Antibiotic resistance of bacterial pathogens in marine animals of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea:

    molecular characterization, antibiotic resistance, and virulent genes’ identification

    Marine bacterial pathogens

    Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global issue that public health is facing nowadays, and its propagation has occurred due to the misuse of antimicrobial medicines for both humans and livestock. This has led to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant zoonotic pathogens through the acquisition of antibiotic- resistance genes (ARGs) that are easily transferable to the microbiota of animals and humans. Sewage is the main transfer source of ARGs in marineenvironments where they persist. ARGs can be transferred to the same or different bacteria species which allows them to adapt to antibiotics. In addition, this transfer occurs between commensal bacteria and pathogens.

    AMR has been reported in numerous marine species, such as invertebrates, sharks, sea turtles, and marine mammals. There is a lack of information regarding the magnitude of AMR bacteria in aquatic organisms at different levels of the trophic web in the Levantine Basin. The aim of our study is two-fold: 1) the identification of the main pathogens of wild marine animals of the Israeli coast and its antibiotic resistance, as well as investigating the co-occurrence of antibiotic resistance, and 2) virulent genes in these pathogens in order to understand the AMR propagation.  To fulfill these goals, we will:

    1) Identify main pathogens of marine animals and water from harbors of the Israeli coast,

    2) Determine antibiotic resistance of the selected marine animal and water isolates through Minimum Inhibitory Concentrations (MICs) and the presence of ARGs,

    3) Identify virulence-associated genes,

    4) Experimentally infect fish with MRA bacteria obtained from water samples which also possess ARGs and virulent genes in order to observe horizontal ARGs acquisition of bacteria. This step is crucial to understand how these antimicrobials affect the pathogen response and identify the environmental reservoirs of resistance that might affect the future capacity to fight infections.

    Those applicants who display initiative, experience in molecular work, ecological background, and general bacteriological knowledge are preferred.

    Most of the work will be done at the Morris Kahn Marine Research Station at Kibbutz Sdot Yam.

    An up-to-date resume, the name of at least one person who is familiar with your academic background, and a transcript of a BSc and MSc degrees should be sent to:

    Dr. Danny Morick, Morris Kahn Marine Research Station, Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, Department of Marine Biology, University of Haifa

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    Prof. Dan Tchernov, Morris Kahn Marine Research Station, Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, Department of Marine Biology, University of Haifa

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    antibiotic resistance project

    Congratulations to Prof. Muki Shpigel for being selected to chair a COST Action from this year until 2025!

    The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) organization runs an EU-funded program that enables scientists and innovators to link research initiatives, share innovative ideas across multiple science and technology fields and at the same time address social challenges across Europe and beyond.

    Prof. Shpigel, together with Dr. Leigh Livne and Dr. Amir Neori, co-authored the COST Action: ULVA, TOMORROW’S “WHEAT OF THE SEA”, A MODEL FOR INNOVATIVE MARICULTURE. The network counts over 76 participants from 28 countries!

    We are proud to have Prof. Shpigel in our ranks and we wish him and his collaborators the best of luck.

    About SaltyCrops: Products From The Sea-

    Our planet and its resources have sustained humanity for millennia. There are constantly new aspects and places to explore, especially in its watery depths. Scientists are discovering how much potential our seas have to offer. It is only through dedicated research networks and exploration efforts. that we can learn more and more about the flora and fauna in this quickly changing environment. Back on land, our researchers are dedicated to creating sustainable and clean technologies which support: New food sources and new materials for energy, industry and medical use. Our SaltyCrops project, is based on Salicornia, A globally distributed plant which grows in salt water We develop SaltyCrops as a biofilter and a food source

    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 data base

    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.

    Water chemistry database

    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 microbiome Database

    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?

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