SPEAKERS Presentations

Noga Kronfeld-Schor

Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection

Light att night as a pollutant – an emerging risk for conservation in the Galapagos islands”.

Due to human settlement along the sea and on Islands, coastal habitats are among the most affected by light pollution, which can disrupt the daily, monthly and seasonal bioiogical rhythms of organisms, leading to miss-timed behaviors, disrupted physiology and reproduction, as well as sleep disturbances. As human populations grow and lighting technologies improve, artificial light at night (ALAN} gradually alters natural cycles of light and dark that have been consistent over evolution, and studies Indicate considerable ecological and health implications on both humans and wildlife in terrestrial and aquatic habitats. These implications are expected to be particularly high in costal environments, where moonlight and tides play an important role. Here, we suggest studying the potential negative effects of the exposure of the Galapagos wildlife (coral reefs, tropical fish, and iguanas) to the increasing ALAN levels, which are expected to have fitness consequences and thus is highly important for conservation actions. We suggest combining our expertise of biological clocks, sleep physiology and rhythmic behavior of terrestrial and marine organisms. Based on our studies at the Galapagos, we will recommend science-based ALAN usage policies to be Implemented at the Galapagos.

Biosketch. Prof. Noga Krcnfeld-Schor is a full professor at the School of Zoology and the Sagel School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University, and an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Monash University in Australia. Serves as Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Environmental Protection. Her research deals with ecological and environmental physiology, Including the study of biological clocks in animals and humans.

Boaz Yuval

Hebrew University

Deciphering the nutritional ecology of Phllornis downsi.

Phllornis downsi is an accidentally introduced parasitic nest fly that poses significant extinction threats to land birds in the Galapagos Islands, The sterile insect technique (SIT) is an ideal approach to control insects in an island setting and could be used against P. downsi. However, deployment depends on the ability to mass rear the target insect, prior to its sterilization end release. For the past decade we have been involved in a series of studies that focus on the relationship between the various life stages of the fly, their nutrition and microblome, with a view to supporting and eventually implementing SIT against this parasite. In addition, understanding the physiological and ecological constraints governing the nutritional ecology of P. downsi are important for designing other approaches for sustainable control. Accordingly, we propose to investigate nutritional behavior by employing two bio-assays, one is the capillary feeder assay, and the other the proboscis extension response. We plan to use the former to precisely determine food preferences of both sexes, and how they are affected by the presence of bacteria. We will use the latter to determine the sensitivity of food related receptors, and how they are affected by sex, satiation, age and micro-organisms.

Biosketch, Professor Boaz Yuval is an entomologist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He studies nutritional and sexual behavior of flies, and applied aspects of insect-microorganism interactions.

Noa Shenkar

Tel Aviv University

The potential contribution of cargo shipping to marine bioinvasions in the Galapagos.

The shipping industry is considered to be the main vector of introduction of marine non-indigenous species (NIS). These organisms are usually transferred as fouling on vessel hulls and in protected niche areas such as sea chests, propellers, and rudders, or with the intake of ballast water. Despite the enormous progress in ballast water regulations implemented by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the standardized regulation of hull fouling is not yet being implemented. With the increase of population size and touristic activities, the Galapagos Islands are receiving growing numbers of cargo vessels per year. In order to mitigate the risk of marine bioinvasions imposed by these vessels It is important to combine an interdisciplinary approach combining the study of shipping networks, ecological modeling, and organism physiology. This will allow the identification of high-risk vectors and sources of introductions and increase the ability of early detection followed by a rapid response in case of arrival of alien species. In addition, promo-ting the enforcement of biofouling regulation and control of port activities can be used as significant tools for reducing the risk of NIS introduction and supporting sustainable shipping in the Galapagos Islands.

Biosketch. Prof. Noa Shenkar is an Associate Professor in the School of Zoology, Tel-Aviv University, and is also the curator of the ascidian collection at the Steinhar-dt Museum of Natural History, Israel. Her research focus on 1) biodiversity of the class Ascidiacea, and 2) marine bioinvasions and the use of ascidians as biological indicators of marine pollution. In addition, she finds enormous satisfaction in developing courses that expose students to the great wonders of the underwater world, and specifically in leading scientific outreach activities for youth from low social-economic background, and for advancing women in science.

Tali Mass

Haifa Uhiversity

Role of environmental history in driving parental effects and epigenetic inheritance in reef buliding corals.

Contemporary coral reefs are adapted to a relatively narrow environmental range, dictated by multiple biotic and abiotic parameters. As anthropogenic climate change progresses, reef building corals, the ecosystem engineers of tropical reefs, are increasingly exposed to conditions beyond these limits. This has resulted in a rapid decline in reef health worldwide. The ability for corals to persist through climate change will be determined by factors including exisiting phenotypic plasticity of corals, the heritability of acquired phenotyplc traits, and on the longer term, population adaptation through natural selection. In the Galapagos, 95-97% of corals were bleached and killed in the 1982-83 El Niño event, giving the region an extended bleaching history. Some Galapagos coral communities have shown signs of recovery and perseverance through more recent ENSO events. These corals may be uniquely thermally resistant, derived from heat tolerant survivors and/or new recruits. One of the main focuses of my lab is determine how parental environment influences adult physiology and reproduction and to Identify and quantify mechanisms of cross-generational acclimation. Therefore, expending our experience to the Galapagos region may shade light on the mechanisms enabling adaptation to extreme conditions, enhancing our understanding on which coral assisted evolution efforts are performed.

Biosketch. Prof. Tall Mass is an Associate professor in the Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, University of Haifa, Israel. Her research focus is mainly to exploit the basic biological machinery and ·co eventually elucidate the molecular pathways that lead to the skeleton formation in calcifying organisms, specifically corals. In particular, she targets her study on corals with specific traits and tolerances to environmental conditions, such as corals living in wide ranges of temperatures or depth and corals with high tolerance to seawater pH changes.

Oren Levy

Bar llan University

What between biological clocks, coral physiology, coral spawning synchronization and fight pollution?

Life on earth has evolved under constant environmental changes, in response to these changes, most organisms have developed an endogenous clock that allows them to anticipate daily and seasonal changes and adapt their biology accordingly. Predicting such oscillations is vital for survival, of many organisms such as coral reefs. Light is known as the dominant environmental cue that provides temporal information to circadian pacemakers and plays a key role In the organism's growth, reproduction, sleep, and physiology.

In the current age of the Anthropocene, organisms near coastal habitats have become vulnerable to light pollution, which can mask their daily and monthly rhythms.

Our current research has been shown that artificial light pollution can impact coral reefs physiology by leading to lipid damage and ROS elevation, reducing photosynthesis performances, masking corals gametogenesis cycles, and leading to failure in coral spawning synchronization. Our latest work also shown that light pollution Impact sleep and wakefulness behavior and neuronal DNA damage in the diurnal damselfish Chromis viridis which inhabits specific colonies of branching corals. While considerable ecological implications of artificial light have been identified in both terrestrial and aquatic habitats, knowledge about the physiological and molecular effects of light pollution is currently vague.

Biosketch. Oren Levy is a Full Professor in the Faculty of Life Sciences, marine biologist, leading the Lab for molecular marine ecology at Bar-llan university (BIU) Israel. The aim of his research group is to understand the dependency between environmental cues (e.g. light, temperature, and tide) that underlie circadian and other rhythms in symbiotic marine organisms and reef-building corals as well as other cnidarians, such as sea anemones, in regulating physiology and behavior.

Mich Ilan

Tel Aviv University

Role of environmental history in driving poriferan effects and epigenetic inheritance in reef buliding corals.

The Galapagos Islands fauna is influenced by their remote and isolated location. The islands marine fauna is further influenced by three cold and one warm oceanic currents. Generally, benthic sponges with their limited propagules dispersal are prone to high level of endemism in various locations. Desqueyroux-Faundez and Van Soest (1997) reported of 66 sponge species from these Islands (nearly all from shallow water), of which 37 were endemic. Schuster et al. (2018) added 7 new (endemic) species collected by a submersible from deep-water. To this inventory, very recently Sim-Smith et al. (2021) added 22 new (endemic) species plus 3 new records. With this latest publication the Galapagos sponge list grew to 98 species, with 66 of them endemic. Even without the recently added deep-water sponges, most Porlferan species (65%) are endemic to the Galapagos. Global warming gains an increasing impact on (especially shallow) marine species distribution, and even survival. Such deleterious lnfuence is even more pronounced on Iimitedly distributed species (like endemic ones). There are contradietory reports regarding the effect of water temperature increase on sponge survival from different species and locations. The high endemism of Galapagos Porlferan community poses a major concern regarding their existence and should be evaluated.

Biosketch, Prof. Micha llan is a Full Prof. in the School of Zoology, Tel-Aviv University, holds the The Israel Cohen Chair for Environmental Zoology, and is also the curator of the Porifera collection at the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Israel. His studies focus on the biology, ecology and biotechnology of sponges and their associated macro and microorganisms. Recently the group's studies of mesophotic sponge gardens assisted in establishing MPAs around these habitats.

Dror Avisar

Tel Aviv University

How to treat polluted drinking water: Low Tech vs High Tech.

Water scarcity around the world is enforcing and encouraging humans to seek for alternative out-of-the-box technologies to produce drinking water. Atmospheric dew water is a potential source of potable water as the earth's atmosphere is a huge and renewable water resource. It contains approximately 12,900 bllllon tons of fresh water, 98% Is in a vapor state. Atmospheric Water Generators (AWG), a device that converts water vapor into liquid water, is a promising alternative technology to overcome the global and a specific local (e.g. Galapagos) water scarcity. AWG does not require any water transport infrastructure since it can be placed almost anywhere and even can use solar as an energy source. Furthermore, the use of this technology, reduce dramatically the local use of plastic bottles, which are severely damaging the ecosystem, everywhere, and specifically in an isolated and unique island such as Galapagos. Overall, the production of dew water by AWG can provide safe drinking water at day and night throughout the year.

Biosketch. Prof. Dror Avlsar is Head of Hydrochemistry Research Group and the Head of The Water Research Center at Tel Aviv University. Prof. Avisar focuses his research interest on the understanding the physico-chemlcal processes and the occurrence and transport of micro and nano contaminants within the aquatic environment. Additionally, Dror's research group is investing lots of efforts to develop and to optimize Innovative technologles to break down and remove these contaminants from various water sources.

Yael Edelman-Furstenberg

Geological Survey of Israel

Tracking long and short-term ecosystem shifts using molluscan death assemblages from seafloor sediments.

A clear understanding of the ongoing changes shaping benthic communities on seafloors today, including the part humans play is crucial to understanding how marine ecosystems are transforming, at what rate, and how to predict future change. Identifying the drivers nonetheless remains challenging because most scientific studies began after the onset of local human stresses and because we lack data on key benthlc components from periods before human influence.

Skeletal death assemblages are typically time-averaged, which smooths short-term fluctuations but retains a memory of populations that inhabited now-vanished environmental conditions. They can serve as a baseline for understanding the current ecological status of marine environments. To determine the extent of baseline shift in Galapagos habitats I propose using the shells of bivalves and gastropods extracted from the top seafloor sediment at relevant points of interest. We will test for live-dead mismatch in the youngest sedimentary increment to track ecological change. The results will produce a macrofaunal baseline for assessing the health state of the ecological system combined with sediment properties (grain size, %organic carbon) and correlation between ecosystem health and faunal abundances. This will provide a robust and critical framework for monitoring programs by highlighting the areas of intensified stress.

Biosketch. Dr. Yael Edelman-Furstenberg is a senior researcher and Head of the Stratigraphy and Sub-surface research at the Geological Survey of Israel. She is also the curator of the fossil collection at the Geological Survey, Her research focus on 1) paleoecology of shelly-marine benthlc Invertebrates, and 2) conservation paleoblology using the young fossil record to recognize recent ecological baseline shifts. Yael also dives deep into the geological past to understand ancient marine environments by studying fossil assemblages from "dry" oceans.

Sigal Abramovich

Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Foraminifera as bioindicators of anthropogenic Pollution.

Living foraminifera (single-cell calcareous eukaryotes) are considered as one of the most important bioindicators of any marine environment. Because of their abundance and relatively short life cycle they are commonly used for ecological monitoring at the community level, and the preservation of their shells in the sediment provides a way to obtain a reference for pre-anthropogenic conditions. In addition, foraminiferal shell chemistry could be used as a proxy for climate change and anthropogenic pollution (particularly heavy metals). This is possible because the incorporation of chemical impurities in the calcite of the shells reflects the composition of the seawater in which the shells are precipitated. Since foraminifera produce their shells incrementally, each chamber represents the water chemistry at the time of its formation, creating a chronologically ordered sequence of natural monitoring events. Analyses of the composition of individual chambers using Laser ablation ICP-MS should thus provide documentation of short-term pollution events as well as a reference of concentrations before and after these events. For the sustainability in the Galapagos Islands project, I can offer more than 20 years of experience working on sustainability issues using living foraminifera. My expertise includes ecological and taxonomical monitoring, culturing, transcrlp-tome analyses, and high resolution geochemistry.

Biosketch. I am a marine geoblologist and the chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Ben Gurion University of the Negev Israel. I specialize on single cell marine calcifying organisms called foramlnlfera, and their use as living loggers of global change and anthropogenic pollution. My research involves an interdisciplinary investigation that combines geochemical, ecological and molecular tools. My studies extends beyond the purpose of expanding our knowledge of past and present oceanic conditions, by targeting a near future prospective for the usage of foraminifera as model organisms for monitoring marine environments and global change.

Lior Appelbaum

Bar Llan University

The effect of light pollution on sleep and brain health in fish.

Artificial light pollution has become a major environmental concern. Sleep is a vital evolutionary conserved behavior in all animals with nervous system, which is regulated by light entrainment, circadian clock and homeostatic processes. We recently showed that DNA damage us accumulated in the brain during wakefulness, and that sleep enables efficient repair in neurons of zebrafish. Here, we will present the effect of light pollution on sleep behavior and neuronal DNA damage in the diurnal reef fish Chromis virldis. The findings are expected to provide an ecological perspective on the impact of light pollution on sleep and brain health in marine vertebrates.

Biosketch. Prof. Liar Appelbaum is a full professor in the The Faculty of Life Sciences and The Multidisclpllnary Brain Research Center, Bar llan University, Israel. Expertise: molecular neuroscience, endocrinology, circadian rhythms, sleep. Model animals: zebraflsh, marine Invertebrates. Most relevant projects: 1. Light pollution in marine environment; 2. Sleep in fish; 3. Evolution and development of simple nervous systems in cnidarians.

Roee Diamant

Hiafa University

A cost-effective sonar system for detection of marine animals.

It has been long recognized that acoustic and seismic surveys may harm marine animals. Evidence for hearing effects, tissue damage, and behavioral changes for marine mammals in the presence of high acoustic noise or underwater blasts have been recorded, and similar effects may also endanger sea turtles and sharks. As a result, legislation authorities enforce a human observer on the lookout for marine animals during surveys involving blasts or high acoustic emissions. However, these observations are limited to daylight and can only detect animals on the surface. In this talk, we will present a proof-of-concept system for detection of submerged marine animals that can be operated from the same surveying vessel during its operation. Our system employs a train of active high frequency wideband acoustic emissions at power levels, which are safe for marine animals, to form a time-distance matrix of recorder reflections. Using novel machine-learning pattern recognition techniques and a tailor-made clustering algorithm, we identify mobile targets and differentiate them from clutter and static reflectors. The result is a cost-efficient system that uses only one transceiver and allows for realtime detection. Demonstrations in multiple sea experiments using real animals for ground truth information verifies the practicality of the system.

Biosketch. Roee Diamant leads the underwater Acoustic and Navigation Laboratory (ANL) as an Associate Prof. at the Dept. of Marine Technologies, University of Haifa. His research interests include underwater acoustic communication, underwater navigation, object identification, and classification.

Tal Luzzatto

Haifa University

Algae metabolome in 3D: Diversity, Distribution, and Discovery.

Marine macroalgae, being primary producers, are essential for the biodiversity and health of marine ecosystems. They are affected by physical and biological factors with cascading impact on the marine food web. In the Galapagos archipelago, over 300 macroalgae species have been described with some evidence of seasonal changes, as well as major events as El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), profoundly affecting the macroalgae communities. Marine macroalgae also harbor a fascinating wealth of chemistry that had only been acknowledged in recent decades. The chemical diversity is often associated with biodiversity and environmental changes and can be characterized by spatial and temporal patterns by metabolomics-based approach. To date, no research on the metabolomics of algae from the Galapagos has been reported. One of the main focus in my lab is characterizing the chemical diversity and differential patterns of molecules over time and space, to better understand the seasonal variations of marine macroalgae. The Eastern Mediterranean is a warm and nutrient poor environment similar to ENSO characteristic, yet with common species to the Galapagos region (Asparagopsis, Ulva, Pandlna, Gracilarla, Sargassum ect). Therefore, expending our research and collaboration with Galapagos can advance our understanding on the metabolomlcs adaptability of macroalsae to the changing environment.

Biosketch. Dr. Tai Luzzatto Knaan is the head of the Functional Metabolomics lab at the Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences at the University of Haifa. Her lab combines cutting-edge, multidisciplinary approach to explore the ecological and biological roles, regulation, diversity and distribution of natural products in algae, cyanobacteria and microbes, as well as their potential biotechnological and medicinal applications. Tai is the head of the emerging lnterdisciplinary Center for Metabolomics and Natural Products at the University of Haifa and active in the "Homeward Bound" Women in STEMM Leadership Initiative.

Ezri Tazari

Technion Israel Institute of Technology

Bio-inspired ceramic 3D printed artificial reef.

The research focuses on examining the possibilities 3D Printing has on designing highly complex marine habitats made from natural and neutral materials, targeting the phenomenon of coral reef degradation. This decay can be approched locally by creating artificial reefs (ARs). Today, most ARs are created through conventional industrial processes using large-scale manufacturing methods, such as mass-produced concrete casts. The most recent innovation in the field has seen the use of additive 3D printing to better satisfy the need for a reef to provide high morphological attributes for a marine environment. While they demonstrate higher levels of complexity and variety, these methods require a longer time per unit to create compared to conventional fabrication. Hence, these methods need greater scale production abilities, while maintaining the desired complexity features. A new method is being explored for creating ARs in the field of active marine reef nuclei creation using large scale 30 printing. The focus of the research has been on the creation of tabular ceramic bio-inspired corals. To better understand the behavior of the created AR and the deployment process, a custom-made AR was deployed In the Gulf of Ellat/Aqaba, Red Sea.

Biosketch. Prof. Ezri Tarazi is a Full Professor, chair of t-Hub, innovation and entrepreneurship center, chair of Design-Tech Lab, and chair of the Industrial Design program at the Technion. His research focus is at the meeting points between Design and Technology and Science: 1) Nuclei Reef Forming using large 3D printing. 2) Algorithm based reef parametric design 3) 3D printing Materials and manufacturing strategies for large scale Reef Forming. 4) Design Thinking theory and application in education and innovation

Yoav Gothilf

Tel Aviv University

Diversity in the organization of the circadian clock system in teleost fishes.

Many of animals' behaviors and physiological processes are manifested during particular times of the day. These are determined by an endogenous timing mechanism, the circadian clock, providing selective advantages with respect to food availability, predation risk, and other factors. The circadian clock is reset on a daily basis by environmental signals ensuring that it remains synchronized with the predicted daily changes in the environment. The main synchronizer being light. The underlying molecular mechanism of the circadian clock in fish, its entrainment by light, and the function of the fish pineal gland, a photoreceptive central clock organ, have been the focus of my laboratory and collaborators, for the last two decades.

Here I propose to extend our research to species that live in the dark. By collaborating with research groups that collect such samples, I propose to ask how has evolution under such extreme conditions shaped the fishes' circadian clock system. Are the main clock genes still functional? Has the pineal gland degenerated? Are the mechanisms of clock entrainment in place? And, in the absence of light, is the clock entrained by other signals?

Biosketch. Prof. Yoav Gothllf is a Professor in the School of Neurobiology, Biochemistry & Biophysics, Tel-Aviv University. Combining genetic and neuronal manipulations in zebrafish he investigates: 1) the circadian clock system, its diverse organization, mechanism and synchronization by light, 2) Hypothalamic regulation of food-consumption and stress. 3) Hypothalamic control of sexual maturation and reproduction. The latter included work of spawning induction for completing the life cycle of fish species in captivity.

Ofir Levy

University of Tel Aviv

Using computer simulations and Artificial Intelligence models to mitigate biological responses to climate change and habitat loss.

As climate records are broken nearly every year, many ecological systems might be at risk. In my lab, I aim to identify which natural habitats are at risk and why, and the strategies animals can use to cope with climate change. At the Galapagos, the temperatures and precipitation levels are predicted to increase, and the fate of the iconic species of the islands is at risk. In my laboratory, we estimate the risks of climate change using state-of-the-art models. In particular, we integrate climatological and ecological models to understand what biological responses should be expected under climate change. Our models are primarily mechanistic, based on first principles from ecology, physiology, and environmental sciences, but we also develop machine-learning algorithms to downscale meteorological data to high-resolution (<l m) maps of microclimates. Moreover, by combining our models with experimental work that explores the thermal ecology of animals, we aim to explore the strategies that may buffer the impacts of climate change. Using these approaches, we can better plan conservation strategies and sustainable habitat change. I believe these innovative approaches can help plan mitigation strategies and can be readily applied In the Galapagos Islands.

Biosketch. Dr. Ofir Levy is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Zoology, Tel-Aviv University. His lab aims to improve our theoretical and applied understanding of the effects of climate on ecological systems. To this end, he develops environmental and ecophyslologlcal approaches that bring new mechanistic insights into how environments affect organisms. Such insights are crucial for understanding climatic risks to ecological systems and developing management and conservation strategies that can help mitigate such risks.

Adjunct Speakers

Roi Holzman

Tel Aviv University

Understanding the “black box” of larval ecology.

While the adults or most coastal marine fishes are relatively sedentary, their larvae are pelagic and can disperse over large distances and strongly influence the structure and dynamics of coastal ecological assemblages. However, our inablllty to obtain species-level quantitative data for species-rich ichthyoplankton samples has hitherto prevented us from probing into the "black box" of larval ecology. Using a novel combination of metabarcoding of the COl mitochondrial region and photography of larval silhouettes, we were able to identify larvae at the species-level resolution and estimate their abundance - a task previously unattainable. The method was applied for two large sampling campaigns of larval fish in the Mediterranean and Red Sea, providing a quantitative estimation or species-level abundances for 10,000s of larval fish. This method revealed a continuous flux of non-indigenous larvae into both systems, alerting the arrival of species not reported as adults. Community structure of the larval and adult fishes was strikingly different, specifically due to the paucity of rare species in larval samples Our method also provided the first direct evidence for cohesive dispersal in larval fishes. These results provide a unique probe into this "black box" of larval ecology and Identify key drivers of larval dynamics.

Tali Treibiz

Haifa University

Our Eyes Beneath the Sea-Advanced Optical Imaging for Marine Research.

As human access to most of the ocean is very limited, cameras essentially carry out the role of eyes, having the potential to reveal new information about the ocean that is currently unknown.

Nevertheless, currently, the benefit of optical information in the ocean is suboptimal because of limited visibility and distorted appearance. We develop novel computer vision methods and imaging systems for marine monitoring and research. These include reconstruction algorithms for images acquired in scattering media, where we increase the visibility range (between two to four-fold increase) and reconstruct accurate colors. For wide-scale surveys, we are developing small autonomous underwater vehicles and remotely operated vehicles for high resolution mapping of the seafloor. Together with our reconstruction methods these result in high-resolution 3D maps of the marine environment, with true color, and automated methods for processing them. In addition, we are developing novel Imaging systems for in situ imaging in the ocean, such as multispectral imaging, and an underwater microscope that can image benthic organisms up to a resolution of 5 microns.

Evsey Kosman

Tel Aviv University

Measuring and decomposing genetic, functional, and phylogenetic variabillty with applications in Ecology, Population Genetics, and Conservation.

Biodiversity can be expressed in terms of the extent of variability at the genetic level (variation of genes within a population/species), the species level (taxonomic, functional or phylogenetic variability of species in a community/region) and ecosystem level (variety of ecosystems in a region). At the species level conservation planning and prioritization generally have focused on protecting taxa or on protecting habitats and sites with high species richness. An implicit assumption of these approaches is that species are equally different from each other. We propose metrics for conservation planning and- prioritization that include consideration of differences among taxa in their functional characteristics to ensure long-term maintenance of ecosystem functioning and services. New approaches can be adjusted to analysis of variability at the genetic and ecosystem levels. Metrics of functional distinctiveness, irregularity and singularity for a species were defined using a Hill function. They can be weighted by proportional abundance, biomass etc. The metrics can be used to prioritize particular species for conservation based on their functional characteristics or to identify functionally distinct priority areas for conservation, The metrics allow to identify areas that might have low species richness, but whose species are especially functionally distinct, providing important information of conservation relevance.


Yoni Belmaker

Tel Aviv University

The consequences of anthropogenic changes to fishes and fisheries.

Alien species are one of the most significant agents of change in global biodiversity, and are disproportionally impacting island systems such as the Galapagos. Temporal trends in the number of alien species provide one of the most intuitive ways to visualize ongoing invasion. However, the rate of discovery of new alien species is contingent both on the rate of their Introduction and on the likelihood of their detection. Accordingly, trends in appearance of alien species can reflect changes in vector activity, but also 'invasional meltdown', habitat degradation or a warming climate, all of which can increase establishment success. As trends in the number of alien species conflate the roles of sampling, vector activity and establishment success, the consideration of the raw discovery record offers only limited ecological insight for guiding management. I will demonstrate new analytical tool, incorporating models for disentangling the processes that drive trends in the richness of alien species and apply them to the Galapagos Islands as well as to marine fauna or the eastern Mediterranean. This will shed light on the main life-history attributes and environmental correlates associated With introduction and quantity the evidence for invasional meltdown in two highly sensitive ecosystems.

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