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In 2011, the MPA collaborated with IAMC (Institute for Marine and Coastal Environment) -CNR (National Research Council) in the project PRIN (Research Project of National Interest) funded by MIUR (Ministry of University and Research), with the aim of studying the biology ofAstroides calycularis.

This study aims to define the distribution and health status of A. calycularis in Italy, with particular emphasis on identifying the most important ecological aspects in its conservation.

The research includes three tasks: the first task aims to create a distribution map of A. calycularisalong the Italian coasts; the second task is the identification, through the collection of data on the habitat and on the colonies of A. calycularis, of candidate areas for its conservation.The result of the second task is a set of second level information about the environmental factors that potentially determine the distribution of A. calycularis and about the biological variables that best respond to these factors.Such result will be used both as a feedback for the first task and as an input for the third task.