An Israeli marine conservationist was named as one of 15 global changemakers to make up the National Geographic Society’s 2021 Emerging Explorer Cohort, a list of top researchers selected by the prestigious National Geographic because they are “changing the world one idea at a time.”
Dr. Aviad Scheinen is the head of the University of Haifa’s Marine Apex Predator Lab at the Morris Kahn Marine Research Station and is the Apex Predators Principal Investigator at the Leon Charney School of Marine Sciences. He has spent 20 years specializing in conservation, behavioral science, and long-term ecological research of coastal dolphins, sharks, rays, and bluefin tunas.
Scheinin leads the first long-term ecological research project on coastal dolphins in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea (EMS), with the achievement of having the Israeli coastal waters declared as an Important Marine Mammal Area for bottlenose and common dolphins.
He was the first researcher to record the presence of a gray whale and false killer whales in the EMS, and oversaw the first satellite tagging of bluefin tunas in the EMS for an entire year. In addition, Scheinin is one of the founders of Delphis NGO and lead the creation of the Dolphin and Sea Center, an Israeli-based multisensory educational center that works to inspire the public to appreciate and protect dolphins and the ocean.
“This is a very significant milestone for me,” Scheinin said in a statement. “After twenty years of intensive research at sea, this major demonstration of international recognition is an exciting and empowering opportunity which will provide the university access to the most impressive minds in the field.”
Dr. Scheinin is the second Israeli to be selected as an emerging explorer for National Geographic. Dr. Beverly Goodman, a marine geoarchaeologist involved in projects in the Mediterranean, Red Sea, and Gulf of Mexico was selected as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2009. She is also a professor at the University of Haifa. Goodman was recognized for her work — an amalgamation of archaeology, geology and anthropology — which “explores the complex ways nature and humans interact on coastlines.” Goodman also examines how human presence on the earth’s shores influences natural events like tsunamis and floods.
Professor Ron Robin, president of the University of Haifa said Scheinin’s work was “not only a point of pride for the university, but for Israel.
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“His research spotlights how unique and ecologically robust the Mediterranean is, and seeing his work recognized in such a global forum is incredibly gratifying. Together with Dr. Goodman and others, the university is at the forefront of research bringing us closer to understanding the complex relationship between humans and our oceans.” he added.
The 15 individuals of National Geographic’s 2021 ‘Emerging Explorer’ cohort are made up of cartographers, archeologists, biologists, anthropologists, and more. Among the cohort of “scientists, educators, storytellers, and conservationists” is native Hawaiian captain and training navigator, a documentary photographer and filmmaker from South India, and a culinary historian.
“These 15 individuals are conducting innovative work focused on a range of topics such as inventing space technologies, ocean exploration, understanding the past through archaeology and anthropology, species conservation, storytelling, and elevating young voices for the future of education,” National Geographic said.
To date, just approximately 200 researchers have been selected as part of the non-profit’s ongoing effort to document, educate and conserve the planet and its resources.
Scheinin joins the ranks of an elite group of dedicated scientists and educators that include ground-breaking individuals like Jane Goodall and Jacques Cousteau.