Teaching and training

During the past decade I have been teaching a course on Science and policy of the conservation of marine biodiversity at the University “Statale” of Milan.

In the past, I have engaged in the following teaching and training activities:

From 1985 to 1990 I held the position of contract professor at the University of Parma, teaching courses in “Natural history of large marine vertebrates”, “Behavioural ecology of cetaceans”, and “Ethology of large marine vertebrates”. These courses complemented my field work in marine mammal ecology in the Mediterranean under the sponsorship of the Tethys Research Institute. The courses also provided an opportunity to develop novel curricula to train a new generation of students to promote the concept of, and practical means of achieving, conservation of endangered marine species.

I also served as thesis advisor to Ph.D. candidates at the University of Siena (S. Panigada, 2002) and Basel (G. Bearzi, 2003), and to Italian “laurea” candidates at the Universities of Milan (L. Bonomi, 1991; E. Politi, 1991; G. Benazzo, 1993; N. Biassoni, 1996; S. Panigada, 1996; A. Cesario, 2008; M. Fumagalli, 2008), Padua (B. Cavalloni, 1988; G. Bearzi, 1989), and Venice (P. Maggiorin, 1995). I also have served as external examiner of the Ph.D. theses of Dr. Isabel Beasley, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia (2005), and of Dr. Lydie Couturier, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia (2013).

As a lecturer I participated twice (1995 and 1996) in “Stages de formation en cétologie méditerranéenne”, organised in Sète (France) by the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Montpellier. In 1996 I was also invited as a lecturer to contribute to the course “Marine mammals: biology and conservation” organised at the Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo, Valencia, Spain. In March 2004 and April 2007 I participated in the teaching of a Master course in scientific communication for nature-oriented operators, offered by the University of Milan – Bicocca (Faculty of sciences and Faculty of sociology), with a series of lectures on international initiatives on the conservation of the marine environment and its resources. In May 2004 I lectured on Mediterranean cetacean conservation issues at the Department of biology of the University of Messina. In April 2005 I further lectured on international legal initiatives for the conservation of the marine environment at the “Scuola di specializzazione in allevamento, igiene e patologia delle specie acquatiche”, organised in Milano by the “Fondazione Iniziative Zooprofilattiche e Zootecniche”. In November and December I lectured on conservation of aquatic biocenoses at the University of Milan Bicocca.

In April 2005 I was also invited to participate to the “Curtis and Edith Munson Distinguished Lecture Series” at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies of the Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A.), with a lecture on “Marine mammal conservation and sea use in the Mediterranean: the dawn of a sea ethic”.

In October 2010 I was invited to lecture on Mediterranean marine biodiversity conservation in a course on ocean law and policy held at the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego.

In 1978 I was the organiser and teacher in a course for marine life observers on hydrofoil operations in Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela, on behalf of the Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute of San Diego, California. In 1988 I organised, on behalf of the Italian magazine “Aqua”, a marine biology course for divers in the Maldive Islands, soon to be followed by similar courses in Baja California, Mexico (1990), and Sudan (1991). In 1988 I organised in Bari, Italy, a training course for veterinary doctors on intervention techniques on stranded cetaceans, under contract from the Puglia regional government. In 1996 and 1997 I coordinated a training course on cetacean field research techniques under contract from UNEP MAP’s Regional Activity Centre, Specially Protected Areas, Tunis. In 2001 I coordinated a training workshop on cetacean research techniques in Constantsa, Romania, on behalf of ACCOBAMS. In January 2004, on behalf of the Egyptian Government, I held a training course for rangers from the Egyptian National Park Service in Hurghada and Marsa Alam, Egypt, on procedures for a monitoring programme of the interactions between spinner dolphins and tourists in Red Sea coastal reefs.

In recent years I have been developing a growing interest in matters concerning the relationship between humans and the environment, with an emphasis of the importance of the environment for human rights, and connected ethical aspects. Within such framework, I have supported the organisation of, and taught in, a Training Seminar on Human Rights and the Environment offered by the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) in Venice, from 21 to 23 November 2013.

Finally, my interest in teaching transcends the limits of marine science and conservation, but still remains salty. Since 1968 I have taught sailing and navigation at the Centro Velico di Caprera (CVC), in Sardinia, specialising in training for the beginners. During the initial years of CVC I have given a substantive contribution to the development of novel teaching methods and ideas of one of the most successful and best known sailing schools of the whole Mediterranean Sea.