|Involvement of recreational scuba divers in emblematic species monitoring: The case of Mediterranean red coral (Corallium rubrum)|
|Bramanti, L.; Vielmini, I.; Rossi, S.; Stolfa, S.; Santangelo, G. (2011). Involvement of recreational scuba divers in emblematic species monitoring: The case of Mediterranean red coral (Corallium rubrum). J. Nat. Conserv. 19(5): 312-318. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2011.05.004|
|In: Journal for Nature Conservation. Elsevier: Jena. ISSN 1617-1381, more|
Corallium rubrum (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Marine
Citizen science; Conservation; Corallium rubrum; Monitoring; Non consumptive utilisation; Volunteers
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Large-scale monitoring programs are fundamental for the management of overexploited or endangered species. When resources are limited, volunteer data collection is an alternative for researchers needing a large amount of data covering a wide geographic extension. Corallium rubrum is endemic to the Mediterranean Sea. Some coastal populations have been deeply studied although there is still lack of knowledge about the distribution or even its presence along Italian coasts. The present work represents cooperation between University of Pisa and SSI-Italy. Recreational scuba divers have been involved in a monitoring project which aims to acquire data on Italian red coral shallow-water populations and increase the awareness of such an emblematic and patrimonial species. During summer 2008 a questionnaire was distributed to recreational divers. The 616 questionnaires analysed, covering more than 1600 km of coasts and 390 h of diving, showed an awareness of recreational divers towards red coral; 80% planned their dive aiming to find red coral and 4% reported colony damage. The same methodology applied in other countries could provide useful and comparable data on this precious marine species.