Deep-sea shark discovery in Israel sheds light on understanding of marine ecosystems
A research initiative led by the University of Haifa and partners in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea recently revealed deep-sea brine pools and related habitat hotspots, including hundreds of deep-water sharks and the largest concentration of deep-sea shark eggs ever found. These represent one of the most significant discoveries of marine habitats in Israel’s history, with potentially important implications for the world’s understanding of climate change.
In an expedition off Israel’s coast that is part of a long-term collaboration among University of Haifa’s Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Inter-University Institute of Marine Research, researchers uncovered a biologically diverse paradise, including a rich food web-based on methane, as well as the sharks and the shark nursery.
Notably, as one of the planet’s most sensitive areas when it comes to climate change, the Eastern Mediterranean lends substantial insight into conditions that other regions may experience in the future.
“From a global marine research perspective, this discovery can have enormous implications,” said the Charney School’s Yizhaq Makovsky, one of the initiative’s leading researchers. “The Eastern Mediterranean Sea can be regarded as an early-warning system for what we can expect from marine environments across the world. Therefore, we believe that our discovery of a previously unknown deep-sea hotspot of life could provide crucial information for the sustainability and resilience of the marine ecosystem not only in the Eastern Mediterranean but also globally in other oceans.”
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