Dr. Sigal Shefer (Lab Manager)
My main interest is in Taxonomy of Phylum Porifera.
I am generating updated collection and database of the sponge community along the Mediterranean coast of Israel. The study includes collecting new samples in the field followed by morphological and molecular identification.
As part of my work in the Lab I am also involved in studies focusing on the following topics: Symbiosis between marine organisms and sponges, Marine-derived natural products and Chemical ecology.
Liron Goren (Post Doc.)
Understanding multi-species systems, mainly polychaetes and other macro in
vertebrates, and the processes that govern their distribution, diversity and functions through time and space. In particular I study the biodiversity and community composition of sponge-associated polychaetes (and other invertebrates) in shallow habitats and mesophotic sponge-grounds along the Mediterranean coast of Israel.
Tal Idan (Ph.D candidate)
1. Describe the mesophotic sponge community at the Israeli coast and compare it to
that of the upperphotic zone in regard to- Species composition, Live coverage
2. Assess the culturable microbial community of Axinella polypoides on two spatial scales- depth and geographic
Lilah Raijman (Ph.D candidate)
1. Determine and describe the community composition and diversity of sponges associated with both shallow and mesophotic coral reefs in Eilat.
2. Investigate the ability of sponge species inhabiting both habitats as well as mesophotic-restricted species, to tolerate and adapt to increased water temperature.
Shani Shoham (Ph.D candidate)
Characterization of arsenic- tolerance in Theonella swinhoei's associated bacteria. With a special focus on the sponge's most common bacterium Entotheonella sp. and the arsenic bio-mineralization process within the bacterium
Eyal Ben-Dorcoh (M.sc Student)
characterization of culturable fungal communities associated with the Mediterranean sea sponge Agelas oroides. To do so, I focus on the diversity of the sponge-associated fungi and the influence of salinity and temperature on fungal growth.
Raz Moskovich (M.sc Student)
Test the hypothesis that HMA sponges compensate for their lower pumping rate by a higher metabolic efficiency. To that end , I will conduct continuous, in situ measurements of sponge respiration rates along with measurements of the sponge pumping rates and diet composition. Those measurements will allow me to deduce the energy efficiency and specific metabolism of the HMA vs. LMA sponges and to elucidate the natural variation in these processes along a diurnal cycles.
Boaz Orel (M.sc Student)
1. Succesfuly acclimate the sponge Chondrosia reniformis from the mesophotic depth to the shallow water and culture it for natural products.
2.Check the survival of the sponge chondrosia reniformis under heat stress for future conclusions of global warming impact .