Divers for the Environment  Mediterranean Underwater Biodiversity Project

Italian Version

Survey Questionnaire - Surveyed Taxa - Club & Diving Center Involved - Prizes - Partners



Guide to Completing Questionnaire
On February 18th, 2003, the Council of Bologna gave the patronage to this research.


A special contribution to the questionnaire collection was given by the diving section of Italian Fire Brigade.


A great success for all the divers!

Ecological Applications, the prestigious international scientific journal edited by the Ecological Society of America (www.esa.org), after almost 3-year revision process by anonymous referees, accepted to publish the results of Divers for the Environment.

Download here the paper!


Click here for a preview of the results

In ecology, the term biodiversity is used to indicate the level of heterogeneity of a natural population; this means, in other words, how many different forms of animals and plants live in a specific environment. A "natural, inaltered" habitat, a wood, for example, has a high level of biodiversity because many plant and animal species live in it. On the other hand, an "unnatural, altered" environment, for example a cultivated grain field, has a low level of biodiversity because it contains only one single vegetable species. Biological diversity is therefore an index of the state of the environment.

Human activities lead to habitat deterioration and therefore an impoverishment of biodiversity. Monitoring is essential for diagnosing the health of the environment but institutes often lack funds and essential manpower to perform large scale biodiversity monitoring. When sensitized and correctly involved, citizens can participate in the monitoring activities, contributing to the collection of data, thus decreasing costs. Scuba divers, with the success of previous studies, have already revealed their ability of acting as supervisors of the marine environment.

This 4-years project, named "Divers for the Environment - Mediterranean Underwater Biodiversity Project", aimed at evaluating the quality of the marine environment, by analyzing the status of its biodiversity. Recreational scuba-divers represented the research operators have been asked to indicate, in a special survey questionnaire, the presence of animal and plant taxa and refuse (litter). University researchers dealt with the processing of the data for the objective evaluation of the environment quality, and the publication of the results.

The participation of private partners has been fundamental. This project, patronaged by the Italian Ministry of the Environment and Land and Sea Protection, was supported by ASTOI, the Association of Italian Tour Operators, the main international diving agencies operating in Italy (ADISUB - Association of Italian Scuba Diving Agencies). The magazine Quark promoted the broadcasting of research problems, methods and results.