The powerful scientific method of searching the simplest explanations for natural phenomena does not imply that nature is simple. With a complex web of ~10-30 million species forming our ecosystem, and with an increasing recognition that crops, health, and economic prosperity are not independent of this complex network, the study of Biodiversity is no longer considered a luxury. On both global and national scales, scientists are called to provide answers to questions that cannot be studied indoors with a few species of laboratory animals.
In the past two decades scientists and decision-makers have realized that the natural ecosystems upon whose services our economy, agriculture, health, and well-being are dependent are endangered. Biodiversity research and scientific expertise are now key to maintaining functioning ecosystems and for rational and educated decision-making in many aspects of economy and development.
Israel with a population of seven million is one of the most densely populated western world countries; it has a western world economy and resource exploitation, yet a population growth rate of a third world country. Thus Israel faces enormous challenges in protecting, managing, and exploiting its natural environments for the benefit of society.
We asked whether the university system is ready to meet the needs of the State of Israel in biodiversity research and higher education.