Sdot Yam

Sdot Yam


Site Manager: Hagai Nativ Contact: Hagai Nativ;

Station Media Manager, Morris Kahn Marine Research Station,, 0528539333

2nd contact: Leigh Kroeger, Scientific Coordinator, Morris Kahn Marine Research Station,, 0548056091

Station Description

The aim of the Morris Kahn Marine Research Station is to increase our understanding of the marine ecosystem on the Israeli shelf.

The Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, based at the University of Haifa, recently inaugurated two new long-term marine research centres (MRC) which focus on the Levantine Sea region at its doorstep. The first facility, named the Morris Khan Marine Research Centre, is located in Kibbutz Sdot Yam about 44 kilometers south of Haifa and adjacent to Caesarea. The second lab opened in late 2016 and is named the Top Predator Laboratory – this centre focuses on apex predator distribution (including dolphins, sharks, rays, and tunas) in Ashdod, Israel. The laboratories focus on coastal water research and monitoring of the ecology and species in shallow seas, as well as anthropogenic impact on the marine environment.

The Israeli coastal region is witnessing to accelerated development projects along the coastline, and a massive exploitation of marine resources never before experienced in our region and nation. These projects, coupled with the effects of climate change and other local polluting factors, are quickly changing our local fauna and flora from the shallow zones to the deep abyssal zones. The new research centre will gather baseline information and provide ongoing monitoring and analysis of critical marine biology and ecological data. Recently, the Crown Family and the Helmsley charitable trust has provided a generous donation towards monitoring and biodiversity research to be conducted at the Morris Khan MRC.

This information is crucial to help us understand and predict the ongoing effects of environmental and climate change, and to enable scientifically-based management decisions to be made, which will affect our lives and the lives of future generations of Israelis that interact with our local sea. This is especially critical at a time when most of the household water originates from desalinated seawater, in which natural gas deposits have been found. The Israeli coastal water is also an area where there are plans to dramatically expand the growth of marine fish in cages. A major infrastructure needs to be built, and for this to be sustainable, there needs to be a real understanding of how the system works.

To accomplish these goals, the facilities will be equipped with controlled seawater flow and biological experimentation systems required for aquaculture and renewable energy-related research. The marine station will also be equipped with research vessels that serve as diving platforms for coastal waters research. Other smaller laboratories are equipped with facilities for dissection, necropsies, and areas dedicated for graduate and visiting researchers to sit.

We are interested in establishing connections that complement our top quality research, innovation, and initiatives. We are always looking for new applied fields of research, and working with relevant stakeholders. Our aim is to achieve international status in biotechnology and biogeochemical research in the eastern Mediterranean, with our leading experts and equipment portfolio, which includes: marine chemistry (Seal AA3), GC-IRMS-MS, confocal microscopy, membrane inlet mass spectrometry, Molecular biology facilities, and a bioinformatics unit (at University of Haifa). Our target industries includes: mariculture and

aquaculture, the bio-fuel market, marine biotechnologies, pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals,

water and air treatment and environmental projects.

Our research projects to date include: deep exploration technology (soft arm robotics

for efficient collection in deep sea); marine pathogens (discovery and tackling antibioticresistant

pathogens); natural sunscreen compounds in macroalga; heterologous expression of

symbiont-DNA is used to reveal novel compounds (natural products). Please email our

coordinator for further information on grant and research collaboration.

List of Publications

  • Yeruham, E., Abelson, A., Rilov, G. , Ben Ezra, D., Shpigel, M. 2019. Energy budget of cultured Paracentrotus lividus under different temperatures (in submission, Aquaculture).
  • Bigal, E., Morick, D., Scheinin, P., Salant, H., Berkowitz, A., King, R., Levy, Y., Melero, M., Sánchez-Vizcaíno, J.M., Goffman, O. and Hadar, N., Roditi-Elasar, M.,Tchernov, D. 2018. Detection of Toxoplasma gondii in three common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus); a first description from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Veterinary Parasitology.
  • Chen, N., Krom, M.D., Wu, Y., Yu, D. and Hong, H., 2018. Storm induced estuarine turbidity maxima and controls on nutrient fluxes across river-estuary-coast continuum. Science of the Total Environment, 628, pp.1108-1120.
  • Gutner-Hoch, E., Martins, R., Maia, F., Oliveira, T., Shpigel, M., Weis, M., Tedim, J., Benayahu, Y. 2018. Toxicity of engineered micro- and nano-materials with antifouling properties to the brine shrimp Artemia salina and embryonic stages of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus (submitted, JEMBE)
  • Herbert, R.J., Krom, M.D., Carslaw, K.S., Stockdale, A., Mortimer, R.J.G., Benning, L.G., Pringle, K. and Browse, J., 2018. The effect of atmospheric acid processing on the global deposition of bioavailable phosphorus from dust. Global Biogeochemical Cycles.
  • Levy, D., Belfer, Y., Osherov, E., Bigal, E., Scheinin, A.P., Nativ, H., Tchernov, D., Treibitz, T., King, A., Bhandarkar, S.M. and Hopkinson, B.M., 2018. Automated Analysis of Marine Video With Limited Data. In Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Workshops (pp. 1385-1393).
  • Mannocci, L., Roberts, J.J., Halpin, P.N., Authier, M., Boisseau, O., Bradai, M.N., Cañadas, A., Chicote, C., David, L., Di-Méglio, N. and Fortuna, C.M., Frantzis, A., Gazo, M., Genov, T., Hammand, P.S., Holcer, D., Kaschner, K., Kerem, D., Lauriano, G., Lewish, T., Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Panigada, S., Raga, J.A., Scheinin, A., Ridoux, V., Vella, A., Vella, J. 2018. Assessing cetacean surveys throughout the Mediterranean Sea: a gap analysis in environmental space. Scientific reports, 8(1), p.3126.
  • Milstein, A., Levy, A., Neori, A., Harpaz, S., Shpigel, M. and Guttman, L., 2018. Water quality, ecological processes and management procedures in a periphyton biofiltration system in mariculture: A statistical analysis. Aquaculture Research, 49(4), pp.1491-1503.
  • Neori, A., Shpigel, M., Guttman, L., Israel, A. 2018. Development of Polyculture and Integrated Multi -Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) in Israel: A Review. The Israeli Journal of Aquaculture – Bamidgeh, IJA_69.2017.1385, 19 pages
  • Shpigel, M., Ben-Ezra, D., Shauli, L., and Erez, J. 2018. Effect of diets and light regimes on calcification and somatic growth of the sea urchin Tripneustes gratilla elatensis. (in submission, Aquaculture).
  • Shpigel, M., Guttman, L., Ben-Ezra, D., Yu, H., Chen, S. 2018. Is Ulva able to be an efficient biofilter for mariculture effluents? (in submission, J. of applied Phycology).
  • Shpigel, M., Shauli, L., Odintsov V., Harpaz, S., Ben-Ezra, D., 2018. Ulva lactuca biofilter from a land-based Integrated Multi Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) system as a sole food source for the tropical sea urchin Tripneustes gratilla elatensis. Aquaculture, 496, 221-231.
  • Neori, A., Shpigel, M. and Guttman, L., 2017. The development of polyculture and integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) in Israel: a review. Israeli Journal of AquacultureBamidgeh, 69.
  • Nobre, A.M., Valente, L.M.P. and Neori, A., A nitrogen budget model with a userfriendly interface, to assess water renewal rates and nitrogen limitation in commercial seaweed farms. Journal of Applied Phycology, 29(6), pp.3039-3055.
  • Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Kerem D., Smeenk C., Rudolph P., Cesario A., Costa M., Elasar M., Feingold D., Fumagalli M., Goffman O., Hadar N., Mebrathu Y.T., Scheinin A. (2017) Cetaceans of the Red Sea. CMS Technical Series 33, 86 pp.
  • Powley, H.R., Krom, M.D., and Van Cappellen, P. 2017. Understanding the unique biogeochemistry of the Mediterranean Sea: Insights from a coupled phosphorus and nitrogen model. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 11; 1010-1031. DOI 10.1002/2017GB005648
  • Einbinder, S., Gruber, D.F., Salomon, E., Liran, O., Keren, N. and Tchernov, D., Novel adaptive photosynthetic characteristics of mesophotic symbiotic microalgae within the reef-building coral, Stylophora pistillata. Frontiers in Marine Science,3, p.195.
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