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Key Speakers


Heidi 
Lyn, PhD

Doctor

Heidi Lyn is an Associate Professor and Joan M. Sinnott chair of Psychology at The University of South Alabama where she studies nonhuman animal cognition and communication. She is internationally known, having held positions at UCLA, the New York Aquarium and St. Andrews University. Her research on a variety of species, including dolphins, dogs, monkeys, and otters, has been published in such journals as Psychological Science, Animal Cognition, and Developmental Science and featured in books as well as Scientific American and Science magazines. She will be speaking on Bottlenose dolphins: behavior, enrichment, cognition and communication - the value in studying the whole animal.

“Bottlenose dolphins: behavior, enrichment, cognition and communication - the value in studying the whole animal”

Heidi Lynn

Elisabetta 
Palagi, PhD

Associate Professor - Ethology Unit 
Department of Biology - University of Pisa

Elisabetta Palagi is Associate Professor at the University of Pisa. She has been studying social mammals including humans since 1992. Her studies have been carried out under both controlled and wild conditions. She holds a master's degree in biology, a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology, and a solid publication record on a wide array of topics bridging sociobiology, comparative psychology, and anthropological sciences. Among others, she has demonstrated individual recognition in lemurs and their use of multimodal signaling. She has also extensively investigated the functions and evolutionary significance of play, conflict management and resolution in social groups, and the behavioral patterns underlying emotional contagion and empathic abilities in human and nonhuman animals. Outside the primate order, she is focusing on dogs, wolves, spotted hyenas, meerkats, horses, seals and dolphins.

“In water or on land, play is a serious matter!”

Elisabetta Palagi

Renaud 
de Stephanis

Doctor

Renaud de Stephanis is a prominent researcher in the field of cetacean conservation and study, with a particular focus on the Strait of Gibraltar. His work has been pivotal in understanding the dynamics of various cetacean species in this critical area, including orcas, fin whales, sperm whales, and pilot whales.

Academic Achievements and Scientific Contributions

With over 100 published papers and authorship of 10 books, de Stephanis has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to research and scientific dissemination. He has led studies on cetacean behaviour, migratory patterns, and spatial distribution, uncovering critical aspects of their interactions with human activities such as maritime traffic and whale-watching tourism.

Impact on Conservation Policies and Protected Areas

De Stephanis has been a key driving force in developing strategies to mitigate human impacts on cetaceans. His research has significantly influenced policy formulation and has been instrumental in creating marine protected areas in Spain, particularly in Andalusia. His work has led to the declaration of 3 Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) in the region, showcasing his ability to balance cetacean protection with sustainable marine environment use.

Notable Initiatives and Leadership in Projects

Renaud has been the initiator of the Iberian orca conservation plan, a pioneering project in the region. Additionally, he is involved in over 50 research projects, underscoring his role as a leader and collaborator in the scientific community.

“Conservation, information and studies on cetaceans”

Renaud Stephanis