Emet Prize Laureates

Prof. Joseph Loya

2015 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Exact Sciences
In Field: Earth science

Joseph Loya

Jury Statement

“The EMET Prize is awarded to Prof. Joseph Loya for his pioneering and groundbreaking achievements in coral reef research in Eilat and world-wide, and for his seminal contribution in developing quantitative methodologies for assessment of the biodiversity and health of coral communities, and significant contribution to the knowledge of their reproductive strategies.”

Personal Interview


Prof. Joseph Loya was born in Bulgaria in 1942 and immigrated to Israel in 1944. He served in the army as a communication officer. He completed his B.Sc. in Biology and M.Sc. in Zoology in 1967 at Tel Aviv University. In 1971 he completed his Ph.D. at SUNY Stony Brook and a post-doctorate at the Woods-Hole Oceanographic Institute. In 1972 he returned to Israel and was appointed lecturer at Tel Aviv University. In 1985 he became Full Professor. In 1989, he was elected Chair of the Zoology Department, and during 1990-1995 served as Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences. In 1996, he was appointed the Raynor Chair for Environmental Conservation Research.

He focused his studies on the ecology, management and conservation of coral reefs. His research was published in over 240 papers and presented at over 100 international conferences. His seminal, highly-cited publications on quantifying changes in biodiversity and assessing reef health are considered groundbreaking and practiced by almost every reef scientist world-wide. His publications demonstrating the harmful effects of marine pollution and global warming on reef corals became classics in the field. He has a remarkable contribution in promoting ecological research and education in Israel supervising several generations of students, who today constitute a significant portion of the academic backbone of marine ecology research in Israel.

He served in numerous key positions on national and international specialist committees and chairs the Scientific Board of the Australian Research Council Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Research.

His scientific achievements have earned him many honors, including the Queen Elizabeth Prize for excellence in oceanic science, the international highly prestigious Darwin Medal "in recognition of his life-time seminal contribution to coral-reef science", and the Landau Prize "for original outstanding research contribution to the field of Ecology and Environmental Quality". In 2009, he was elected member of the Israel National Academy of