“Environmental Impacts Know No Boundaries”: Marine environment program to bring on board students from Israel, Palestinian Territories, Egypt, Tunisia, Italy

Herzliya, October 19, 2010 – A unique marine environment training program is set to bring together graduate students from across the Mediterranean basin – including Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, Egypt, Greece, Turkey and Italy – to navigate them though the current environmental concerns in the Mediterranean Sea and provide them with the tools to help solve them.

The two-week program, called ‘Environmental Impacts Know No Boundaries’, will take place on board EcoOcean’s R/V Mediterranean Explorer and Environmental Ocean Team’s S/Y Adriatica in the Ligurian Sea and at a research center in La Spezia, Italy.

The Mediterranean Sea has been invaluable in shaping the economic, technological and cultural development of the nationalities and countries surrounding the Mediterranean basin, and has had far-reaching influence on the rest of the world. As a natural eco-system, the Mediterranean Sea harbors and sustains a diversity of life from microbial food-webs to aquatic plants and sea-grasses, fish and human populations. Yet the expanding human populations and the increasing rates of human-induced changes have impacted the Mediterranean causing a variety of problems such as coastal pollution, declines in species diversity and abundance, and destruction of eco-systems by invasive species and toxic blooms.

“By their nature, these challenges to the Mediterranean system are regional and are not limited to local or national boundaries or borders,” says EcoOcean founder, Swedish-Israeli, Andreas Weil. “In order to effectively address these issues, research and management solutions must overcome many of the traditional political conflicts and constraints.”

As he stresses, “Environmental impacts know no boundaries. So, only joint approaches and regional cooperation will help tackle the current and future threats to the health of this fragile eco-system.”

According to EcoOcean director, Daniel Schaffer, the first part of the program will be devoted to theoretical and background studies, while the second half of the course will be at sea – where a practical research project will be explored and the students will acquire “hands-on” training.

The program is being coordinated jointly by Israeli NGO EcoOcean and Italian organization Environmental Ocean Team in Italy, in cooperation with the city of La Spezia, CNR-ISMAR (National Research Council), ENEA (Italian National Agency for new technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development), INGV (National Institute for Geophysic and Vulcanology) and NOCS (National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK).

The pilot program will be open to 16 graduate-level (Ph.D.) students from Mediterranean and associated countries, and is planned to coincide with the Marine Festival of La Spezia in June 2011.

Opportunities will be available for the press to join the on-board activities at sea. Arrangements should be made with EcoOcean in advance.

EcoOcean is an Israeli non-profit organization, acting to maintain a healthy marine environment in the eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

For further details, contact:
Daniel Schaffer
EcoOcean Director

Tel: +972 (0)544 727 030