Dr. Uri Shanas received his Ph.D. from Tel-Aviv University, department of Zoology in 1997. He completed his post-doc research fellowship at Columbia University’s department of psychology and at the University of Haifa – Oranim, Faculty of Science and Science Education. He served as the department head in the Department of Biology and Environment at the University of Haifa and is currently an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Haifa – Oranim in Tivon in Israel as well as a lecturer at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies where he teaches courses, and supervises field studies in ecology.
Dr. Shanas is involved with many different groups and movements, a few of them include the Green Movement Party where he chaired and was a member of the leadership during the 2010 appeal to the Supreme Court concerning the nomination of the Chief of Staff. He, led a campaign to save the Samar Sand dunes for the party as well. At the Nature Reserves and Park Authority of Israel, he serves on the Board of Directors, and he also served on the board of the Israeli Union for Environmental Defense (IUED), from 1991-1996 where he headed a campaign to prevent the construction of the Trans Israel Highway. Since 2009 he has served as the Steering Scientific Committee Chair of the Arava Long Term Social and Ecological Research Station (LTSER).
He has received over 10 grants including a half million dollar grant from MERC in 2001 for Biodiversity Research in the Arava Valley with Jordanian partners and has published over 50 papers in referred journals.
Much of Dr. Shanas’s research during the past decade has been conducted in the Arava desert valley. His research group found different biodiversity patterns across the Israel – Jordanian border, and brought to the attention that human cultural differences have significant effects on biodiversity patterns. They completed a genetic study of some of the inhabitants of the Samar sand dune which was under an immediate exploitation pressure. With the help of Dr. Ben-Shlomo, this study used molecular techniques to show the great uniqueness of the biota of the Samar dunes, and the results were presented to the Knesset.
Currently Dr. Shanas is using his experience in behavioral and reproduction biology to understand behavioral patterns in wild animal communities, and how these behaviors might be affected by various human impacts. He also plans to dwell more into long term studies of climate change specifically in the Arava Valley.