Ofir Katz Ph.D
My work focuses on the study of morphological and anatomical traits that contribute to plant adaptation to extreme environments, and especially the accumulation of inorganic materials in plants. Understanding these traits and their benefits to plants, as well as understanding the environmental factors that drive the magnitude and distribution of these traits and the species in which they exist, is an important milestone in studying the manners in which plant communities and ecosystems in extreme environments are shaped by environmental factors, plant traits and their effect on various types of plant-plant and plant-herbivore interactions.
My main expertise is silicon accumulation in plants. This phenomenon is common in a wide variety of plants and is known to be an adaptation to a great variety of environmental stresses, including ones that are related to extreme climate (heat, freeze and aridity), and as an antiherbivory defence. Silicon is often deposited in plants in association with living cells, thus producing microscopic bodies that preserve cell shapes, known as phytoliths. Because phytoliths are inorganic they can preserve in soils and sediments long after the plant dies, and therefore play a significant role in archaeological and palaeobiological research. Part of my work is dedicated to developing new methods to use phytoliths and other inorganic plant components as indicators of environmental changes.
- Inorganic components in the flora of the Dead Sea region
- Biogeography and macro-ecology of silicon-accumulating plants
- Ecological monitoring: Ze’elim alluvial fan, Nahal Ashalim
- Katz O. (In press). Conflict and complementarity of paleontological and molecular chronologies? Paleobiology.
- Katz O. (In press). Plant silicon content is a functional trait: implications in a changing world. Flora.
- Katz O. 2018. Plant silicon and phytolith research and the Earth-life superdiscipline. Frontiers in Plant Science 9: 1281.
- Katz O, Lev-Yadun S, Bar (Kutiel) P. 2018. Plant silicon and phytolith contents as affected by water availability and herbivory: integrating laboratory experimentation and natural habitat studies. Silicon 10: 2387–2389.
- Katz O. (2018). Extending the scope of Darwin’s `abominable mystery`: integrative approaches to understanding angiosperm origins and species richness. Annals of Botany 121: 1-8.
- Katz O, Ish Shalom C. (2017). Environmental risks due to the salination of the Boqeq stream. Negev, Dead Sea and Arava Studies 9: 140-144.
- Faust A, Katz H, Sapir Y, Avraham A, Marder O, Bar-Oz G, Weiss E, Auman-Chazan C, Hartmann-Shenkman A, Sadiel T, Vilnay O, Tsesaraky M, Sarah P, Ackermann O, Timmer N, Katz O, Langgut D, Benzaquen M. (2017). The birth, life and death of an Iron Age house at Tel ‘Eton, Israel. Levant 49: 136-173.
- Katz O. (2017). The role of the Levant in 135 million years of angiosperm evolution. Israel Journal of Plant Sciences 64: 162-169.
- Katz O. (2017). Ecology and biogeography of spiny plants in Israel’s desert district. Negev, Dead Sea and Arava Studies 9: 15-22.
- Yu S, Katz O, Fang W, Li D, Sang W, Liu C. (2017). Shift of fleshy fruited species along elevation: temperature, shaded habitats, phylogeny and origin. Scientific Reports 7: 40417.
- Katz O, Kam M, Carmi A, Degen AA, Henkin Z, Bar (Kutiel) P. (2016). Activity and short-term impacts of dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) foraging on perennial coastal sand dune vegetation. Journal of Arid Environments 133: 47-53.
- Bar (Kutiel) P, Katz O, Ziso-Cohen V, Divinsky I, Katra I. (2016). Water availability in sand dunes and its implications for the distribution of Artemisia monosperma. CATENA 137: 144-151.
- Katz O. (2015). Silica phytoliths in angiosperms: phylogeny and early evolutionary history. New Phytologist 208: 642-646.
- Katz O. (2014). Beyond grasses: the potential benefits of studying silicon accumulation in non-grass species. Frontiers in Plant Science 5: 376.
- Katz O, Lev-Yadun S, Bar (Kutiel) P. (2014). Do phytoliths play an antiherbivory role in southwest Asian Asteraceae species and to what extent? Flora 209: 349-358.
- Shahack-Gross R, Boaretto E, Cabanes D, Katz O, Finkelstein I. (2014). Subsistence economy in the Negev Highlands: the Iron Age and the Byzantine/Early Islamic Period. Levant 46: 98-117.
- Katz O, Lev-Yadun S, Bar (Kutiel) P. (2013). Plasticity and variability in the patterns of phytolith formation in Asteraceae species along a large rainfall gradient in Israel. Flora 208: 438-444.
- Katz O, Cabanes D, Weiner S, Maeir AM, Boaretto E, Shahack-Gross R. (2010). Rapid phytolith extraction for analysis of phytolith concentrations and assemblages during an excavation: an application at Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel. Journal of Archaeological Science 37: 1557-1563.
- Katz O, Gilead I, Bar (Kutiel) P, Shahack-Gross R. (2007). Chalcolithic agricultural life at the site of Grar, northern Negev, Israel: dry farmed cereals and dung-fueled hearths. Paléorient 33(2): 101-116.