The mechanisms leading to the changes in the Eastern Mediterranean Basin (EMB) food web composition and complexity over the past 50 years.
Recent (less than 200 year) anthropogenic changes impacting the Mediterranean Sea, an already unique water body with regard to temperature gradient and salinity, are leading to the tropicalization of an otherwise temperate sea, particularly in the semi-enclosed Eastern Mediterranean Basin (EMB). The building of the Suez canal, Aswan High Dam and anthropogenic nutrient enrichment (e.g. sewage and aquaculture) have made a major contribution to the changes in the EMB. The research presented here will elucidate how these stressors impact the EMB food web, by concentrating on the ecology of the top predators in the near area (groupers). The work will integrate several methods, 1) fish census, 2) molecular phylogenetic and 3) compound-specific stable isotope geochemistry on contemporary as well as pre, or earlier phase-impact specimens (museum collections). This information will shed light on how these recent events have impacted the food web and ecological relationships in our area; ultimately providing us with the tools to predict future trends and supply us with the necessary tools for creating sound management plans for our EMB ecosystem.