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Citizen science: a successful tool for monitoring invasive alien species (IAS) in Marine Protected Areas. The case study of the Egadi Islands MPA (Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy)

  • Autori: Anna Maria Mannino; Paolo Balistreri
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2018
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


The chief purpose of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is biodiversity conservation. The effects that invasive alien species (IAS) have on MPAs, and vice versa, are not yet fully known, even though assessing them is crucial for MPA planning. Management plans require sound knowledge of the pathways of introduction, the impact and current distribution of IAS. Monitoring plans are essential for preventing and reducing the risk of IAS introduction. In this respect, the involvement of citizen scientists in gathering data (validated by taxonomic experts) on the occurrence of IAS, that would otherwise be impossible to collect, may be crucial. We report on our experience of citizen science in the Egadi Islands MPA with the project ‘Caulerpa cylindracea – Egadi Islands’, aimed at monitoring the spread dynamics of the ‘sea grape’ C. cylindracea. The project registered 156 sightings and also allowed collection of records and information concerning other non-indigenous and cryptogenic species, e.g. the spotted sea hare (Aplysia dactylomela), the harpoon weed (Asparagopsis armata), the red sea plume (Asparagopsis taxiformis), the tube-building sabellid (Branchiomma bairdi), the blue spotted cornet fsh (Fistularia commersoni) and the nomad jellyfsh (Rhopilema nomadica).