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introduction of marine alien species, is a region       also at making aware citizens, sportsmen, fisher-
particularly vulnerable and susceptible to biological   men, divers on the phenomenon of biological inva-
invasions (Bianchi, 2007; Occhipinti-Ambrogi et         sions. We present here the results of this Project,
al., 2011a, b; Katsanevakis et al., 2012, 2014), des-   ended in summer 2016.
pite the high number of Marine Protected Areas
(MPAs) already established. In fact, high numbers       MATERIAL AND METHODS
of visitors, increasing disturbance and vectors (e.g.
boat anchors, SCUBA equipment, bilge water, hull            The Egadi Islands MPA (Aegadian Archipelago)
fouling) (Minchinton & Bertness, 2003; West et al.,     is the largest Italian MPA which was instituted in
2007; Britton-Simmons & Abbott, 2008; Burfeind          1991. This small archipelago, located approxim-
et al., 2013), could promote the introduction of in-    ately 7–9 km from the western coast of Sicily (Italy,
vasive species.                                         Tyrrhenian Sea), is composed of three main islands
                                                        (Favignana, Marettimo and Levanzo) and a few
    For a better understanding of the invasive po-      small islets (Galeotta, Galera, Preveto, Formica and
tential and spread dynamics of invasive species, any    Maraone) (Fig. 1).
newly colonized area needs to be quickly detected
(Klein & Verlaque, 2008). Therefore, regular mon-           The Project, addressed to different group of
itoring programs, including public awareness cam-       volunteers (students, tourists, divers, underwater
paigns, are crucial for assessing the spread            photographers, amateurs and fishermen), was based
dynamics of invasive species and for planning           on the collection of data (place, date, depth, sub-
effective management strategies. Since intensive        strate coverage %) and photos concerning the oc-
monitoring programs could be very expensive,            currence of C. cylindracea within the MPA.
Citizen Science, engaging citizens (e.g. tourists,      Volunteers could send their data either using a mail
fishermen, divers) in the collection of information     address, a facebook page, the MPA website or
and scientific data, could be a useful tool for         filling a form available online or in the MPA’s
providing data on the occurrence and spread of          offices. Only data validated by the Scientific team
marine alien species that would otherwise be im-        of the Project were gathered in the database.
possible to collect because of limitations on time
and resources. Of course, all these data need a val-    RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
idation by taxonomic experts for the scientific com-
munity to accept and utilize them for scientific            The first results of the Project were presented
purposes and management decisions.                      during the International Congress GeoSub2016
                                                        (Ustica, 14–17 September). The facebook page of
    Among marine invasive species, Caulerpa cyl-        the Project registered numerous followers (3000 in
indracea Sonder, 1845 (until Belton et al., 2014 it     the last month of the Project) and liked to 484 fol-
was reported in the literature as Caulerpa racemosa     lowers (90% were Italian). In all we gathered 156
var. cylindracea (Sonder) Verlaque, Huisman and         sightings (Fig. 2). The alga was reported from all
Boudouresque, 2003) has raised serious concern          the three main Islands even though the majority of
due to its ascertain impact on Mediterranean com-       the records were from Favignana (Fig. 1). It was
munities (Boudouresque et al., 1995; Dumay et al.,      found between 0 and 40 m depth, on rock, rock with
2002; Antolić et al., 2008; Klein & Verlaque, 2008;     sediment, sand and in coralligenous habitat (Fig. 3).
Piazzi & Balata, 2008; Papini et al., 2013; Kat-        Useful information on the behaviour strategies of
sanevakis et al., 2014).                                the alga was also gathered, e.g. the ability of the sto-
                                                        lons to create bridges in order to reach new areas
    So, on 27th August 2014 we launched the Cit-        for the anchorage and the strength of the anchorage
izen Science Project “Caulerpa cylindracea - Egadi      due to the high number of rhizoids (Fig. 4). These
Islands” (sponsored by the Department of Biolo-         strategies allow C. cylindracea to spread rapidly,
gical Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences and          forming compact multilayered mats able to trap
Technologies, University of Palermo and the Egadi
Islands MPA), aimed at creating a database, avail-
able online, on the spread and the levels of threat of
this invasive alga within the Egadi Islands MPA and
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