The project is a collaboration among some of the most important University research groups involved in the description and conservation of European butterflies operating both in Italy and abroad, together with Legambiente.
The group of Biogeography and Ecology of Invertebrates in Oxford. The group, belonging to the Oxford Brookes University and led by Dr. Tim Shreeve, studies the processes that determine the adaptation of organisms to recent environmental changes. Since 2013, Dr. Leonardo Dapporto is part of that group as a researcher. In 2009, Dr. Leonardo Dapporto has conceived and created together with Legambiente the Sanctuary of the butterflies of Elba Island. In 2011, he discovered that the Italian subspecies Zerynthia polyxena represents a distinct species, endemic to Italy. A subsequent molecular study, carried out with the other components of this project, confirmed the hypothesis.
The Laboratory of Evolution and Biodiversity of Butterflies in Barcelona. The research team is led by Dr. Roger Vila and studies the biodiversity and evolution of butterflies integrating molecular, morphological and cytogenetic data. The group is involved in several international projects aiming at clarifying the phylogenetic relationships among the European butterflies and discovering new cryptic species. In 2010, the group confirmed the hypothesis formulated by Vladimir Nabokov on the colonization of the Americas by butterflies. The group has produced the first "Barcoding of Butterflies" for two countries, Romania and Spain. The members of the group involved in the project are Roger Vila, Vlad Dinka and Raluca Voda.
The Laboratory of Zoology in Turin. The Laboratory of Zoology at the Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology, is led by Prof. Emilio Balletto and coordinated by Dr. Simona Bonelli. The Italian research group has been involved for a long time in ecological, phylogenetic and biogeographic studies mainly focused on butterflies. Currently, the group supports the Italian Ministry of the Environment in drafting Database and Red Lists and represents the Italian delegate of the Butterfly Conservation Europe (www.bc-europe.eu). The research group is currently composed by: Emilio Balletto, Simona Bonellli, Francesca Barbero, Luca P. Casacci, Cristiana Cerrato, Alessio Vovlas.
Legambiente chooses to create any project to protect the environment on a solid basis of scientific data, a tool which provides alternative, concrete and achievable routes. This constant work of information, awareness and involvement of citizens has made Legambiente the most widespread environmental organization in the area: over 115,000 members and supporters, 1,000 local groups, 30,000 classes participating in environmental education programs, more than 3,000 young people who each year participate in volunteer camps, more than 60 natural areas managed directly or in collaboration with other local institutions.
The Research Unit for the Mediterranean Environmental Forestry at Cosenza of the Council for Research and Experimentation in Agriculture. From 2013, the conservation of biodiversity in Mediterranean forest ecosystems with particular reference to Southern Italy was included among the objectives of the Research Unit. Dr. Stefano Scalercio, a researcher involved in the project, deals with this topic by studying the distribution of the species of Lepidoptera in the Mediterranean landscape in order to assess the risks of threat due to environmental changes of different origin.