CITIZEN SCIENCE: A SUCCESSFUL TOOL FOR MONITORING MARINE BIODIVERSITY
- Autori: Mannino, A.; Balistreri, P.
- Anno di pubblicazione: 2019
- Tipologia: Abstract in atti di convegno pubblicato in rivista
- OA Link: http://hdl.handle.net/10447/392189
The Mediterranean Sea, considered as a true hotspot of biodiversity, is currently experiencing a decline in the number of species and a deterioration of habitats, as a consequence of different anthropogenic pressures, which are predicted to increase in the future. Among these pressures, the increase of human population, habitat modification and loss, pollution, coastal urbanization, overexploitation, the intentional or indirect introduction of Non-Indigenous Species (NIS, i.e. organisms introduced outside of their natural range) and climate changes (i.e. acidification and warming) have been pointed out as the major threats to biodiversity. Therefore, biodiversity monitoring and surveillance plans are strongly required in order to improve information on the distribution and change of biodiversity and/or to find and track NIS and detect early outbreaks of invasive species. In this respect, the creation of early-warning systems could be crucial. Since intensive monitoring programs are very expensive, Citizen Science, actively involving volunteers (e.g. citizen, students, fishermen, divers), could be a useful tool for gathering data, that would otherwise be impossible to collect because of limitations on time and resources. Citizen Science has grown rapidly in recent years, also thanks to mobile technologies, websites and social networks that enable an easy and cheap way to communicate, share and interchange data. Of course, in order to be used for scientific purposes and management decisions, the collected data need appropriate quality assurance measures such as validation and verification by taxonomic experts. We report on the experience of four Citizen Science activities: the Project “Caulerpa cylindracea – Egadi Islands”, the Project “Aliens in the sea”, the Project “Invasive Algae”, included within the “Seawatchers” platform and the Marine Forests platform. These Projects highlight how important Citizen Science is for collecting data on marine biodiversity and marine NIS and to significantly improve the efficacy of monitoring and surveillance plans.