Prof. Joseph Loya

Emeritus in School of Zoology
ביה"ס לזואולוגיה אמריטוס
Prof. Joseph Loya
Phone: 03-6407683
Another phone: 03-6409809
Fax: 03-6407682
Office: Sherman - Life Sciences, 327


Born in Bulgaria in 1942; arrived to Israel in 1944; served in the army as a communication officer; completed B.Sc. in Biology (1965) and M.Sc. in Zoology (1967) at Tel Aviv University (TAU); Ph.D. in Ecology (1971) at SUNY Stony Brook; post-doc (1972) at Woods-Hole Oceanographic Institute; appointed lecturer of Zoology at TAU (1972); full Professor of Ecology(1985); Chair of Zoology Dept. (1989-90); Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences (1990-95), during which he initiated and established the Ecology and Environmental M.Sc. program (the largest in Israel) and the Porter Center for Ecological and Environmental studies (currently a school); in 1996- nominated incumbent of the Raynor Chair for Environmental Conservation Research; in 2009 elected member of the Israel National Academy of Sciences.


He focused his studies on the ecology, management and conservation of coral reefs, publishing more than 260 papers and four books. His seminal, highly-cited publications on quantifying changes in biodiversity and assessing reef health and vulnerability are practiced today by almost every reef scientist in the field. His publications demonstrating the harmful effects of marine pollution and global warming on reef corals became classics in the field. In the millennium year 2000 he was awarded the ISRS international highly prestigious Darwin Medal; in 2003 the Landau Prize and in 2015 the EMET Prize in Environmental Sciences. He has a remarkable contribution in promoting ecological research and education in Israel supervising several generations of ecologists, who today constitute a highly significant portion of the academic backbone of environmental researchers in Israel



Please see Full CV



  • B.Sc. -   Biology, Tel Aviv University (1962-1965)  
  • M.Sc. -  Zoology, Tel Aviv University (summa cum laude) (1965-1967)  
  • Ph.D. -  Ecology, State University of New York at Stony Brook, New York (1967-1971).
  • Postdoctorate - Ecology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, (WHOI) Mass. (1971-1972)  

Academic and Professional Experience:

          Member of the Department of Zoology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University

  • Lecturer (1972-1976);
  • Senior lecturer (1976-1980);
  • Associate Professor (1980-1986);
  • Full Professor-(1986-2011);
  • Professor Emeritus (since 2011).
  • Chairman - The Zoological Society of Israel (1977-1979). 
  • Chief Scientist- Ship expeditions to Southern Red Sea (1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1991).
  • Chairman - Dept. of Zoology,(1988-1989).
  • Dean -          Faculty of Life Sciences (1990-1995).
  • Director -    The Porter Center for Ecological and Environmental Studies (1995-2000).
  • Raynor Professor for Environmental Conservation Research - Endowed Chair, (1997-2012).
  • Adjunct Professor – Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies James Cook Univ., Townsville, Australia (since 2008).
  • Member - Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities (since 2009).

Visiting Professor:

  • The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and James Cook Univ. (JCU) of North Qld. Dept. of Marine Ecology (Senior Queen Elizabeth Fellow) (1979-1980).
  • Scripps Inst. of Oceanography La Jolla, San Diego USA (1985-1986).
  •  University of the Ryukyus, Tropical Biosphere Research Center, Okinawa, Japan (during June to August of 1995, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014).
  • University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Dept. of Ecology and Evolution (2007-2008).
  • Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook Univ., Townsville, Australia (2009).

Tel Aviv University Administrative Duties:

  • Dean -        Faculty of Life Sciences (1990-1995).
  • Member -   Board of Governors (1990-1995); Central Committee (1990-1995); Board of Trustees (1990-2002);
                         High Academic Nomination Committee (2004-2007).                   

Israeli Academic Advisory Boards:

  • Member -   Scientific advisory board Nature Protection Authority, Israel (1980-1985);

                                Israel Academy of Science- Basic Research Foundation: (1986-1991);

                                Israeli Ministry of Science: Germany- Israel Marine Biology Program (1995-1999);

                                Israel Science Foundation (Ecology committee): (1997-1999, 2007, 2012).

  • Chair -          Board of Directors- Inter-Univ. Inst. of Marine Sciences (IUI), Eilat (1995-1999).  
  • Member -     Advisory Board: Batsheva de Rothschild Fund for the Advancement of Science in (2012-2016).
  • Chair -           Advisory Board:  Batsheva de Rothschild Fund for the Advancement of Science in (Since 2016) 

International Scientific Committees:

  • Member -     The  Scientific Organizing Committee of the following International Coral Reef; Symposia:
                           3d ICRS Miami, Florida (1977); 4th ICRS: Philippines (1981);
                           5th ICRS: Tahiti (l985); 6th ICRS; Australia (l988); 7th ICRS: Guam, June (l992).                 
  • Council –     The International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS) – (1982-1992).
  • Head –          The Israeli Scientific Delegation to the UN Conference on Environmenta lDevelopment (UNCED)
                            Rio-de Janeiro, Brazil - (1992).
  • Member -      The Israeli scientific delegation to the Israel-Jordan Peace Talks establishing the Red Sea Marine Park Aqaba,
                            Jordan (1993-1994).
  • Chair -           The Israeli Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Committee, UNESCO (1993-2000).

International Advisory Boards and Working Groups:

  • Member -      The Scientific Review Board, Oil Spill Project, Smithsonian Tropical Research  Institute
                            (STRI, Panama) – (1986-1991).       
  • Member -      The Advisory and Review Board of the Research Institute of the Subtropics, Okinawa Japan
                            (Coral bleaching project) (2002-2006).
  • Co-Chair-     GEF/IOC/World Bank Working Group on Coral Bleaching (2004- 2011).
  • Chair      -      Israeli Scientific Committee for Oceanic Research (SCOR) (since 2012).
  • Chair      -      Scientific Board of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Research
                          (2006 - 2014).
  • Chair -            Israel Academy of Sciences Committee on scientific relations with Japan
  • National representative - Israel’s scientific representative in a High-Level Symposium at the United Nations:
                           "One Ocean: Achieving Sustainability through Sanctuaries”  (2015)
                            Plenary Lecture: "The coral reefs of Eilat: 45 years of coral community studies"

Founding Editor -Coral Reefs (Biology Section) Springer-Verlag (1982-1986).

Prizes and Honors:

  • Senior Queen Elizabeth Fellow (79-80) Australian Inst. of Mar. Sci. and James Cook Univ. of N. Qld.
  • The Darwin Medal (Millennium Year -2000):
    The most prestigious prize of the International Society for Coral Reef Studies (ISRS) awarded once every four years,
    "for life contribution to coral reef research".
  • The Landau Prize (2003): 
     Awarded, together with Professor E. Rosenberg (TAU) by Mifaal Hpais for
     "original outstanding research contribution to the field of Ecology and Environmental Quality".
  •  Honorable membership in the Israel Society of Zoology (2011)
     "in recognition of his important contribution to research, teaching, education and nature conservation"
  • EMET Prize in Exact Sciences: Environmental studies (2015):
    "for his pioneering and groundbreaking achievements in coral–reef research and for his seminal contribution in developing quantitative methodologies for assessment of biodiversity and health of coral communities and significant contribution to the knowledge of their reproductive strategies".

Research Grants (1972-2018):

        Recipient of over 60 competitive National and International grant awards including: BSF, ISF, GIF NIH, MERC- AID, EU,
        Harbor Branch Sea Pharm, NOAA, BMBF, MED-POL, GEF/IOC/World Bank, ITI; Italian Ministry of the Environment;
        Israeli Ministries of: Science, Environmental Protection, Commerce and Industry; and others.

Supervision of Graduate Students:

        So far, 53 M.Sc. students, 30 Ph.D. students and 13 Post docs graduated under my supervision, comprising a significant
          proportion of the academic backbone of environmental researchers in Israel (faculty members of almost all academic
          and research institutions in Israel) Currently supervising 2 PhD and 2 MSc students and one post doc.


Active Participation in Scientific Meetings:

          Invited Keynote speaker (25 meetings); speaker in over 150 international conferences, symposia and workshops in the fields
         of: Biodiversity; Marine Ecology and Environmental Quality; Marine Pollution; Global warming effects on coral reefs;
         Coral bleaching and diseases; Environmental Conservation and Management of Nature Reserves;

Publications (see selected PDF’s in Recent Publications)

         Author and Editor  of four books on coral reefs and >300 publications in leading international journals of Ecology, Marine Biology, 
         Marine Biotech, Evolutionary Biology, Theoretical Ecology, as well as general journals such as Nature and Science 
         (8 publications). Some of the seminal publications on biodiversity, coral reproduction, coral bleaching and nature 
         conservation have become classic milestones in the ecological literature.

Research Interests

Ecology and Evolution of reef corals; Coral reef community structure; Species diversity and community structure of corals; Life history strategies of reef corals and their associated fauna; Sex change in corals; Competitive networks and space partitioning within coral populations; Effects of oil-pollution on coral- reef communities; Effects of natural and anthropogenic disturbances on coral reef communities; Conservation ecology and management of coral reef nature reserves; Biologically active compounds derived from coral-reef organisms in search for new drugs; Global climatic changes and its effect on coral-reef communities; Coral bleaching; Coral diseases; Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems (MCEs).

Recent Publications

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