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Massive deep-water shark nursery discovered off Tel Aviv coast

Researchers say the find, which includes thousands of shark eggs, may help give insight into future climate conditions in other regions

Hundreds of small sharks are seen off the coast of Tel Aviv, according to an August 11, 2021 report. (University of Haifa, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, Ben Gurion University, and Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat)
Hundreds of small sharks are seen off the coast of Tel Aviv, according to an August 11, 2021 report. (University of Haifa, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, Ben Gurion University, and Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat)

Hundreds of deep-water sharks and thousands of deep-sea shark eggs near Tel Aviv were recently discovered by researchers, who say the discovery could shed light on climate change.

The researchers announced the find on Wednesday, saying it represented “one of the most significant discoveries of marine habitats in Israel’s history.”

The biologically diverse paradise was uncovered by researchers from Haifa University’s Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and the Interuniversity Institute of Marine Research.

The researchers said that because the sea is one of the planet’s most sensitive areas when it comes to climate change, the discovery may give insight into climate-related conditions that other regions may experience in the future.

“From a global marine research perspective, this discovery can have enormous implications,” Charney School’s Dr. Yizhaq Makovsky said in a Wednesday statement. “The Eastern Mediterranean Sea can be regarded as an early-warning system for what we can expect from marine environments across the world.”

The researchers said the shark nursery has existed for a long time and could be the region’s largest mating location for these deep-sea sharks.

Thousands of shark eggs are seen off the coast of Tel Aviv, according to an August 11, 2021 report. (University of Haifa, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, Ben Gurion University, and Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat)

“This was happening under our noses for thousands of years, right next to Tel Aviv, one of the largest cities in Israel,” Makovsky said. “It was hiding in plain sight, which highlights how little we know about the deep sea — not just off the coast of Israel, but around the world. This is a global challenge.”

He also said the discovery was “shocking,” as the Eastern Mediterranean is “thought of as an ocean desert.”

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