The ecological research at the science center focuses on hyper-arid ecosystems. Our research monitors and studies the variety of ecosystems in an attempt to understand the structure and function of desert ecosystems. This understandings allow us to assess the damage caused to natural desert systems by comparing disturbances to natural systems we monitor for a long time. Some examples include the oil spill accident in the Evrona nature reserve and the acid spill in Ashalim wadi, but we also study other disturbances such as agriculture, development and future plans. We also study the positive contribution of nature to human society by studying ecosystem services.
Our “Center for Acacia study” monitors and studies all aspects of acacia trees. We monitor the well-being of acacia trees all along the arava, in relation to climate change and anthropogenic disturbances. . One of the main ecological topics is the demographic changes imposed upon the acacia populations along the Arava Rift, as well as across the Negev desert. During the last few decades, several observations revealed high mortality rates of acacias, and at the same time, low recruitment rates of young trees We study the genetics, morphology, physiology, population dynamics and ecosystem services of the 3 species of Acacia found in the Arava and Negev. We relate it to our findings in hydrology and geology. We collaborate with Jordanian researchers on acacia and other botanical studies including local plant species and their medical potential and ecosystem services. In the northern edge of the Arava Valley and along the Dead Sea, researchers of the Science Center study the characteristics of several native medicinal plants species, as well as the potential of their commercialization..