Europe in Israel Online - Rescuing the reefs
CoralWarm, a joint research project by Israeli, Italian and Palestinian scientists on the effects of climate changes on coral reefs in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea was awarded a significant EU grant under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Scientists hope that with the collected data they will be able to understand how coral reefs react to global warming, to forecast related risks and to minimize them.
In June 2010, the European Research Council, an EU funding body that aims to stimulate research in new and promising areas, awarded a grant of over € 3 million to conduct a five year study on the effect of global warming on coral reefs. The project, "Corals and global warming: the Mediterranean versus the Red Sea (CoralWarm)", was selected out of 1,500 applicants and is conducted by researchers from Israel's Bar-Ilan University, Italy's University of Bologna and Palestinian scientists and students from Al-Quds University in Jerusalem. It will focus on fundamental questions concerning the future of the marine ecosystem.
Coral reefs, the habitat of hundreds of fish species, are very sensitive to any change in the environment. Global warming poses an existential threat to these delicate eco-systems. Rising water temperatures, increasing pollution and water acidity endanger the existence of coral reefs worldwide. The deterioration of coral reefs not only creates an ecological threat but also has economic consequences. Communities depending on tourism, fisheries and marine culture will be strongly affected if the deterioration of these eco-systems continues.
With part of the grant, the scientists will set up a special laboratory fitted with marine aquaria where they will collect data about Mediterranean and Red Sea key coral species. The main goal of the project is to develop a predictive model that will enable scientists to foresee how coral reefs will change over the next 50 to 100 years. Additionally, the project should help them to bio-engineer remedies in advance, such as developing more resistant species.
The European Research Council is a flagship component of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) with an overall budget of € 7.5 billion over a 7 year period (2007-2013). FP7, in which Israel is a full member, is the Union's main instrument for funding research with the aim of gaining leadership in key scientific and technological areas, to stimulate research and to develop human potential.
Further information about the project CoralWarm:
Homepage of the European Research Council:
Further information on the EU's Seventh Framework Programme: