“I write to share my passion for nature and what I have learned from it. My hope is to instill a deeper appreciation for wildlife and involve others in the protection of the only Planet we have.”



Maddalena Bearzi is a passionate scientist, active conservationist, photo-journalist, and published author of books and articles.

She is the first author of  Beautiful Minds: The Parallel Lives of Great Apes and Dolphins (also published in French: Ces Belles Intelligences: Grands Singes et Dauphins). She is also the author of Dolphin Confidential: Confessions of a Field Biologist (with her sketches; Winner of the 2013 Green Book Festival Award – Animal Section) and Stranded: Finding Nature in Uncertain Times (Heyday 2023). Her illustrated children’s book The Secret Life of a Sea Turtle for Roaring Books / MacMillan is forthcoming.

Maddalena has also authored several book chapters on marine-related topics, and over 400 articles in national and international publications on nature, ecology, and conservation. She has worked as a TV nature correspondent for the Italian network RAI and as an official blogger for National Geographic. She writes essays and op-eds on current environmental issues and wilderness for different media.

Her work and books have been covered, among others, by CNN, NPR, KPCC, PRI, CBS2/KCAL9, Al Jazeera America, Hallmark Channel/NBC, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, New Scientist, American Scientist, and National Geographic.

Maddalena has been actively studying the ecology of marine mammals with a strong conservation bias since 1990. She has been a lecturer and invited speaker for universities, NGOs, museums, aquaria, etc., with over 200 speaking engagements worldwide.

Maddalena holds a Ph.D. in Biology and a Post-Doctorate in Marine Ecology & Education from UCLA. She authored over 30 peer-reviewed scientific papers on marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds and many other ocean-related topics.

Since 1998, she is President and Co-founder of Ocean Conservation Society, a nonprofit conducting long-term marine mammal research and educational projects for the protection of the oceans. Her research on dolphins, whales, and other animals off California has been ongoing for over 25 years and represents one of the longest studies existing worldwide.

Maddalena was born and raised in Italy but she lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and dog. When she’s not writing, she can be found with dolphins out on the ocean, drawing or handcrafting jewelry in her studio, or walking her mutt. 



“Maddalena Bearzi has had a long career as an outstanding marine biologist and conservationist.  Now she has written a beautiful book about Nature’s place in the world, and in her world. “Stranded” is part memoir of her time with wild dolphins, part reflection on finding Nature in Los Angeles, and part natural histories well-told.  It is poetically written.  Bearzi has found her place as a nature essayist of the highest order.”

~ Craig Stanford, Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California and Specialist Group Chair, IUCN Species Survival Commission

“By the time I reached the final chapter of Beautiful Minds I was so charmed that I felt compelled to read on. This book has the capacity to delight, entertain, educate, evoke compassion and, I hope, galvanize people into action.”

~ Debbie Custance, The Times Higher Education Supplement

“This is a delightful chronicle of a young ocean lover’s journey to turn her passion into a career in science, and that scientist’s coming-of-age as she observes an ocean changing around her and the creatures she has come to love and defend. I found it both relaxing and energizing, all at the same time.”

~ Carl Safina, New York Times bestselling author

Also published in French –
Beautiful Minds: The Parallel Lives of Great Apes and Dolphins

“Follow the exciting and sometimes perilous life of a sea turtle in this robust nonfiction tale by sea turtle expert Maddalena Bearzi and illustrated by Alex Boersma”

~ Google Books

To be notified when this new children’s book by Maddalena for Roaring Brook Press / MacMillan is released, please send an email with “notify me” in the subject line:




Follow Maddalena’s writing by subscribing to her blog on


Explore fascinating books written by other authors that Maddalena recommends


Watch and listen to Maddalena talking about dolphins, whales, wildlife, conservation, and more


Read some of her articles and what others have written about her work 


Explore her scientific publications on dolphins, whales and marine life


See how Maddalena combines nature and art in her sustainable jewelry



For interviews, upcoming events, or general questions

Maddalena (center) interviewed by Patt Morrison (right) from NPR at the LA Natural History Museum



Maddalena’s Facebook


Maddalena’s Instagram

“Science provides the essential information about what’s necessary to affect the environmental disarray we are in; the creative arts can elicit the emotions and stimulate the passion needed to change people’s attitudes toward nature.”
~ Maddalena Bearzi