Dr. Sigal Shefer
Collection manager of Porifera, the Steinhardt Museum
Lab Manager and research assistant at the School of Zoology, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Sigal Shefer is a collection manager of Porifera at the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History. She also serves as the Lab Manager and research assistant for Prof. Micha Ilan, at the School of Zoology, Tel Aviv University. When Dr. Shefer was just in her first year of BSc studies, she conducted a research project at the marine ecology lab of Prof. Amatzia Genin at the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Studies in Eilat. Following that project, it was already clear that she would be a marine biologist.
She received her MSc from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem under Prof. Genin, working on The ecology of tissue recovery in stony corals. Her PhD, which dealt with “Factors and processes facilitating the invasion of Brachidontes pharaonis to the Levant Basin”, was received in 2004 from Tel Aviv University’s Institute for Nature Conservation Research, under the supervision of Prof. A. Abelson and Prof. E. Geffen.
Sigal’s main interests today focus on sponge taxonomy, Mediterranean sponge habitats (including mesophotic sponge gardens), marine ecology, marine bioinvasions, and “drugs from the sea”. Her role as a marine ecologist and a taxonomist has been instrumental for both the collections and the laboratory. She is often involved in various national and international collaborations and conservation projects. Her work emphasizes the value and importance of taxonomy and natural history collections to applied sciences.