Work plan

Work plan

Our work plan proposes an integrated and shared approach to improve the management of invasive alien species (IAS) in both marine and terrestrial environments. The work plan will be implemented by a multidisciplinary team consisting of experts in marine biology, ecology, economics, and computer science, and aims to develop new capabilities for IAS data management and their potential use as an economic resource.

The project consists of six different work packages, described in detail below. The project is funded by the CNR through the financing measures dedicated to the research projects of the organisation (Research Projects @CNR) and it is carried out in collaboration with the CNR Institutes of IRET, IAS, and IRBIM, with a duration of 24 months.

The project will focus on the following research topics: marine biology and ecology, economic analysis of IAS, and development of data management methodologies.

Work Package 1 is dedicated to project coordination. The planned activities include the organisation of a Kick off meeting to involve all project partners and the planning of monthly online meetings with all partners to monitor the ongoing activities. The coordinator will be responsible for the overall project management and will ensure that project objectives are achieved within the established budget and timeline.

Work Package 2 focuses on harmonising monitoring strategies and data acquisition on Invasive Alien Species (IAS). The first activity is to explore the main IAS data collection techniques used by various CNR institutes, taking into account recent and innovative approaches developed at national and international levels. The second activity is to organise an internal workshop to assess the critical issues in IAS monitoring processes, to evaluate current methods, and to identify the main operational gaps. The third activity is to organise a workshop to harmonise the procedures for collecting and acquiring IAS data within terrestrial and marine environments with the aim of creating CNR guidelines for IAS monitoring. These workshops will involve all CNR institutes and external experts.

Work Package 3 aims at improving the data management of Invasive Alien Species (IAS). The planned activities include the definition of a common and coordinated strategy for the management of IAS data based on FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) and Open Science, including the drafting of a data management plan for IAS data. The data management plan will cover all phases of the data life cycle, will provide guidance on methodologies and standards used for creating and managing data, for data identification and description, for data sharing and accessibility, for long-term data storage, and will define roles and responsibilities. Additionally, a dedicated space will be created on the LifeWatch-ITA Data Portal for CNR data on selected IAS, which may be extended in the future to other IAS. Furthermore, a landing page will be created for interactive and user-friendly research of the knowledge acquired and produced on IAS, offering a guided access to the available data resources through the LifeWatch ITA infrastructure.

Work Package 4 consists in the initiation of a series of pilot actions to test the technical and technological strategies defined in the previous Work Packages. These actions aim to implement integrated strategies for collecting data on Invasive Alien Species (IAS), verifying their limits and potential in different ecological and technical-scientific situations. The samplings will be conducted independently by the various operational units and will include a wide range of techniques, species, and ecosystems based on a defined and harmonised monitoring strategy according to the results of Work Package 3 and in line with the management plan and technological resources made available by Work Package 2. The activities envisaged include the extraction and management of data from existing projects and the acquisition and management of new data, as well as the evaluation of the effectiveness of monitoring techniques and the experimentation of new technologies for data collection.

The objective of this WP is to evaluate the potential commercial use of marine and terrestrial IAS through various activities. These activities include evaluating the edibility requirements and nutritional parameters of at least 5 marine IAS through metabolomic analysis and determining the nutritional profile of the species under analysis. In addition, a survey will be conducted to assess consumer preference for selected marine IAS through tasting trials with restaurateurs and professional chefs. A SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) will also be carried out to assess the opportunities and risks of commercial use of selected marine and terrestrial IAS. Finally, a standardised procedure will be developed for the implementation of SWOT analysis for commercial use or to mitigate the risks associated with IAS.

The objective of Work Package 6 is to coordinate the communication activities within the project and to promote the collection and management of data on the impact of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) on biodiversity. In particular, internal communication activities will be organised to coordinate the various operational units and external partners. A corporate image with the project logo and hashtags to be used in all external communication activities will be defined. A conference will be organised to present the guidelines for the collection and management of IAS data. Informative videos and flyers will be created on the management of terrestrial and marine IAS and on the use of certain marine species for food purposes. The main social networks and communication groups of the CNR will be used to promote project activities, and a final conference will be organised to present the project results.

USEit is a project funded by the National Research Council of Italy