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Dr. Tal Amit
Research Assistant

Tal is working on suspension-feeding ecology and physiology. Specifically, she is studying the filtration, metabolism, and ecophysiology of bivalves residing in oligotrophic waters. Her thesis focuses on the understanding of how bivalves survive and what mechanisms have they evolved to adapt to this nutritionally deprived environment. To avoid the inherent biases associated with laboratory confinement of sensitive tropical species, She carries most of her work in situ, with undisturbed animals in their natural habitat. 

Hanna Rapuano
Ph.D. student
Maya Gross
M.Sc. student & Lab manager

Graduate students


Maya is the our manager, and has recently started her M.Sc. with the YL lab. She graduated with a B.Sc. in Marine Science and had undertaken an undergraduate research project involving characterizing the effects of lesioned tissue on the microbiome of sea urchins. Broadly, she is interested in marine ecology and symbiosis in marine fauna. Outside of the lab, Maya enjoys surfing, running, and chilling on the beach.


Hanna is interested in stony coral aging and reproduction. Whether these long living, colonial creatures even age has stumped researchers for decades. Hanna’s research focuses on the possible effects of aging on coral sperm and eggs a as well as evidence of aging in the tissue and DNA using biomarkers for aging in corals from the Red Sea in Eilat. She’s also exploring the importance of biological age on reproduction in these colonial, modular organisms that may possess indeterminate growth.

Noga Gavrieli
M.Sc. student

Noga is investigating the life history traits of scleractinian coral hosts and their associated boring bivalves (Lithophaga spp.) in the Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba. Her research focuses on understanding the possible coevolved reproductive traits between the Lithophaga lessepsiana and its coral host Stylophora pistillata using in situ observations and standard histology. In addition, she will examine the potential breakdown in the coral-bivalve reproductive synchrony using the perspective of previously unpublished data collected by Prof. Yossi Loya.


Alumni-The loya family

Ph.D. students

1982             Yehuda Benayahu: “Population dynamics and life history strategies in Red Sea soft corals”

1982             Baruch Rinkevich: “Calcification and productivity in the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata

1984             Avi Shafir: “Aspects of energy flow within the coral Stylophora pistillata and some of its associates”

1984             Yechiam Schlesinger: “Reproduction and juvenile growth in stony corals”

1988             Craig Browdy: “Growth and reproduction of the shrimp Penaeus semisulcatus in captivity”

1989             Micha Ilan: “Life strategies of sponges from the Red Sea: Reproduction, settlement, and self/non-self-recognition”

1993             Avigdor Abelson: “Biomechanical aspects in the biology and ecology of sessile organisms in coral reefs”

1993             Ofer Mokady: “Bioerosion rate of corals by boring bivalves: A chemical approach”

1994             Ramy Klein: “Skeletal banding in recent and fossil corals”

1995             Amit Lotan: “Medusae blooms in the Mediterranean Sea: Ecological and toxicological aspects”

1998             Ester Kramarsky Winter: “Reproductive strategies of fungiid corals: sexual and asexual reproduction”

1998             Ariel Kushmaro: “Interactions between corals and their associated bacteria” (Co-Supervisor: Prof. E. Rosenberg).

2002            Maoz Fine: “Community structure and dynamics of Mediterranean corals”

2003            Michael Rosenfeld: “The use of contemporary corals in predictive models concerned with global climate change”

2003            Dov Kelman: “Biologically active materials derived from Red Sea organisms”

2003            Omer Choresh: “Expression of heat shock proteins (HSPs) in marine invertebrates: development of an early warning system for disturbed marine environments”

2007             Gidon Winters: “Photoinhibition in corals – effects of UV, PAR, and temperature “(Co-supervisor: Prof. S. Beer).

2007             Noa Shenkar: “Population dynamics of Mediterranean and Red Sea tunicates”

2009             Amy Shlesinger: “Nudibranch/Anemone associations: a study of life histories and interactions”

2010             Assaf Zevoluni: “Spatial patterns in coral reef populations”

2013              Rachel Armosa: “Physiological mechanisms involved in the reproduction of Anthozoa”

2014              Omri Bronstein: “Ecology, biology, and taxonomy of coral-reef associated sea urchins in the Red Sea and western Indian Ocean “

2018              Ada Alamaru: “Molecular systematics of benthic ctenophores (Family:  Coeloplanidae) from the Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba, Red Sea “

2018              Gal Eyal: “Biodiversity of mesophotic (30-60 m depth) scleractinian corals in   the Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba “

2019              Lee Eyal-Shacham: “Individual annual fecundity and reproductive energy investment in solitary corals (Fungiidae) “

2019              Tom Shlesinger: “Demography, reproduction, and taxonomy of scleractinian corals along a large depth gradient (0–60 m) “

2020            Raz Tamir: “Effects of down-welling irradiance and light spectrum on community structure of corals (0-60 m depth) “

2020            Or Ben-Zvi: “Coral fluorescence: Testing the major hypothesis in mesophotic corals “

2022             Netanel Kramer: "Macro- and microscale aspects of scleractinian coral morphology along the shallow-to-mesophotic depths" 

2022             Mila Grinblat: "Biogeography, reproductive biology, and early development in scleractinian corals"

2022             Tal Amit: "In situ study of the metabolic strategies of bivalves residing in oligotrophic seas"

2023             Hanna Rapuano: "Aspects of aging in scleractinian corals" 

M.Sc. students

1975             Yehuda Benayahu: “Quantitative characteristics of stony corals, soft corals, and algae in the northern Gulf of Eilat (Red Sea)”

1975             Baruch Rinkevich: “On the reproduction of Stylophora pistillata (Esper) and harmful effects of oil pollution on its population”

1978             Yechiam Schlesinger: “Effects of phosphate pollution on the community structure of the holothurians Actinopyga bannwarthi and Synapta maculata

1978             Mordehai Shpigel: “Spatial heterogeneity in branching corals and fish species diversity”

1979             Zeev Wolodarsky: “Competition and space partitioning among Trapezia species within the coral Stylophora pistillata

1985             Esther Kramarsky-Winter: “Life history strategy of the bivalve Lithophaga purpurea boring in the coral Cyphastrea chalcidicum

1985             Itzchak Brikner: “Reproductive and settlement strategy of the boring bivalve Lithophaga purpurea in living corals”

1987             Avigdor Abelson: “Aggressiveness in stony corals: Is it competition for space?”

1988             Oved Gur: “Predation and life history strategies of the coral predatory snail Drupella cornus

1988             Sara Sadot: “Life history and reproduction of Pocillopora in the Gulf of Eilat”

1989             Rami Klein: “Sclerochrondogical aspects of hermatypic corals (genus: Porites) in the Gulf of Eilat”

1989             Gila Arazi: “Larval ecology of boring bivalves in living corals”

1990             Oron Prager: “Surface structural complexity and its influence on ecological indices of aquatic communities”

1991               Tamar Liberman: “Possible benefits to the coral Stylophora pistillata from the association with the fish Dascyllus marginatus

1991               Nadav Shashar: “Nitrogen fixation in stony corals”

1996              Vered Shimoni: “Population genetics of boring bivalves in stony corals”

1997              Dalit Trovezky: “Bioerosion of the coral reef by parrotfish” (Co-supervisor: Prof. B. Lazar).

1998              Maoz Fine: “The scleractinian coral Oculina patagonica: A new invader to the Mediterranean Sea, biological and ecological aspects”

1998              Hadas Lubinevsky: “Light and shade adapted Mediterranean corals”

1999              Omer Choresh: “Heat shock proteins in Oculina patagonica: a Mediterranean shallow water coral”

2000            Nachshon Siboni: “Effect of coal pollution on Mediterranean benthic communities”

2001             Gidon Winters: “Photoinhibition in shallow water colonies of Stylophora pistillata as measured in situ.” (Co-supervisor: Prof. S. Beer)

2003            Noa Levin: “Environmental factors influencing the chronic bleaching of the Mediterranean stony coral Oculina patagonica

2003            Meir Sussman: “Fluorescent in situ Hybridization (FISH) reveals the fireworm Hermodice carunculata as a reservoir and a possible

                       vector for the coral pathogen Vibrio shiloi” (Co-supervisor: Prof. E. Rosenberg)

2003            Ofer Ben-Tzvi: “Deterioration Index (DI): a suggested tool for monitoring reef-coral community health“ (Co-supervisor: Prof. A. Abelson)

2003            Omer Polack: “Reproductive cycle of Palythoa sp. at Eilat, Red Sea” (Co-supervisor: Prof. Y. Benayahu)

2004            Amy Shlesinger: “Nematocysts' toxins of the Mediterranean sea-anemone Aiptasia diaphana and their role in external digestion”

2005            Rachel Armoza: “Bio-indicators of stress in scleractinian corals”

2006            Roee Segal: “Molecular characteristics of the bleaching phenomenon of the Mediterranean stony coral Oculina patagonica

2006            Yehonatan Sharon: “Ecology of Lessepsian mussels invading the Mediterranean” (Co-supervisor: Prof. Y. Benayahu)

2006            Daniel Allen: “Community structure of deep (50 m) scleractinian corals in Eilat, Red Sea”

2008            Ada Alamaru: “Trophic Biology of Stylophora pistillata larvae – A stable isotope approach” (Co- supervisor: Prof. A. Shemesh)

2008            Ido Mizrachi: “Sclerochronology of bleached and non-bleached corals” (Co-supervisor: Prof. A. Shemesh)

2008            Maya Weizel: “Bleaching effects on reproduction of a Red Sea scleractinian coral population”

2008            Rafi Yaavetz: “Reproductive cycle of a Mediterranean nudibranch”

2009            Omri Bronstein: ”Morphological and molecular aspects of sea urchins (genus Echinometra) from Okinawa, Zanzibar and Eilat”

2009            Ayelet Dadon: “Mechanisms of bleaching in the Mediterranean coral Oculina patagonica” (Co-supervisor: Prof. M. Fine)

2011               Itzhak Hoskin: “Life history strategies of fungiid corals”

2011               Ran Sulam: “Scleractinian coral community in the northern Gulf of Eilat (Red Sea): Effects of a coral disease and a storm”

2012              Gal Eyal: “Ecology and Taxonomy of mesophotic communities in Israel (Red Sea and Mediterranean)”

2012              Elad Mills: “Bleaching of the coral Oculina patagonica: role of bacteria in coral health and disease” (Co-supervisor: Prof.  E. Rosenberg)

2012              Lee Eyal-Shacham: “Reproductive strategies of deep (mesophotic) reef corals”

2012              Ram Barankin: “A precautionary approach for environmental policy: a basic model for discussion between science, law, and policy”

2014              Tom Shlesinger: “Recruitment and mortality of corals at the coral reefs of Eilat”

2014              Or Ben-Zvi: “Ecophysiological aspects of fluorescence in stony corals”

2015              Tal Amit: “Ecology and Physiology of symbiotic communities of corals along a depth gradient at the Gulf of Eilat”

2016              Hanna Rapuano: “Reproductive strategies of the coral Turbinaria reniformis in the northern Gulf of Eilat, Red Sea”

2017              Mila Grinblat: “Connectivity between mesophotic corals and shallow corals”

2017              Bar Feldman: “Life-history traits of the coral Paramontastrea peresi in shallow vs. mesophotic reef habitats”

2018              Netanel Kramer: “Recruitment dynamics of mesophotic corals in the northern Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba”

2021              Lachan Roth: “Life History and Population Dynamics of Millepora species of the Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba, the Red Sea”

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