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Prof. Yossi Loya

Yossi Loya is a Professor Emeritus at Tel-Aviv University (TAU), where he has been a faculty member in the School of Zoology for over 45 years. He completed his B.Sc. in Biology and M.Sc. in Zoology in 1967 at TAU. In 1971 he completed his Ph.D. at SUNY Stony Brook, USA and a post-doctorate at the Woods-Hole Oceanographic Institute. In 1972 he returned to Israel and appointed lecturer at Tel Aviv University. In 1985 he became Full Professor.

He has been Chair of the Zoology Department (1989-90); Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences (1990-95); Founder and Chairman of the Porter School for Environmental studies (1996-2000). In 1996, he was appointed the Raynor Chair for Environmental Conservation Research.

In 2009, he was elected member of the Israel National Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He served in many national and international scientific committees and professional tasks e.g., Founding Co-Editor of the journal Coral Reefs (1982-1986); Co-Chair in GEF/IOC/World Bank Working Group on Coral Bleaching (2004- 2011); Chair of the Scientific Management Committee of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (2006-2014). Since 2012 he is Chair of the National Biological Collections and since 2015 he is Chair of the Committee of the Batsheva de Rothschild Fund for the Advancement of Science in Israel (both under the auspices of the Israel National Academy of Sciences).


He focused his studies on the ecology, management and conservation of coral reefs. His research was published in over 300 peer-reviewed papers and four books. His seminal, highly cited publications on quantifying changes in biodiversity and assessing reef health are practiced by almost every reef scientist worldwide. He has a remarkable contribution in promoting ecological research and education in Israel supervising several generations of students, who today constitute a significant portion of the academic backbone of marine ecology research in Israel.

His scientific achievements have earned him many honors, including: the Queen Elizabeth Fellow "for excellence in oceanic science" (1979-80); the international highly prestigious Darwin Medal (2000) "in recognition of his life-time seminal contribution to coral-reef science"; the Landau Prize (2003) "for original outstanding research contribution to the field of Ecology and Environmental Quality"; the honorable membership of the Israel Society of Zoology (2011) "in recognition of his important contribution to research, teaching, education and nature conservation". In 2015 he was awarded the most prestigious scientific Israeli EMET Prize "for his pioneering and groundbreaking achievements in coral reef research and for his seminal contribution in developing quantitative methodologies for assessment of the biodiversity and health of coral communities, and knowledge of their reproductive strategies". In 2023 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Israeli Association for Ecology and Environmental Sciences for brilliant research excellence of the coral reef, for endless public activity and struggles to preserve the coral reefs in Eilat , and the leadership of the Department of Zoology and the Faculty of Life Sciences at Tel Aviv University, while educating a huge generation of students and developing the future generation of marine researchers in Israel.

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