Florence

Geographic profiling used to combat algae invasions

Method employed in criminology to identify serial killers' abode

Geographic profiling used to combat algae invasions

Florence, January 8 - Researchers at Florence university have come up with a method for identifying the epicentre of algae infestations using a technique normally employed by criminologists. The discovery, made during a study conducted last year, has been published by the magazine 'Biological Invasions'. The biologists used geographic profiling to trace the origin of an infestation of Caulerpa racemosa in the Mediterranean to a port in western Sicily. The technique, based on the application of a mathematical formula, is frequently used in criminology to identify a serial killer's possible abode. ''The discovery is important scientifically because it opens up new scenarios for the conservation of ecosystems,'' said Alessio Papini of the biology department at Florence University. ''The model lends itself to application not just in marine biology but in other disciplines, such as geology for example, and can provide useful elements for reducing the environmental impact of biological invasions''.

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