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=> Developing tools for nature conservation in light of land-use changes and climate changes, and ensuring their implementation on-the-ground
=> Identifying factors that determine population dynamics and biodiversity patterns in fragmented, heterogeneous and human-dominated landscapes
=> Linking different ecological levels: animal behavior, the dynamics of populations and metapopulations, community structures and biodiversity patterns in fragmented landscapes
=> Animal-landscape interactions: how the decisions taken by animals in response to landscape cues affect movement patterns, functional connectivity, and the sensitivity of species to habitat loss and fragmentation
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In my research, I try to link different ecological levels: animal behaviour, population (and metapopulation) dynamics, community structures and biodiversity patterns. I continuously combine simulation models with field experiments, to obtain a better understanding of nature but first and foremost for deriving practical tools for conservation. While butterflies serve as a major focal group in my empirical work, my models address a variety of taxa including mammalian predators (e.g. Lynx), plants, and currently birds.
My work involves both theoretic and applied research, as well as monitoring and active participation in science-policy interfaces in an attempt to disseminate scientific knowledge into policy and management.
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Ongoing and completed research projects
Since Oct 2009:
Taking part in SCALES project, which aims to assess how different man-made pressures on natural environments (habitat loss, fragmentation, climate change, land-use changes etc.) affect biodiversity across scales (from genetic to ecosystem level). Concommitantly, the project seeks to identify the means to match the scales of policies and management with the scales of ecosystem processes.
Main responsibilities within the project:
- assessing connectivity across spatial scales
- revieweing Population Viability analyses (PVAs)
- developing methodologies for upscaling and downscaling
The monitoring scheme for butterflies in Israel: leading the program together with Racheli Schwartz-Tzachor and Dubi Benyamini.
2007 - 2009:
Developing an individual-based model to analyse functional connectivity for birds of the Atlantic forest in Brazil, within the Mata Atlantica (BioCAPSP) project.
2006 - 2007:
The life history, ecology and conservation of the critically endangered butterfly Apharitis cilissa (Lycaenidae) in Israel
2005 - 2007:
A campaign for the legal protection and conservation of butterflies in Israel
2005 - 2006:
Linking behavior and biodiversity for butterflies in agricultural landscapes; a study across the climatic gradient in Israel
Participating in a study of biodiversity patterns along altitudinal gradients in Mt. Hermon (an M.Sc. study of Oded Levanoni in collaboration with Dr. Salit Kark)
2004 - 2005:
The ecology of the endangered butterfly Tomares nesimachus (Lycaenidae) in Israel
The relevance of metapopulation theory for plants with seed dormancy
Testing the potential impacts of the perceptual range of animals on a connectivity model, using the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in Germany as a case study
Participating in writing Israel's first national report on Climate Change under the UNFCCC, writing the chapters "Impact, Vulnerability and Adaptation" (in cooperation with Prof. Uriel Safriel)
Assessing the spatial and behavioral determinants of butterfly movement patterns in topographically complex landscapes (PhD study)
Effect of aquifer depletion on mortality of Acacia trees in the Arava valley, Israel – a computerized analysis of aerial photographs (B.Sc research project)
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