In spite of the natural harsh marine environments and continuous global change stressors affecting the Levant basin, the Israeli marine flora in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea is quite diverse, with about 300 recognized species. Such high seaweed biodiversity for a small maritime area is remarkable compared to the ca. 1200 species described for the entire Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Since about the year 1890, the Levant basin has been hosting over 115 seaweeds species that migrated from the Indo-Pacific through the Suez Canal. Indeed, approximately 16% of the marine flora is regarded as invasive or exotic to the Israeli shores, in a process that constantly reshapes seaweed populations and their biodiversity. In spite of significant contributions by Israeli scientists to the general biology and technologies for seaweed cultivation worldwide, Israel has little historical and cultural tradition of commercial seaweed cultivation, or use. At present, only two commercial companies are engaged in land-based seaweed cultivation (Ulva sp. and Gracilaria sp.) with a number of products marketed locally and abroad. Recently, offshore cultivation and biorefinery approaches have been explored, but not yet commercialized.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
AI and AG thank the Ministry of Science and Technology, Israel (Grant No. 3–99763), Ministry of Health, Fund for Medical Studies and Infrastructures Development, Israel (Grant No. 3-12788), and Ministry of Energy Infrastructures and Water Resources, Israel for financial support. This work also received support from the Israeli National Monitoring Program. AN thanks the contribution of Research Grant Award No. US – 4599-13R from BARD, The United States – Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund.
©2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.
- invasive seaweeds
- land-based cultivation
- offshore cultivation
- seaweed industry
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science
- Plant Science