The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI) is a marine science center dedicated to research, education, and conservation of marine mammals and birds.

We, at the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI), proudly stand as an independent marine science center deeply dedicated to research, education, and conservation. Since our establishment in 2005, our core mission has been to delve into marine biodiversity and share valuable insights with scientists, students, decision-makers, and the wider public, emphasizing the pivotal role of scientific research in marine conservation efforts. Our dedicated research team is committed to nurturing future marine scientists while actively working to decipher and mitigate the impact of human activities on marine ecosystems.


Our accomplished scientists conduct comprehensive research across diverse domains, delving into critical areas such as the intricate relationships between marine predators (including cetaceans, sharks, otters, and marine birds) and their environments. We focus on understanding cetacean society and population dynamics, exploring the interaction of marine megafauna with human activities, and unraveling the nuanced behavior and acoustic communication of cetaceans.


Our institution's sterling reputation and success are deeply rooted in our ability to publish numerous scientific studies in esteemed journals, affirming BDRI's pivotal role as a leading center for pioneering scientific inquiry in the dynamic field of marine biology.


Whales research and conservation Dolphins research and conservation Bottlenose dolphin research Marine birds research


In 1999, the Italian non-profit research organization 'Accademia del Leviatano' initiated the 'Dolphin-project' in Sardinia, Italy, in collaboration with Dr. Bruno Díaz López. This initiative evolved over time, leading to the establishment of the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI) by Bruno in Sardinia in 2005. Over the years, the project expanded its scope, encompassing a broader geographical area and a more diverse array of research topics.


Marine mammals research Field research on marine biology Blue whale in Galicia


The incredible diversity of cetaceans present in our main study area (Galicia, NW Spain) allows the BDRI team to have several ongoing research projects focused on the study of the ecology and behaviour of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus), short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), Risso’s dolphins (Grampus griseus), striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas), killer whales (Orcinus orca), sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), beaked whales (3 different species), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis), fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), and blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus). Moreover, Galician waters are also home to hundreds of species of marine birds, sharks and to the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), which are also included in our studies. A variety of conservation issues affect the species in these waters, many of which are related to human activity, such as the interaction with fisheries (a significant cause of mortality), overfishing, aquaculture activities, oil spills, pollution, the effects of shipping noise, military activity, and tourism.



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Join the BDRI team

At BDRI, one of our primary objectives is to train the next generation of marine mammal scientists by offering a diverse array of programs tailored to students at all stages of their academic journey. Alongside our marine research initiatives, we provide comprehensive educational programs encompassing internship positions (long-term placements), volunteering opportunities (short-term placements), training courses, and university project placements available for bachelor's and master's students throughout the year.


Our educational initiatives are designed to equip students with the necessary skills for a professional career in marine mammal and bird research, as well as conservation of the marine environment. If you're passionate about scientific research, seeking hands-on experience in fieldwork, intensive training, and an opportunity to engage with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds while abroad, then our programs are tailored for you.


Internship in marine mammal science Volunteering with dolphins and whales Marine mammal research courses


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Discover where we work...


The BDRI conducts systematic surveys to monitor marine mammals and marine birds along the Galician coast, situated in Atlantic waters in NW Spain. This region presents a wealth of research opportunities concerning these animals and their environment. Surveys are conducted from both the coastline and aboard BDRI's research vessels, covering coastal areas and pelagic waters of Galicia.


Humpback whale in Galicia Bottlenose dolphins and aquaculture Blue whale in Galicia Studying whales in Spain


BDRI's standing and achievements are firmly established through its consistent publication of numerous scientific studies in esteemed journals. BDRI members are dedicated to furthering the comprehension and preservation of marine mammals and marine birds, fostering public awareness and concern for our marine ecosystems, and contributing to scientific knowledge by publishing articles derived from our field data.


The scientists at BDRI engage in collaborative work with diverse research institutions to advance understanding of the marine environment and emphasize the significance of conserving marine biodiversity. Simultaneously, they mentor upcoming generations of marine scientists and are devoted to comprehending and mitigating the impact of human activities on marine ecosystems.


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