The Apex Predator Lab begins it's 6th tagging season! This year, we will investigate the reproductive status of female sharks at the aggregation hotspot. We are ready to employ new methods and technologies, including ultrasound probes, shark-borne cameras and new satellite transmitters and analyse the new types of data using advanced laboratory techniques. Stay tuned for updates!
The rocky reef habitat of the Israeli coastline is rich, diverse, and abundant in marine resources. It functions as a stable habitat for algae, invertebrates, and fish. We have been conducting Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) on these reefs since 2015. The surveys are conducted from Achziv to Ashkelon and at a depth range from 10 to 45 m. The first thing that we noticed was a greater variability with depth. In the shallow water, the turf algae are dominating the reefs (Sdot Yam 10 m, 99%) and as you go deeper, the algae assemblages (Sdot Yam 45 m, 86%) become more diverse and there are more invertebrates.
A key characteristic of the EMS is the very low concentration of dissolved nutrients present in the water column. University of Haifa had purchased and put into operation a very high sensitivity automated nutrient analyzer, specifically to enable us to understand the nutrient cycling processes on the Israeli shelf.
Sediment microbiota plays a significant ecological and biogeochemical role in marine ecosystems due to their high abundance relative to the overlying water column. The microbial community is very dynamic and sensitive and can rapidly change due to environmental changes. Therefore, characterization of the sediment microbiota may be used as an important tool for assessing environmental health and indicate changes within the ecological system.
As part of our long-term ecological monitoring work, we are constantly searching for potential sites of interest, especially at depths that require the skills of our technical diving team. In October 2019, we conducted a first impression dive at a site of interest in Achziv at 85 meters depth. Prior to the actual dive, we collaborated with other scientists to identify a suitable site that meets our needs. For this survey, we searched for a site with rocky substrate until 100 meters depth, much deeper than our usual dives to 45 meters. Why rocky substrates?
Prof. Block has been working alongside our Apex Predator Lab for a couple of years now, and we are excited to host her in our Mediterranean Sea!
In our upcoming conference she will present her decades-long research on Bluefin Tuna, as the leading researcher in her field for many years. Here is a link to her lab at Hopkins Marine Research Station (Stanford University).
We will be tagging with her outside of the conference when the sea permits us.
And our journey continues… Previously, we introduced the research pair of Dr. Tali Mass from the University of Haifa in Israel and Dr. Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley from the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), while they were collecting larvae in the gulf of Aqaba in March of this year. Now they are together again, collecting larvae in the same depths and latitude, but in Bermuda, an isolated island in the western Atlantic Ocean.
The day was filled with interesting presentations from the likes of Dr Assaf Vardi, Dr Mark Altabet, and our own research station presenting their recent discoveries.
A special thanks to Ecoocean – למען הסביבה הימית for their continued support, and to all that came today.