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Research & development

           minimising  potentially adverse activities.  Within this
           context, ENEA aims to develop and realize actions for
           sustainable tourism. By popularizing marine biological
           and environmental special features, knowledge will be
           increased thus generating  further awareness among
           residents and nearby populations and visitors, making
           the marine resources more easy to protect against non-
           sustainable tourism.
           Among  the special underwater features of the Egadi
           Islands,  Posidonia  oceanica meadows, included  in
           the Habitat  Directive (43/92/CEE), are one  of the
           most important biocoenoses for their abundance and
           distribution all around the shallow seabed of the islands
           (~7.700 ha). In addition, on the deep rocky outcrops
           and shoals, the coralligenous community represents a
           Mediterranean habitat of high ecological importance.
           For its richness of species, the coralligenous community    FIGURE 1   Map of the Marine Protected Area of Egadi Islands,
                                                                      with an indication of the different zones (A, B, C and D)
           is well known both by fishermen, who  have eligible        of protection
           sites for fishing  on  coastal and offshore rocky shoals,   Source: AA.VV. (2009), “Relazione finale. Analisi
           and by diving centres that often promote their activities   e valutazione dello stato degli ecosistemi marini
           in these habitats. However, the biodiversity associated    delle zone A e B in 4 Aree Marine Protette anche al fine
                                                                      di valutare l’efficacia delle misure di gestione
           with  the  coralligenous community and  its  landscape     delle stesse”, CoNISMa e Ministero dell’Ambiente
           value, as well as the presence of species of aesthetic and   e della Tutela del Territorio e del Mare
           conservation interest are not well known from either a
           scientific point of view or by the resident population.  The archipelago includes an area of high natural-
           Here, we present  the project carried out by some   environmental interest, in particular the underwater
           researchers of the Marine Environment Research Centre   environment has a high biodiversity due to its particular
           (La Spezia, Italy) of ENEA aimed to realize actions for   geographical position and  hydrological conditions.
           disseminating  the  knowledge  on  coralligenous  and   Moreover, the coastal and underwater geomorphology
           marine  coastal rocky communities  characterizing   shows peculiar features deserving protection.  The
           underwater habitats  at  Egadi Islands.  The ultimate   seabed morphology of the inner continental shelf is
           purpose of the work was to protect biological and   characterized  by  the  presence  of  topographical  highs
           environmental  resources, promote  awareness  of the   and  submarine  valleys  as  the  results of  tectonics,
           value of marine  biodiversity among  residents and   Holocene eustatic sea-level changes, subaerial (during
           encourage sustainable tourism around Egadi Islands.  Holocene high stand phases) and marine erosion
                                                              processes [1, 2]. These processes are very active and
                                                              influential around Egadi Islands where the sea currents
           Study area:                                        are very high, especially along the submarine valleys [3].
           The Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Egadi Islands   The submerged caves and other topographical features
                                                              caused by intense erosion mechanisms following storms
           The Egadi archipelago, located a few km far from the   and strong seabed currents are one of the most peculiar
           west coast  of Sicily, comprises three main islands,   aspects that characterise the coastal area and the seabed
           Favignana,  Levanzo and  Marettimo,  and  some minor   of Egadi Islands. Around the archipelago there are
           islands (Formica  and Maraone); at  present it  is the   several submerged rocky outcrops and wave-cut terraces
           largest MPA in the Mediterranean, covering around 54   generally limited by faults, with almost vertical sides and
           thousand hectares (Figure 1).                      shaped by hydrodynamics [4]. Those morphologies are

            EAI    Energia, Ambiente e Innovazione    4/2015
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