The scientific staff
Escursioni nel Santuario dei Cetacei in Liguria | Whalewatching nel Mediterraneo | Birdwatching nel Golfo Ligure

Escursioni nel Santuario dei Cetacei in Liguria | Whalewatching nel Mediterraneo | Birdwatching nel Golfo Ligure The scientific staff

The scientific staff


Graduated with honors in Biology in 2010 in the Degree Course in Biological Monitoring Sciences and Technologies at the University of Genoa. After completing the postgraduate internship at the same University, she obtained a professional assignment at the S. S. Environmental Carcinogens (IRCCS University Hospital San Martino - IST), where she has been responsible for monitoring the site of national interest Cogoleto-Stoppani through the use of batteries of biomarkers of genotoxicity.

She currently works as a freelance professional in the field of scientific and environmental dissemination; she is an expert in marine Ecology and Ecotoxicology and is a member of the Order of Biologists.

She has been working with passion as a scientific contact person for the Consortium Liguria Via Mare since 2013, dealing with the sighting of animals, scientific and biological explanations of the species that populate our sea and the welcome on board of the participants in the excursions. Over the years we have had the pleasure to host on board also some television stations that have taken an interest in our work and have realized beautiful services on Whale Watching in Liguria interviewing the Dr. Somà.

Since 2013 she has also worked for the Dafne Cooperative, where she is a Guide at the Aquarium of Genoa, entertaining an audience of all ages on issues of scientific and environmental dissemination.

She also participated in the "Project Biologists in Schools", aimed at elementary schools, an environmental and nutritional education project dedicated to children and their parents through lectures and educational workshops.

Scientific publications:

Agrone C., Aluigi M. G., Mariottini G. L., Giacco E., Somà A., Pane L., (2011) “Esposition of marine copepods to organophosphorous xenobiotics: application of acetylcholinesterase biomarkers in the laboratory”, In: Xenobiotics: New Research, Nova Science Publishers Inc., Hauppage NY. 

Pane L., Agrone C., Giacco E., Somà A., Mariottini G. L. (2012) “Utilization of marine crustaceans as study models: a new approach in marine ecotoxicology for European (REACH) Regulation”. In: Ecotoxicology (Ghousia Begum, Ed.) ISBN 978-953-51-0027-0, InTech, Open access Publisher,, February 2012, 5, 91-106.   

Smit R., Tepsich P., Somà A., Calamita G., Siri S., Dalle Mura I., Verga A., Scavone E., Rosso M., Moulins A. “Describing the whale watch activity in the northern part of the Pelagos Sanctuary as an insight for mitigation through an EBN approach”. Poster at 31st Conference of the European Cetacean Society – Middelfart, Denmark – 1st – 3rd May 2017.

Zorgno M., Cino N., Somà A., Calamita G., Sofio G., Luppa M., Bozzo G., Dalle Mura I., Verga A., Chiaschetti F., Scavone E., Rosso M., Moulins A., Tepsich P. “Whale watching industry in the Pelagos Sanctuary: Enhancing satisfaction and sustainable management”. Poster at 31st Conference of the European Cetacean Society – Middelfart, Denmark – 1st – 3rd May 2017.

Author, together with Gabriella Motta, of the "Guida pratica al Whale Watching (Practical Guide to Whale Watching)", Noctua Book Edizioni, 2021 (purchasable on board during our Whale Watching excursions)


Graduated in Biological Sciences in 1993 at the University of Genoa, she is qualified to the profession of biologist and naturalistic guide. Her experiences in the natural field are countless and range between sea, earth and sky.

At the LIPU - Lega Italiana Protezione Uccelli, since 1994, she has been involved in environmental education, aimed at elementary, secondary, high school and the Universities of the Elderly, but also organizes refresher courses in the naturalist field for teachers, of which she is also a lecturer. Her guided tours in the Beigua Park, at the Portofino Mountain, at the Cinque Terre and at the Praglia Plans have always attracted LIPU members from all the Ligurian provinces. Dr. Motta is also the organizer and teacher of birdwatching courses at the Natural History Museum "Giacomo Doria" in Genoa. In addition to drafting the regional informant "Ali news notizie", she deals with the census of birds, in the territory of Savona and Genoa.

She has been collaborating since 1996 with the Dafne Cooperative as a nature guide at the Aquarium of Genoa, Parco Urbano delle Mura, Parchi di Nervi, Parco Naturale Regionale del Beigua - Unesco Global Geopark, Antola Regional Natural Park, Portofino Regional Natural Park and Cinque Terre Regional Natural Park and as a guide to the Galata Sea Museum. Among the other activities she deals with, we point out the snorkeling guide for schools in the Regional Natural Park of Portofino and Beigua.

She manages the Ornithological Center "Case Vaccà" of the Regional Natural Park of Beigua - Unesco Global Geopark and has been a member of the board of directors of EBN - European Bird Net - Italy since 2011.

Since 2012 she has been collaborating with the Consortium Liguria Via Mare as a guide and naturalistic photographer during whale watching and bird watching excursions: her images, very appreciated on social channels, have also been exhibited in photographic exhibitions. Personally she curated the exhibition "Avifauna del Parco di Portofino" organized at the Abbey of San Fruttuoso.

Gabriella Motta is also a lecturer at the affiliated facilities of Natourbiowatching and at the training and refresher courses of the Guides Parco Portofino, organized by Labter.

Scientific publications:

Bonifacino M., Critelli E., Motta G., Sanetti S. "Guide to the Birds of the Portofino Park", Il Parco di Portofino Edizioni, Genoa, 2011.

Author, together with Alessandra Somà, of the "Guida pratica al Whale Watching (Practical Guide to Whale Watching)", Noctua Book Edizioni, 2021 (purchasable on board during our Whale Watching excursions)


Graduated with honors in 2019 in Experimental and Applied Biology at the University of Pavia with a master’s thesis in Marine Ecology, in collaboration with ENEA of La Spezia and the University of Portsmouth, having as main focus the study of the effects of climate change (pH alteration and temperature increase) on the community associated with the coralline alga Ellilandia elongata. She continues to collaborate with the same laboratory initially with a grant in the project "A brick against alien species" then as a collaborator, monitoring the bioinvasions in the ports of the Gulf of La Spezia.

From 2019 she began to collaborate with various Environmental Education and Dissemination bodies in Liguria and Lombardy, such as Verdeacqua and Proteus, carrying out environmental education projects and excursions in the area mainly intended for students of all levels.

She collaborates with WWF Travel as a marine biologist in the management of Marine Biology camps for middle and high school students. Since 2021 she has been collaborating as a Whale Watching Guide for the WWF in the Le Vele del Panda project, carrying out weeks of Citizen Science on board the flotilla boats collecting data on cetacetes. In the same year she begins to collaborate as a biologist on board with the Liguria via Mare Consortium (GE) where she manages to combine her great love for cetaceans with her strong passion for dissemination during Whale Watching excursions, accompanying tourists in meeting these splendid animals in the sea.

Scientific publications:

Marchini A., Ragazzola F., Vasapollo C., Castelli A., Cerrati G., Gazzola F., et al., Intertidal Mediterranean coralline algae habitat is expecting a shift toward a reduced growth and a simplified associated fauna under climate change, Frontiers in Marine Science, 2019.

Gazzola F., Marchini A., Nannini M., Princisgh E., Cerrati G., Romanelli E., et al., Effects of climate change on Ellisolandia elongata and its artificial ’mimic’, Biologia Marina Mediterranea, 2019.

Gazzola F., Bottomley T., Florio M., Manauzzi M.C., Marchini A., et al., Vagile benthic macrofauna associated with a Mediterranean bioconstructor, the coralline alga Ellislandia elongata, Biologia Marina Mediterranea, 2017.