Prof. Marcelo Sternberg

ביולוגיה מול.ואקול.צמחים סגל אקדמי בכיר
Prof. Marcelo Sternberg
Phone: 03-6405877
Fax: 03-6409159
Office: Britannia-Porter, 612

Research Interests

I am an experimental ecologist interested on the effects of global changes on natural plant communities. Within this topic I address questions spanning plant community ecology, plant population ecology, evolution and ecosystem functioning. The list of keywords describing my work includes: soil seed bank dynamics, grazing effects on natural systems, global climate change, climatic gradients, species diversity, plant invasion.


I was formerly the Chairman of the Israel Society of Ecology & Environmental Sciences


Watch a video on our our research study sites on climate change.


Recent Publications

Sternberg, M., Golodets, C. Gutman, M., Perevolotsky, Kigel, J. Henkin, Z. (2017) No precipitation legacy effects on aboveground net primary production (ANPP) and species diversity in grazed Mediterranean grassland: a 21-year experiment. Journal of Vegetation Science 28: 260-269 . PDF

Kreyling, J., Dengler, J., Walter, J., Velev, N., Ugurlu, E., Sopotlieva, D., Ransijn, J., Picon-Cochard, C., Nijs, I., Hernandez, P., G?ler, B., von Gillhaussen, P., De Boeck, H., Bloor, J.M.G., Berwaers, S., Beierkuhnlein, C., Abu Sayed, M., Khan, A., Apostolova, I., Altan, Y., Zeiter, M., Wellstein, C., Sternberg, M., Stampfli, A., Campetella, G., Bartha, S., Bahn, M., Jentsch, A. (2017) Species richness increases resilience after drought in a continental-scale coordinated experiment. Ecology Letters 20: 1405-1413 . PDF

Sternberg, M. (2016) From America to the Holy Land: Disentangling plant traits of the invasive Heterotheca subaxillaris (Lam.) Britton & Rusby. Plant Ecology 217: 1307-1314 - doi:10.1007/s11258-016-0656-z  . PDF


Estiarte, M., Vicca, S., Peñuelas, J., Fay, P.A., Kigel, .J, Kröel-Dulay, G., Lellei-Kovács, E., Ogaya, R., Sala, O., Smith, A., Sowerby, A., Sternberg.  M., Tietema, A., Janssens, IA.  (2016) Few multi-year precipitation-reduction experiments find a shift in the productivity-precipitation relationship. Global Change Biology 22: 2570–2581 - DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13269


Rysavy, A., Seifan, M., Sternberg, M., Tielbörger, K. (2016) Neighbour effects on shrub seedling establishment override climate change impacts in a Mediterranean community. Journal of Vegetation 27: 227-237 - DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12359


Pither, J., Fraser, L. H., A. Jentsch, Sternberg, M., Zobel, M., et al. (2016) Response to comment on "Worldwide evidence of a unimodal relationship between productivity and plant species richness". Science 351: 457 – DOI: 10.1126/science.aad8019.


Lado, M., Inbar, A., Sternberg, M., Ben-Hur, M. (2016) Effectiveness of granular polyacramide to reduce soil erosion during consecutive rainstorms in a calcic regosol exposed to different fire conditions. Land Degradation & Development 27: 1453-1462 - DOI: 10.1002/ldr.2448


Fraser, L. H., Partel, M., Pither, J., Jentsch, A., Sternberg, M., Zobel, M. (2015) Response to comment on "Worldwide evidence of a unimodal relationship between productivity and plant species richness". Science 350: 1177 –

DOI: 10.1126/science.aad4874  


Fraser, L. H., Pither, J. Schmidt, A., Jentsch, A., Sternberg, M., Zobel, M., et al. (2015) Worldwide evidence of a unimodal relationship between productivity and plant species richness. Science 349:302-305 – DOI: 10.1126/science.aab3916


Hoffman, R., Liu, S.L., Lipkin, Y., Sternberg, M. (2015) First record of Dichotomaria cf. obtusata (J. Ellis & Solander) Lamarck (Nemaliales, Rhodophyta) in the Mediterranean. Mediterranean Marine Science 16:325-330. PDF


Golodets, C., Sternberg, M., Kigel, J., Boeken, B., Henkin, Z., Seligman, N. G., Ungar, E. U. (2015) Climate change scenarios of biomass production along an aridity gradient: vulnerability increases with aridity. Oecologia  177:971–979 . PDF


Sternberg, M., Yakir D. (2015) Coordinated approaches for studying long-term ecosystem responses to global change: from local scales to big ecology. Oecologia  177:921–924. PDF


Henkin, Z., Ungar, E.D.,Perevolotsky, A.,Gutman, M. Yehuda, Y. Dolev, A. Landau, S., Sternberg, M., Seligman, N. G. (2015) Trade-offs between stocking rate, range productivity and livestock performance in a Mediterranean grassland. Rangeland Ecology & Management 68:332-340. PDF


Snir, A., Nadel, D. Groman-Yaroslavski, I. Melamed, Y., Sternberg, M. Bar-Yosef, O, Weiss, E. (2015) The origin of cultivation and proto-weeds, long before Neolithic farming PLOS ONE DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131422. PDF


Fraser, L. H., Pither, J. Schmidt, A., Jentsch, A., Sternberg, M., Zobel, M., et al. (2015) Evidence to support the unimodal relationship between species richness and biomass production in herbaceous grassland communities: a globally distributed coordinated experiment. Science 349:302-305. PDF


Sternberg, M., Golodets, C. Gutman, M., Perevolotsky, A., Ungar, E.D., Kigel, J. Henkin, Z. (2015) Testing the limits of resistance: a 19-yr study of Mediterranean grassland response to grazing regimes Global Change Biology - doi: 10.1111/gcb.12866
Inbar, A., Ben-Hur, M., Sternberg, M., Lado, M (2015) Using polyacrylamide to mitigate post-fire soil erosion. Geoderma 239-240: 107-114 PDF
Ruppert, J.C., Harmoney, K., Henkin, Z., Snyman, H.A., Sternberg, M., Willms, W., Linstädter, A. (2015) Quantifying drylands’ drought resistance and recovery: The importance of drought intensity, dominant life history and grazing regime. Global Change Biology – doi: 10.1111/gcb.12777
Hoffman, R., Sternberg, M. Serio, D. (2014) First report of Laurencia chondrioides (Ceramiales, Rhodophyta) and its invasibility in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Botanica Marina 57: 449–457 PDF

Tielbörger, K., Bilton, M.C., Metz, J., Kigel, J., Holzapfel, C., Lebrija-Trejos, E., Konsens, I.Parag, H., Sternberg, M. (2014) Middle-Eastern plant communities tolerate 9 years of drought in a multi-site climate manipulation experiment. Nature Communication 5 doi:10.1038/ncomms6102 PDF


Sternberg, M., Gabay, O., Angel, D., Barneah, O., Gafny, S., Gasith, A., Grünzweig, J.M., Hershkovitz, Y., Israel, A., Milstein, D., Rilov, G., Steinberger, Y., Zohary, T. (2014) Impacts of climate change on biodiversity in Israel – an expert assessment approach. Regional Environmental Change DOI 10.1007/s10113-014-0675-z PDF


Rysavy, A., Seifan, M., Sternberg, M., Tielbörger, K. (2014) Shrub seedling dynamics under climate change - comparing establishment and survival along natural and experimental rainfall gradients.Journal of Arid Environments 111: 14-21 PDF


Eshel, G., Lifschitz, D., Bonfil, D.J., Sternberg, M. (2014) Carbon exchange in rainfed wheat fields:  Effects of long-term tillageand fertilization under arid conditions. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 195: 112-119 PDF


Fraser, L.H., Jentsch A.,   Sternberg, M. (2014) What drives plant species diversity? A global distributed test of the unimodal relationship between herbaceous species richness and plant biomass.Journal of Vegetation Science   DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12167. PDF


Inbar, A., Lado, M., Sternberg, M ., Tenau, H., Ben-Hur, M. (2014) Forest fire effects on soil chemical and physicochemical properties, infiltration, runoff, and erosion in a semiarid Mediterranean region. Geoderma 221:131-138 PDF


Golodets, C., Sternberg, M., Kigel, J., Boeken, B., Henkin, Z., Seligman, N. G., Ungar, E. D. (2013) From desert to Mediterranean rangelands: will increasing drought and inter-annual rainfall variability affect herbaceous annual primary productivity? Climatic Change DOI 10.1007/s10584-013-0758-8 PDF


Fraser, L.H., AL Henry, H., Carlyle, C.N., White, S.R., Beierkuhnlein, C., Cahill Jr., J.F., Casper, B. B., Cleland, E., Collins, S.L., Dukes, J.S., Knapp, A. K., Lind, E., Long, R., Luo, Y., Reich, P. B., Smith, M.D.,Sternberg, M., Turkington, R. (2012) Coordinated Distributed Experiments: an emerging tool for testing global hypotheses in ecology and environmental science. Frontiers in Ecology & Environment; doi:10.1890/110279.PDF



Golodets, C., Kigel,   C. ,Sapir , Y., Sternberg, M . (2013) Quantitative vs. qualitative vegetation sampling methods: a lesson from a grazing experiment in a Mediterranean grassland .   Journal of Applied Vegetation Science   16: 502-508 PDF



Sherman, C., Sternberg, M., Steinberger, Y. (2012) Effects of climate change on soil respiration and carbon processing in Mediterranean and semi-arid regions: An experimental approach. European Journal of Soil Biology 52: 48-58. PDF


Angert, A., Weiner, T., Mazeh, S., Sternberg, M. (2012) Soil phosphate stable oxygen isotopes across rainfall and bedrock gradients. Environmental and Science Technology 46: 2156−2162. PDF


Tielbörger, K., Fleischer, A., Menzel, L. Metz, J., Sternberg, M. (2011) The aesthetics of water and land - a promising concept for managing scarce water resources under climate change. Philosophical Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 368: 5323-5337 PDF


Sternberg, M., Holzapfel, C., Tielbörger, K., Sarah, P., Kigel, J., Lavee, H., Fleischer, A., Jeltsch, F. and Köchy, M. (2011). The Use and Misuse of Climatic Gradients for Evaluating Climate Impact on Dryland Ecosystems - an Example for the Solution of Conceptual Problems. Climate Change - Geophysical Foundations and Ecological Effects. Blanco, J. and Kheradmand, H. (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-419-1, InTech, Available HERE


Angert, A., Weiner, T., Mazeh, S., Tamburini, F., Frossard, E., Bernasconi, S.M., Sternberg, M . (2011) Seasonal variability of soil phosphate stable oxygen isotopes in rainfall manipulation experiments. Geochimicaet Cosmochimica Acta 75: 4216-4227. PDF


Henkin, Z., Ungar, E. D., Dvash, L., Perevolotsky, A., Yehuda, Y., Sternberg, M., Voet, H. and Landau, S. Y. (2011). Effects of cattle grazing on herbage quality in a herbaceous Mediterranean rangeland. Grass and Forage Science 66: 516-525. PDF


Talmon, Y., Sternberg, M., Grünzweig, J.M. (2011) Impact of rainfall manipulations and biotic controls on soil respiration in Mediterranean and desert ecosystems along an aridity gradient. Global Change Biology 17: 1108-1118 PDF


Golodets, C., Kigel, J., Sternberg, M. (2011) Plant diversity partitioning in grazed Mediterranean grassland at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Journal of Ecology 48: 1260-1268. PDF


Harel, D., Holzapfel, C., Sternberg, M. (2011). Seed mass and dormancy of annual plant populations andcommunities decreases with aridity and rainfall predictability. Basic and Applied Ecology 12 :674-684   PDF


Lebrija-Trejos, E., Cardiel Lobato, C., Sternberg, M. (2011) Reproductive traits and seed dynamics at two environmentally contrasting annual plant communities: from fieldwork to theoretical expectations. Israel Journal of Ecology & Evolution 57: 73-90. PDF


Sternberg, M. (2011) From state-transition models to ecosystem services – A compendium in honor of Imanuel Noy-Meir's legacy. Israel Journal of Ecology & Evolution 57: 1-4 (editorial PDF file)


Har-Edom, O. L., Sternberg, M. (2010) Invasive species and climate change: Conyza canadensis (L.)Cronquist as a tool for assessing the invasibility of natural plant communities along an aridity gradient.Biological Invasions 12 : 1953-1960 PDF


Golodets, C., Kigel, J., Sternberg, M. (2010) Recovery of plant species composition and ecosystem function after cessation of grazing in a Mediterranean grassland. Plant & Soil 329: 365-378. PDF


Samocha, Y., Sternberg, M. (2010). Herbivory by sucking mirid bugs can reduce nectar production in Asphodelus aestivus Brot. Arthropods-Plant Interactions 4: 153-158 PDF


Metz, J., Liancourt, P. Kigel, J. Harel, D., Sternberg , M., Tielbörger, K. (2010). Plant survival in relation to seed size and dormancy along environmental gradients: A long-term study from semi-arid and Mediterranean plant communities. Journal of Ecology 98: 697-704. PDF


Golodets, C., Sternberg, M., Kigel, J. (2009). A community-level test of the Leaf-Height-Seed ecology strategy scheme in relation to grazing conditions. Journal of Vegetation Science 20: 392-402 PDF


Samocha, Y., Shenklar, G., Korol, L., Sternberg, M. (2009) From mesic to arid environments: morphological and genetic divergence in Asphodelus aestivus Brot. populations. Israel Journal of Plant Sciences 57: 91-102PDF


Yu, S., Bell, D., Sternberg, M., Kutiel, P. (2008). The effect of microhabitats on vegetation and its relationships with seedlings and soil seed bank in a Mediterranean coastal sand dune community. Journal of Arid Environments. 72: 2040-2053. PDF


Aboling, S., Sternberg, M., Perevolotsky, A., Kigel, J. (2008). Cattle grazing effects on soil seed banks and regeneration strategies in a Mediterranean grassland. Community Ecology 9: 97-106. PDF


Pakeman, R., Garnier, E., Lavorel, S., Ansquer, P., Castro, H., Cruz, P., Dolezal, J., Eriksson, O., Golodets, C., Kigel J., Kleyer, M., Leps, J., Meier, T., Papadimitriou, M., Papanastasis, V., Quested, H., Quetier, F., Rusch, G., Sternberg, M. Theau, JP., Thébault, A. (2008). Impact of abundance weighting on the response of seed traits to climate and land use. Journal of Ecology 96: 355-366. PDF


Henkin, Z., Landau, Y., Ungar, E., Perevolotsky, A., Yehuda, Y., Sternberg, M. (2007). Effect of timing and intensity of grazing on herbage quality in a Mediterranean rangeland. Journal of Animal and Feed Sciences.16: 318-32. PDF


Garnier, E., Lavorel, S., Ansquer, P., Castro, H., Cruz, P., Dolezal, J., Eriksson, O., Fortunel, C., Freitas, H., Golodets, C., Grigulis, K., Jouany, C., Kazakou, E., Kigel, J., Kleyer, M., Lehsten, V., Leps, J., Meier, T., Pakeman, R. Rusch, G.; Skarpe, C., Sternberg, M., Theau, J.P., Thebault, A., Vile, D., Zavaroli, M.P. (2007).A standardized methodology and lessons from an application to 11 European sites. Annals of Botany 99: 967-985. PDF


Yu, S., Sternberg, M., Kutiel, P., Chen, H. (2007). Seed mass, shape, and persistence in the soil seed bank of Israeli coastal sand dune flora. Evolutionary Ecology Research. 9: 325-340. PDF


Diaz, S., Lavorel, S., McIntyre, S., Falczuk, V., Casanoves, F., Milchunas, D., Skarpe, C., Rusch, G.,Sternberg, M., Noy-Meir, I., Landsberg, J., Wei, Z., Clark, H., Campbell, B. (2007). Grazing and plant traits Aglobal synthesis. Global Change Biology 12: 1-29. PDF


Kaligaric, M., Skornik, S., Ivancic, A., Rebeusek, F., Kramberger, B., Sternberg, M., Sencic, L. (2006).Restoration efforts on declining population of Pulsatilla grandis, (Ranunculaceae) - could revitalization by seeding be successful? Israel Journal of Plant Sciences. 54: 9-17. PDF


Holzapfel, C., Tielboerger, K., Parag, H., Kigel, J., Sternberg, M. (2006). Annual plant-shrub interactions along an aridity gradient in Israel. Basic and Applied Ecology. 7: 268-279. PDF


Petru, M., Tielboerger, K., Belkin, R., Sternberg, M., Jeltsch, F. (2006). ) Life history variation in an annual plant under two opposing selective forces along a steep climatic gradient. Ecography 29: 66-74. PDF


Fleischer, A., Sternberg, M. (2006). The Economic Impact of Global Climate Change on Mediterranean Rangeland Ecosystems: A Space-for-Time Approach. . Ecological Economics. 59: 287-29. PDF


Henkin, Z., Sternberg, M., Seligman, N., Noy-Meir, I. (2006). Species richness in relation to phosphorus enrichment and competition in a Mediterranean dwarf-shrub community. Agriculture, Ecosystems andEnvironment. 113: 277-283. PDF


Radhakrishnan, M., Waisel, Y., Sternberg, M. (2006). Kikuyu grass a valuable salt tolerant fodder grass.Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. 37: 1269-1279. PDF


Sternberg, M., Gishri, N., Mabjeesh S. (2006). Effects of grazing on functional traits of Bituminaria bituminosa in a Mediterranean grassland. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science. 192: 399-4. PDF


Li Q., Shemir, I., Mayzlish, E., Sternberg, M., Steinberger, Y. (2005). Impact of grazing on soil nematode community and microbial biomass in a Mediterranean grassland. Land Degradation and Development 16: 581-592. PDF


Olsvig-Whittaker, L., Sternberg, M. (2005). The changing Mediterranean landscape: An editorial view . Israel Journal of Plant Sciences. 53: 149-150. PDF


Sternberg, M., Yu, S. L., Bar (Kutiel) P. (2004). Soil seed banks and regeneration strategies in a Mediterranean coastal sand dune. Israel Journal of Plant Sciences. 52: 213-221. PDF


Souto, C., Becker, G., Siffredi, G., Busso, C., Sternberg, M. (2004). Axillary bud viability and dry matter production of Poa ligularis in Patagonian grasslands.. Phyton. 53: 39-51. PDF


Yu, S., Sternberg, M., Jiang, G. M., Kutiel, P. (2003). Heterogeneity of soil seed banks in a Mediterranean coastal sand dune. Acta Botanica Sinica. 45: 536-543. PDF


Sternberg, M., Gutman, M., Perevolotsky, A., Kigel, J. (2003). Effects of grazing on soil seed bank dynamics: An approach with functional groups. Journal of Vegetation Science. 14: 375-386. PDF


Gutman, M., Noy-Meir, I., Pluda, D., Seligman, N. G., Rothman, S., Sternberg, M. (2002). Biomass partitioning following defoliation of annual and perennial Mediterranean grasses . Conservation Ecology. 5(2), 1.


Sternberg, M., Shoshany, M. (2001). Influence of slope aspect on Mediterranean woody formations: a comparison of a semiarid and an arid site in Israel. . Ecological Research. 16: 335-345. PDF


Sternberg, M., Danin, A., Noy-Meir, I. (2001). Effects of clearing and herbicide treatments on coniferous seedling establishment and growth in newly planted Mediterranean forests. Forest Ecology and Management.148: 179-184. PDF


Sternberg, M., Shoshany, M. (2001). Aboveground biomass allocation and water content relationships in Mediterranean trees and shrubs at two climatological regions in Israel. Plant Ecology. 157: 171-179. PDF


Sternberg, M., (2000). Terrestrial gastropods and global climate change: an experimental study in a calcareous grassland. Ecological Research. 15: 73-82. PDF


Gutman, M, Perevolotsky, A., Sternberg, M. (2000). Grazing effects on a perennial legume, Bituminaria bituminosa (L) Stirton, in a Mediterranean rangeland. Cahiers Options Mediterraneenes . 45: 299-303. PDF


Sternberg, M., Gutman, M., Perevolotsky, A., Ungar, E., Kigel, J. (2000). Vegetation response to grazing management in a Mediterranean herbaceous community: a functional group approach. Journal of AppliedEcology. 37: 224-237 . PDF


Gutman, M., Perevolotsky, A., Ungar, E., Sternberg, M., Kigel, J. (1999). Mediterranean herbaceous vegetation response to high animal density and grazing deferment: implications for management and conservation. Cahiers Options Mediterraneenes. 39: 161-164. PDF


Sternberg, M., Brown, V. K., Masters, G., Clarke, I. (1999). Plant community dynamics in a calcareous grassland under climate change manipulations. Plant Ecology. 143: 29-37. PDF


Sternberg, M., Danin, A., Noy-Meir, I. (1999). Dynamics of Mediterranean vegetation following clearing and herbicide treatments in newly planted forests. Journal of Mediterranean Ecology. 1: 65-76. PDF


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