of marine mammal and elasmobranch species. He has served as a marine policy advisor to numerous national and international bodies, and participated in multilateral meetings and negotiations in representation of Italy. He has taken relevant roles in a range of private and governmental organisations: first and foremost, the Tethys Research Institute he co-founded in 1986, but also International Whaling Commission, ACCOBAMS, IUCN/Cetacean Specialist Group and, more recently, the IUCN Joint SSC/WCPA Marine Mammal Protected Area Task Force (MMPATF). He teaches a course on marine conservation at the Università degli Studi di Milano (Milan, Italy) and regularly speaks to the larger crowd through his books, blog  and a column on the Italian newspaper “Il Fatto Quotidiano”. His Egyptian adventures began in 2003 when he was consulted to design the Samadai spinner dolphin Sanctuary in Marsa Alam, and continued in 2005 with the design and supervision of the “Dolphin Habitat Conservation and Sustainable Use – Pilot Experience in the Egyptian Coastal Red Sea” project and then, in 2010-2012, the “Sustainable Development in the Southern Egyptian Red Sea” project.

Dr. Marina Costa

Marina holds two MSc degrees in Biology and Environmental Policy and Economy (both achieved at the Università Statale di Milano. Milan, Italy) and a PhD in Marine Biology (St Andrews University. Scotland, UK). She boasts a broad and long background in marine biology, working on marine benthic communities at the Aquarium of Milan and, since 2002, on cetacean in several regions, including Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, North Sea and Red Sea. Since 2002 Marina has been collaborating with the Tethys Research Institute of which she is a proud member. With the Tethys Research Institute Marina worked as principal field investigator at the Ionian Dolphin Project (Greece), the Stretto di Messina Project (Italy), the Venice Dolphin project and the Interreg III Project. She joined Giuseppe’s projects in Egypt in 2006 as the project manager and principal investigator in the Samadai project, and in 2010-2012 as Senior Marine Biologist and Consultant for the “Sustainable Development in the Southern Egyptian Red Sea” project and at the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation (HEPCA). Marina professional interests are focused on cetacean abundance and habitat modelling with the aim of developing awareness, education and capacity building in the area where the project is focused.


Amina Cesario

Amina holds a degree in Biological Science from The University of Milan. In 2006, she worked as field assistant within the Dolphin Habitat Conservation and Sustainable Use Project in the Egyptian Red Sea, focusing her research on spinner dolphin feeding habits and habitat use. In 2008, she got a grant from Regione Lombardia within the program “Dote Ricercatori” to join the Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit in Western Australia as a research assistant. In 2009, she also collaborated with the Civic Aquarium of Milan. Amina holds a FIAS-CMAS diving license and can speak Italian and English. Amina is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Hong Kong.


Maddalena Fumagalli

Maddalena graduated at the University of Milan with a MSc thesis on the socio-ecology of spinner dolphins in Samadai Reef. Currently a PhD Candidate at the University of Otago (New Zealand), she is investigating the ecological and social aspects of the spinner dolphin tourism industry in Egypt, with the overall aim to inform more sustainable practices. Since 2008, she has been working as an educator, science communicator and tourist guides in various contexts, and for various national and international associations. She has been the recipient of two Rufford Small Grants for projects of research and education in Egypt. She is a member of the Tethys Research Institute, collaborates with HEPCA,  and serves the NGO Boomerang for Earth Conservation in the role of secretary.


Special thanks to our RSDP expedition assistants and collaborators (in order of appearance):

Anna Markula
Maha Khalil
Ali Fahmi
Victoria Warwick-Evans
Ian Paynter
Catherine Fillo
Nevin El Nadi
Johannes Friedrich
Tilen Genov
Tina Centrih
Angela Ziltener
Yana Balling
Tiffany Weller
Daniel Walsh
Hilco Jansma
Zoe A. Sanchez
Anikó Szegedi
Rachel Lambert
Dominique Weilermann
Cécile Houllé
Mohie El Din Sherif
Zoe Stevenson
Islam El Sadek
Mahmoud Saber
Mohamed Esmail
Mohamed Shehata
Jackie Maud
Gemma Veneruso
Sabena Siddiqui
Stephanie Czudaj
Ahmed El Banna


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