EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Modeling Potential Impacts of Gas Exploitation on the Israeli Marine Ecosystem Using Ecopath with Ecosim

Ella Lahav1, Peleg Astrahan2, Eyal Ofir2, Gideon Gal2, and Revital Bookman1
Ella Lahav et al.
  • 1Charney School of Marine Sciences, Department of Marine Geosciences, Haifa University, Haifa, Israel (
  • 2Kinneret Limnological Laboratory, Israel Oceanographic & Limnological Research, Migdal, Israel (

Exploration, production, extraction and transport of fossil fuels in the marine environment are accompanied by an inherent risk to the surrounding ecosystems as a result of the on-going operations or due to technical faults, accidents or geo-hazards. Limited work has been conducted on potential impacts on the Mediterranean marine ecosystem due to the lack of information on organism responses to hydrocarbon pollution. In this study, we used the Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) modeling software which is designed for policy evaluation and provides assessments of impacts of various stressors on an ecosystem. An existing EwE based Ecospace food-web model of the Israeli Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) was enhanced to include local organism response curves to various levels of contaminants, such as crude oil, in the water and on the sea floor sediments. The goal of this study is to evaluate and quantify the possible ecological impacts of pollution events that might occur due to fossil fuel exploitation related activities. Multiple spatial static and dynamic scenarios, describing various pollution quantities and a range of habitats and locations were constructed. Using the enhanced Ecospace models for assessing the potential impacts of gas exploitation on organism biomass, the spatial and temporal distribution and food-web functioning was tested and evaluated. The results of this study will show a quantitative assessment of the expected ecological impacts that could assist decision makers in developing management and conservation strategies.

How to cite: Lahav, E., Astrahan, P., Ofir, E., Gal, G., and Bookman, R.: Modeling Potential Impacts of Gas Exploitation on the Israeli Marine Ecosystem Using Ecopath with Ecosim, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-5431,, 2022.