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National Institute of Oceanography

The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), located in Haifa on the shore of the Mediterranean, conducts a multi-faceted research program in oceanography and marine biotechnology and provides information and advice to government agencies and public and private sectors with regard to the utilization and conservation of Israel's marine and coastal resources.

The NIO consists of five research groups: Physical Oceanography, Marine Chemistry, Marine Geology and Coastal Processes, Marine Biology and Marine Biotechnology. The institute also houses the IOLRs management and central services including General Administration, Department of Marine Operations, Computer Department, Electronics Laboratory and the main Library.

Oceanographic research at the NIO focuses on Israels three highly diverse seas: the eastern Mediterranean, the Gulf of Aqaba /Eilat (northeastern branch of the Red Sea) and the land-locked Dead Sea. Research activities involve field studies, theoretical and modeling work and laboratory experiments. The broad range of questions considered includes such diverse topics as ocean circulation and mixing; air-sea interaction; coastal erosion; biogeochemical cycles; physiology, developmental biology and ecology of marine organisms and their population dynamics and the impact of human activities on coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.

The research program in marine biotechnology focuses on the development of innovative technologies for exploitation of marine organisms for food and biochemicals and includes topics such as production of biochemicals from marine algae and their medical applications, fish reproduction and growth processes, and cryopreservation of sperm and oocytes of aquaculture fish species. Much of this research is carried out in collaboration with the National Center for Mariculture.

The Israel Marine Data Center at the NIO serves as the national repository for oceanographic data, acquires archives and distributes data and information on Israel's marine environment.

Much of the NIO research addresses issues of regional and global importance and is made in cooperation with academic and research institutions in Israel and world-wide. The Institute participates in several multi-national research and monitoring programs such as Mediterranean monitoring and forecasting systems and international networks for collection and dissemination of oceanographic data.

The professional staff at the NIO includes about 65 scientists, engineers, research assistants and technicians with varied expertise in the marine sciences. In addition, students from Israeli and foreign institutions of high education carry out research projects for advanced degrees (M.Sc. and Ph.D.) under the supervision of NCMs scientists.
The NIO operates advanced facilities for marine research including: research vessels for open sea operations and for coastal research and small craft for shallow water investigations, equipment for high-precision hydrographic surveying and for physical, chemical, biological and geological data collection and sampling, and remote data stations for continuous marine observations. The Institute has analytical laboratories (chemical and biological), experimental facilities provided with flowing seawater (aquaria, holding tanks etc.) and an experimental algal cultivation farm. The NIO Library holds books, scientific journals and professional publications in the marine sciences and is open to the public.

The NIO provides a wide range of professional services including hydrographic, oceanographic and water quality surveys, analyses and modeling; environmental monitoring and assessment; professional consulting; and technology transfer and licensing.

The institute also conducts a Marine Education Program for science-oriented youth.


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