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Foraminifera as bioindicators of marine environments

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Research:

I am committed to a career on foraminiferal research and their use as indicators of ancient and modern marine environments. My research involves multidisciplinary investigations of recent and fossil foraminifera that include fieldwork (both land and sea), traditional and molecular taxonomy, phylogeny, stratigraphy, faunal analysis, sedimentology, and stable isotopes geochemistry.

One important part of my research is focused on understanding the distribution of Late Cretaceous foraminiferal habitats, documenting their response to global climatic changes, and characterizing their taxonomy, phylogeny and the ecological strategies of individual species. I have characterized foraminiferal assemblages from many Late Cretaceous localities, established a detailed depth ranking of species based on stable isotope analyses and demonstrated the importance of high-resolution studies in tracing paleoceanographic changes. I am now also engaged on applying insights on fossil foraminifera and environments to the study of modern oceanic ecosystems. One of my recent studies is aimed to document the response of benthic communities to possible future climate warming by monitoring the effect of local warming on the benthic foraminiferal population living in the shallow coastal Mediterranean environments. Another recently completed study involved ecological monitoring of the benthic foraminifera response upon removal of aquaculture fishcages in the Gulf of Aqaba-Elat. I have also recently established molecular genetic tools in my laboratory to be able to explore fundamental ecological and oceanographic problems that concern the impact of environmental perturbations on the marine ecosystem. Our main focus at this point is to document the large-scale invasion of alien tropical species, into the Eastern Mediterranean by comparing the genetic diversity and morphological and ecological characteristics of selected foraminifera from the Israeli Mediterranean coast and the Red Sea.

This talk is part of the Sedgwick Club talks series.

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