Smarter tourism

more acessible

more sustainable

more fun!

Naturalist research focuses on improving your experience, making tourism more accessible and sustainable.
From understanding species and environmental phenomena to developing new products and concepts that will result in a closer contact with the natural environment.
Naturalist is a University start-up 
(MARE- Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, University of Lisbon)


Monitoring and Research based on Citizen Science

A concept that is put forward by Naturalist Science & Tourism is to collect useful data during tourism activities for environmental monitoring and research.
Discover below some of the projects currently benefiting.

Research Efforts of the Naturalist, Science and Tourism are now developed by the WWW.ATLANTICNATURALIST.ORG

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Azores Hammerhead Shark nurserys

Sphyrna zigaena

Jacques Cousteau was the first to record large aggregations of the species in the Azores

Summary: The ecology and distribution of most sharks remains largely unknown. Aggregations of hammerhead sharks, and the presence of juveniles at surface waters during the months of May to August is long known in the Azores, however this has not been studied in detail. Protection of apex predators is of major importance for a healthy ecosystem. Note: These are not dangerous animals and normally will avoid human contact.


Objectives: Understand the ecology and nursery behavior of hammerhead sharks in the Azores


Methods & Data: Opportunistic Pelagic Life Surveys, Measuring and Tagging




Partners: MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre; University of the Azores.


More information available soon

Habitat and Ecology of the Azores Noctule

Nyctalus azoreaum

The only diurnal bat in the world!

Summary: First long term study to characterize habitat and seasonal patterns of activity of the only species of mammal endemic of the Azores. The Azorean noctucle is the only diurnal bat species in the world. Originated from lesser noctules (Nyctalus leisleri) which colonized the Azores. Smaller, lighter and with a darker fur it also echolocates at higher frequencies and much of its ecology remains unknown.


Objectives: Understand the habitat and activity patterns of the Azores noctule


Methods & Data: Point counts of 10 minutes, including total number of passages and largest number of animals at sight.


Publications: N/A



Pelagic Marine Litter

Floating marine debries

A threat to all life in the oceans

Summary: Marine litter presents now a global threat at different scales in the Ocean. A large diversity of marine life is being affected and all information available is currently relevant.


Objectives: Study the diversity, density and dispersion of floating marine debries.


Methods & Data: Transects with visual counts during boat tours (whale watching, birdwatching, coastal tours).



Partners: MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre; University of the Azores. University of Lisbon

Photo-ID of False Orcas

Pseudorca crassidens

Enigmatic top predators

Summary: The Naturalist Azores team is coordinating a study on the ecology and habitat use of the false killer whales Pseudorca crassidens. The species is an understudied top predator with influence on the behaviour and presence of other cetaceans.


Objectives: Study the habitat use and general ecology of Pseudorca crassidens.


Methods & Data: Transects, photo-Identification, ecological data collection.



Partners: MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre; University of the Azores. University of Lisbon


Naturalist publications range from educative and informative contents on natural history, to applied research.


Published material is procuded by our research team, including data collected during our Field Trips and often in collaboration with other tours operators.



Darwin in the Azores. Personal Diary with commentaries

Language: Portuguese and English


Authors: José Nuno Pereira & Verónica Neves, with commentaries of João Carlos Nunes, Susana Serpa Silva & Paulo Barcelos

Year: 2009


Sinopsis: Characterization of the voyage of Charles Darwin to the Açores onboard Beagle. 

Science & Tourism Interactions

Daily species check‐list from whale-watching. Studying the research potential with an Azorean case study. Pereira, J.N.G. 2008. Journal of Marine Biological Association 88: 1283‐1288.  DOI: 10.1017/S0025315408001070.


This work outlines the potential of the WW daily records for monitoring purposes, with particular relevance for rare and less frequently sighted species. The work was done using the dataset of a Whale Watching company (Espaco Talassa).

Rare occurrences and New species records

The little-known Fraser’s dolpin Lagenodelphis hosei in the North Atlantic: new records and a review of distribution. Gomes-Pereira, J. N., Marques, R., Cruz, M. J., & Martins, A. (2013). Marine Biodiversity, 1-12. online.


The first records of L. hosei are given for the Azores and Madeira islands, with Information collected from whale-watching platforms. The North Atlantic distribution of the species is revised.

Photographers: Maria Joana Cruz and João Quaresma

Ecology, Physiology and Systematics


AR Lopes, M Baptista, IC Rosa, G Dionísio, J. Gomes-Pereira, J. Paula, C. Figueiredo, N. Bandarra, R Calado, R Rosa 2016. “Gone with the wind”: Fatty acid biomarkers and chemotaxonomy of stranded pleustonic hydrozoans (Velella velella and Physalia physalis). Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 66: 297-306. 





Gomes-Pereira, J.N., J.M. Gonçalves & M.R. Clarke 2016. Cephalopod identification keys to Histioteuthidae, Cranchiidae and Octopodiformes of the Azores, with an updated check-list. Arquipelago. Life and Marine Sciences 33: 1-12.





(+351) 968 327 633 - (+351) 916 746 917



Full Licences for Research,   Nature Parks & Whale Watching

RNAT18/2016 & RRAAT16/2016

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