Artificial Reef Placed In the Red Sea
March 16, 2011
A Cooperative Project between Israelis and Jordanians
One of the projects initiated by Dr. Nadav Shashar, the marine biology lecturer who is in charge of students’ marine projects at BGU’s Eilat campus, is the development and placement of artificial reefs to reduce environment Researchal pressure on the region’s natural reef. Back in April 2007, students and faculty installed the first new artificial reef, called the Tamar Reef, in the northern end of the Gulf of Eilat. Now the reef is covered with coral and has attracted fish to make it a perfect alternative dive site.
This project is part of collaboration between Israelis and Jordanians to restore the local reef culture in the Gulf. The Tamar Reef is the first of four reefs to be installed – two on the Israeli side, and two on the Jordanian region of the Gulf. Students and faculty from both countries will work together to study the artificial reef and how it affects the marine ecology in the area.
Artificial reefs are man-made, underwater structures built to promote marine life and control beach erosion. The Ben-Gurion University reefs are designed to provide hard surfaces to which corals can adhere and which will attract fish. Restoring the underwater life that has been destroyed as a result of heavy underwater tourist “traffic” of swimmers and divers is the main objective.
In Eilat alone, about 150,000 dives are performed annually in the Coral Beach Nature Preserve – a reef that is less than 1 kilometer long. The project aims to develop alternative dive sites that will take some of the human pressure off the natural reef. The new Tamar Reef will offer an alternative diving site for lovers of coral reefs.
“In many places, reefs are being degraded to the point where even the bare rocks are gone,” said Nadav Shashar. “Therefore, we are trying to build a new reef environment Research that will be different from the natural reefs in the vicinity, which will allow and even encourage the survival of species that are rare to the local area. So not only will we expand the reef area – on a very small scale – we will also strengthen the most vulnerable species and communities,” said Shashar. This, he noted, “is most exciting, as it is the ultimate challenge to an ecologist.”
Together with Jordanian students, BGU’s marine biology students will study the effects of artificial reefs on marine culture in the area, hoping to change the delicate balance of underwater life for the better.
About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. Activities include showcasing BGU’s academic excellence and cutting-edge research through educational programs, events and informative communications. AABGU’s main purpose is to support Ben-Gurion’s vision and the university that bears his name by creating a community of Americans committed to improving the world tomorrow from the heart of the Israeli desert today.
A. Lavin Communications