• Dave Harmon, PW editor

Israel | MPA status sought for previously underappreciated seabed

Some 200 meters below the surface of the sea, between 10 and 16 kilometers off the Israeli coast, a sloped seabed hides a wealth of life that never seemed to interest too many people. A recently published study, however, reveals that this gradient is home to various species that had never before been seen in that part of the Mediterranean Sea. The researchers argue that given these findings, the area should be declared a protected area to prevent potentially harmful development.

The study was done over eight days in 2017, when the scientists sampled the undersea life on the slope of the upper seabed from a fishing boat. The boat dragged a fishing net along the seabed to collect whatever was growing in that habitat, from a depth of 200 to 570 meters off the coast of Bat Yam, south of Tel Aviv. The living things collected were identified by Dr. Menachem Goren, Dr. Shevi Rothman, Dr. Hank Manis and Dr. Bella Galil from the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History at Tel Aviv University. Another partner to the study was Dr. Roberto Danovaro of the Zoological Station in Naples.

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