Short Course Description
Over 70% of the earth is covered with seas and oceans at an average depth of over 2,000 m. The oceans thus offer a much larger habitable area, both in terms of surface area and volume, than all continents put together. The Mediterranean Sea, covering an approximate area of 2.5 million km² (965,000 sq mi), although technically a part of the Atlantic Ocean, is usually identified as a completely separate body of water. The Mediterranean basin covers portions of three continents, Europe, Asia, and Africa, and includes several seas such as the Ligurian Sea, the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Ionian Sea, the Adriatic Sea, and it is also linked to other seas such as the Black Sea and the northern Red Sea. As indicated by its name, derived from the Latin mediterraneus, meaning "in the middle of the earth" (from medius, "middle" and terra, "earth"), the Mediterranean Sea is almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant. As such, it constituted an important route for merchants and travelers of ancient times that allowed for trade and cultural exchange between various communities of the region (e.g., Phoenicians, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Levantine, Muslim, and Jewish cultures). The immense cultural, social and economic value of the Mediterranean Sea, it directly linked to its environmental, , ecological, hydrological and geomorphologic traits.
The course will provide a short introduction dealing with the above mentioned fields, giving a whole perspective of the Mediterranean basin, including the Gulf of Aqaba (northern Red Sea). Then, students will get to know the various habitats present in the area (such as rocky bottom, sandy bottom, coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves, etc.), as well as their biological inhabitants. Moreover, the course will provide students with current issues related to global human impacts on the marine environment, including overexploitation of natural resources in the area, effects of climate change and sea level rise, ocean acidification, as well as coastal management and marine conservation issues.
The course will include a field trip to the Mediterranean coast of Israel.