Mediterranean continental shelf and deep sea studies
The coast and the Mediterranean continental shelf of Israel are experiencing in recent decades rapid natural and man-made changes. Global rise of sea level following rapid warming of the planet, and especially the reduced supply of sediment and nutrients originating from the Nile to the Mediterranean Sea about 50 years ago, affect sediment characteristics and ecology along the coast of Israel. A sandy sediment strip stretches along Israel's continental shelf to a depth of approximately 35 m, and beyond it are fine-grained sediment. Underwater calcarenite ridges (with hard substrate) are particularly common in northern Israel continental shelf up to a depth of approximately 40 m. These ridges are known for their high species variety, in contrast with the adjacent sandy or fine grained environment.
From the end of the 19th century, after the opening of the Suez Canal, an ongoing process started - which has accelerated in recent decades - of invasion of species from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, which completely alters the flora and fauna along the Israeli coastline and especially the hard substrate.