Author Archives: Tomer Gueta

har'el Agra photo

Har’el Agra

Dr. Har’el Agra earned his B.Sc. in environmental science from the Technion and his M.Sc. and  Ph.D. in the field of plant ecology from Haifa University.

As a postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of Yohay Carmel and Gidi Ne’eman They wrote a synopsis book for Conservation Evidence international group ( The book, Forest Conservation: Global evidence for the effects of interventions, summarizes relevant studies worldwide that experimentally tested the effects of various forest conservation actions. You can find the PDF version here

Gil Sapir photo

Gil Sapir of blessed memory

Gil Sapir was a Ph.D. student in the Ecology lab. He had a B.Sc. in Biology and a M.Sc. in Botany from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His Ph.D. research was about modeling the regeneration of vegetation 15-20 years after wildfires in planted pine forests in Mediterranean Israel, by using different statistical methods. Gil worked as a forester in the Forest Department of Keren Kayemet Le’Israel, and resigned after 28 years as the head of the Forestry Unit.

 In December, 2008 Gil passed away after long and tough struggle with cancer.

About Gil by Yohay Carmel (Hebrew)About Gil in

JunJing picture

Junjing Gao

Junjing is a Ph.D student in the Ecological and Environment GIS lab. She has a B.Sc. in Faculty of Geography and Tourism from Qufu Normal University,China and a M.Sc. in the Ecological Institute, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences. Her Ph.D. research deals with modelling grazing impacts of nomadic pastoralists on species distribution, community structure and landscape pattern. Her work involves investigating grazing habits and quantifying and modelling their effects with mathematic methods and GIS.

Ella petting a goat

Ella Segal

Ella is a M.Sc student in Urban and Regional Planning at the Technion, and the Agricultural Research Organization. Her study concerns evaluation of grazing services, and the spatial and socioeconomic characteristics of goat herding in Mt. Carmel.

Ella has a B.Sc.Agri. in Animal Science, Nature Conservation and open landscape management – Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2011).

Her main focus is on human-nature ecology, with an emphasis on grazing, forest, scrubland and fire interactions.

Ateret Shabtay-Yanai

Ateret Shabtay Yanai

A PhD student at the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning in the Technion. Ateret has a Bachelor degree (B.Sc) in biology from Haifa University (2008) and a master’s degree (M.Sc) in ecology and environmental studies from the Zoology Department of the Tel Aviv University (2011). During her master’s, Ateret studied the population dynamics of invasive species along the Israeli Mediterranean coast and participated in researches in the field of nature conservation around the world. After completing a continuing education program in town planning, she started her doctoral research about integration of marine infrastructures and marine conservation.

A picture of Aviv

Aviv Zach Solomon

Aviv is a Master student in the lab. She earned a B.Sc. in Life Sciences from the Ben-Gurion University in the Negev.
Aviv’s master study deals with computer models of species competition. Using the models Aviv simulates competitive exclusion processes. She examines different components of similarity between species, in order to better understand the effect of the components on competitive exclusion process.

Hila Segre

Hila Segre


Hila has a BSc in Life Sciences from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she also completed her MSc in ecology studying the effects of grazing on plant communities. She did her PhD in our lab with Prof. Assaf Shwartz and Prof. Yohay Carmel on optimization of ecological benefits and economic costs of field margins for conservation planning. She then continued as a postdoctoral research associate in the Hebrew University and Volcani center, and then in Wageningen University (Netherlands) where she worked on improving wildlife-friendly interventions in farmland to enhance their public (biodiversity) and private (pollination and pest control) benefits. In 2022 she started the Agroecology & Nature Conservation lab in the department of natural resources, Volcani center (ARO), Israel.


PhD dissertation: Optimizing ecological benefits and economic costs of field margins for conservation planning

Advisors: Assistant Professor Assaf Shwartz and Prof. Yohay Carmel

​Development in the past few decades has caused a major decline in biodiversity worldwide, and more species are expected to become extinct in the near future. Conservation efforts so far focused on increasing nature-reserves and improving their quality but sufficient increase is challenging and may not result in the desired increase in biodiversity because of geographic and economic biases in reserve location and size. Instead, multifunctional landscapes with environment-friendly agriculture may support both food-production and conservation goals, but may cause loses in yield and, in turn, economic costs.

In our research, we examine the trade-offs that emerge from the multifunctional-landscapes approach focusing on field margins management.

Our case-study area is located in Emek-Harod valley in Israel, an agricultural area with small semi-natural patches that separates two important ecoregions in Israel (Galillee and the Shomron). The research combines an ecological survey designed to evaluate the ecological value of different land-uses in the valley with field-level manipulation designed to evaluate the costs of leaving uncultivated field-margins.

The results of these two evaluations were combined into a spatially-implicit model to select the planning alternatives that maximize the ecological benefits and minimize the costs for the farmers. Our results provide new insights about better planning of agricultural landscapes, which are crucial for promoting good policy-practices in this field.

Current work

As a postdoctoral research associate at Wageningen University, I continued to work on linking ecosystem services supporting crop yield with farmland conservation, as part of the H2020 SHOWCASE project. In south Limburg, the Netherlands, I compared multiple biodiversity-friendly interventions of different nature and assessed their quality. Specifically, I studied how different guilds of natural enemies and pollinators respond to the management practice and how can we re-design interventions with farmers to improve their quality.

Currently, I am head of the Agroecology & Nature Conservation lab in Volcani center. My main interest is the interface between biodiversity conservation and agricultural landscapes, and I am particularly interested in resolving trade-offs and finding synergies between the benefits to people and to biodiversity. The research in our lab has a strong ecological foundation, which we integrate with methods and concepts from environmental sciences and economy, to explore agro-ecosystems as complex multi-functional systems.


Segre Agroecology & Nature Conservation Lab

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Tomer Gueta picture

Tomer Gueta

Tomer is currently a post-doc following up on his Ph.D. work in the field of biodiversity informatics in Carmel’s Ecology Lab. His research focuses on developing tools and methodology for data-intensive biodiversity research. He has a B.Sc. in Life Sciences from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and an M.Sc. in Ecology from The department of Desert Ecology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.