Volunteer for Dolphins – best reason to help & volunteer for threatened dolphin population

Vivamar volunteer observation

You’re a perfect volunteer for us if you:

– admire the sea,

– love animals, especially dolphins and marine life and want to learn more

– are looking for a new knowledge, experiences in marine biology, mixed with a hint of adventure to add to your CV.

As a volunteer  with the Dolphins and Vivamar,

you’ll help with conservation and research of the last resident dolphins in the Northern Adriatic Sea. By working closely with marine biologists volunteers get hands-on experience in dolphin research. Volunteers are also directly involved in dolphin data collection, dolphin identification, dolphin social bonds, analysis of dolphin data  and community outreach volunteer activities.

The important data are collected also with volunteer help

The important scientific data allows people and all stakeholders to learn more about the dolphin sub-population. This means that  researchers can do more to protect these animals even with volunteer help in supervised data collection. Without the crucial baseline information, it is impossible to lobby for implementing the needed changes to protect these last marine mammals and to mitigate the potential human pressure on dolphins.

Research of Bottlenose Dolphins since 2001

Vivamar has researched the common bottlenose dolphin population in Slovenia and along the west coast of Istria in Croatia since 2001. Due to a 50% decline in the dolphin population over the last 5 decades and losing two dolphin species from the area in the same time window, Vivamar focuses on how we can keep our bottlenose dolphins from disappearing from the area as well. We mean it when we say that YOU, even being a volunteer, can make such a big difference by volunteering!

This can be a life changing and most beautiful experience in someone’s life. Our mornings will be spent learning about data collection and dolphin identification and volunteer afternoons have us out mostly in the field – in the sea!

Check out our dolphin volunteer video to see exactly what we get up to in the summer months:

So, what are the advantages of joining Vivamar compared to all other similar projects out there?

Vivamar offers to its volunteers a variety of perks ranging from special financing to various excursions that help you connect better with our dolphins and the area.

  • Pay in two rates. Vivamar offers to volunteers the possibility of paying in 2 parts, with the 2nd rate payable four weeks before your arrival.
  • Swim in the clear blue Adriatic Sea in your free time! Just two minutes walk from the research base volunteers can enjoy snorkeling and observing the incredible marine underwater world! Therefore volunteers will not be strictly occupied all the days with (fun) work for dolphins. You’ll also have some time to relax or explore.
  • Visit National Park’s Kamenjak or Brioni (copayment). Vivamar team can take you to one of these natural beauties if you’re up for it.
  • Visit a Tuscany like city (alternative to the previous point). Within the program, volunteers have a chance to visit Motovun, a town very much resembling Tuscany.
  • If landing in Venice… Venice might be many times arrival or departure Airport for our volunteers. In addition to cheap connections to the other continents, volunteers have this way the opportunity to visit this inspiring water city… One of the most beautiful towns in Europe.

Research area position in the NE Adriatic Sea, west Istria, Croatia

Volunteers don’t need specific skills to go to sea with us, but in general you should have bundles of enthusiasm and be a swimmer.

Vivamar ‘Volunteer for Dolphin Conservation’ dates in 2024 are:

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  • 1st TEAM      25th APR – 5th MAY 
  • 2nd  TEAM   9th MAY – 19th MAY
  • 3rd TEAM     23rd MAY – 2nd JUN
  • 4th TEAM     6th JUN – 16th JUN
  • 5th TEAM     27th JUN – 7th JUL  
  • 6th TEAM     11th JUL – 21st JUL  
  • 7th TEAM     1st AUG – 11th AUG      
  • 8th TEAM     15th AUG – 25th AUG
  • 9th TEAM     5th SEP – 15th SEP
  • 10th TEAM    26th SEP – 6th OCT                



Rovinj, a romantic town with venetian style within the research area (photo credit: Tourist board of Rovinj)

COST*: interested volunteers are welcome to ask for further info about the pricing.

The volunteer packages are only possible as an 11 day unit in the team dates indicated. All mentioned points above and all needed equipment for the research is included in the volunteer fee. Click here for a currency converter.

*Insurance for the stay, transport to and from the research base are not included for the volunteers.

For more information about the research site, payment options (it is possible to pay also with PayPal) please email all questions and concerns to info@vivamar.org. We will send to interested volunteers more detailed information about the research project, your stay, the program and the booking form.

Volunteering for Vivamar represents a fantastic opportunity for you to:

  • gain first hand insight into a day in the life of a bottlenose dolphin  and all the threats that they face.
  • learn about Biology, Ecology and Conservation of Marine Mammals. Volunteers can also gain deeper insight into their physiology, ethology… You will have a scientific supervision while working with data.
  • meet and work with a competent and engaging team of like-minded people. Volunteers most likely also learn about other cultures and languages!
  • raise awareness about the importance of the dolphins’ role in the Slovenian and the rest of the Adriatic Sea.
  • enjoy the Mediterranean sun and crystal blue water. A BLAST for any (marine) volunteer!
  • Besides the dolphins – the most what our  marine volunteer enthusiastic souls like – is – no matter the age 😉 – snorkeling from the research boat directly into the blue, off the dreamy islands in the research area.

How each single volunteer helps?

With Vivamar professional support, volunteers will help fill in our dolphin data into the database.  You will learn how to use photo identification methods to distinguish one dolphin from the other. We also love when volunteers are proficient with social media. This way they can take advantage of social media platforms and advocate our dolphin activities. In some teams volunteers will be helping to prepare, depending on the dates, and attend local awareness events that Vivamar organizes. Such events are great opportunities for volunteers to engage with the local public and raise awareness about bottlenose dolphins in the area and their importance for the entire marine ecosystem.

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A bottlenose dolphin family passing our research – volunteer boat.

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Happy faces – enthusiastic playful marine volunteers after a great dolphin encounter.   

A playful young bottlenose dolphin performing a spy-hopping right into the stunning faces of our volunteers… 

Prepare for your life to change…

Our Marine Volunteers see the world differently after they have helped in our team. As a volunteer, you will learn more about the dolphins’ status and the problems that they face. You will be able to understand how similar dynamics affect other beautiful, fragile, biodiverse places in the world. Volunteers see similarities and differences, and come to understand them. We hope that you can take knowledge away from here, find a place you think is special that needs help, and start inspiring the people around you! Preserve and protect that place, including all the plants and animals within it.

Vivamar alumni marine students discussing about the dolphin topic and giving lectures to our volunteers.

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Little islands within the research area (photo credit: Istraexperience)

 …for the better of the dolphins, local communitiy and each volunteer

As a dolphin volunteer, you will experience what every one of our team members has–  inner growth. After spending time with the dolphins and Vivamar, you will be more enthusiastic and passionate  – either about your everyday life, your studies, or any other project you are considering. Throw yourself in the deep end, push yourself, grow, learn, and gain confidence – all through your time helping us.

You’ll also stand out.  Talk about your dolphin volunteering experience on Facebook, post out-of-this-world sunsets and dolphin photos from the stunning Adriatic to your Instagram and your friends will be so inspired by you!

in Rovinj

A visit to the second most beautiful town on the Adriatic is a “must” 🙂


...we are having an amazing time snorkeling at the nearby island. Each single volunteer LOVES it!


Sometimes we play “serious” card games.

Want more information? Volunteers are welcome to ask and write us to info@vivamar.org.

AND: welcome aboard!

A hint – to be updated with our (funniest) endeavours at sea or on land with Volunteers or just with the Dolphins visit our Vivamar FB page