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Dr. Eyal Wurgaft

Eyal Wurgaft
Contact Info

The Open University of Israel Department of Natural Sciences One University Road P.O.B. 808 Ra’anana 4353701, Israel
Office:09-7782127 Fax:09-7782661 Email:wurgaft@openu.ac.il


I am currently looking for research students for a variety of projects. Please contact me for more details.

Additional Information

Areas of Interest
  • marine chemistry
  • the oceanic carbon cycle
  • pore water chemistry

I am chemical oceanographer. I am interested in the oceanic carbon cycle and its interactions and links to other elemental cycles, such as the oxygen, sulfur and magnesium cycles.  The primary focus of my work is currently the study of the effects of heterogeneous interactions between dissolved carbon and solid particles on the oceanic carbon cycle.


Wurgaft, E., Shamir, O. and Angert, A. (2013a) Technical Note: The effect of vertical turbulent mixing on gross O2 production assessments by the triple isotopic composition of dissolved O2. Biogeosciences 10, 8363-8371.

Wurgaft, E., Shamir, O., Barkan, E., Paldor, N. and Luz, B. (2013b) Mixing processes in the deep water of the Gulf of Elat (Aqaba): Evidence from measurements and modeling of the triple isotopic composition of dissolved oxygen. Limnology and Oceanography 58, 1373-1386.

Wurgaft, E., Steiner, Z., Luz, B. and Lazar, B. (2016) Evidence for inorganic precipitation of CaCO3 on suspended solids in the open water of the Red Sea. Marine Chemistry 186, 145-155.

Golan, R., Lazar, B., Wurgaft, E., Lensky, N., Ganor, J. and Gavrieli, I. (2017) Continuous CO2 escape from the hypersaline Dead Sea caused by aragonite precipitation. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 207, 43-56.

Vigderovich, H., Liang, L., Herut, B., Wang, F., Wurgaft, E., Rubin-Blum, M. and Sivan, O. (2019) Evidence for microbial iron reduction in the methanic sediments of the oligotrophic southeastern Mediterranean continental shelf. Biogeosciences 16, 3165-3181.

Wurgaft, E., Findlay, A.J., Vigderovich, H., Herut, B. and Sivan, O. (2019) Sulfate reduction rates in the sediments of the Mediterranean continental shelf inferred from combined dissolved inorganic carbon and total alkalinity profiles. Marine Chemistry 211, 64-74.

Gildor, H., E. Wurgaft, (2017) “Introduction to Oceanography – Study Guide” The Open University of Israel, Raana’a, Israel (In Hebrew)

Churchill, J., Davis, K., Wurgaft, E. and Shaked, Y. (2019) Environmental Setting for Reef Building in the Red Sea, Coral Reefs of the Red Sea. Springer, pp. 11-32.

Interactions between dissolved inorganic carbon and suspended particles
Heterogeneous reactions are interactions that involve different phases of matter. Reactions between dissolved elements and solid particles are an example for heterogeneous reaction. In the ocean, such reactions occur when particles are imported into the water such as occurs in river deltas. I am interested in the effects of such reactions on the dissolved carbonate chemistry (C concentration, alkalinity and pH). I am currently studying these reactions in the northern Gulf of Mexico, where rivers introduce large amounts of particles into the water, and in the Gulf of Aqaba, where solids are entrained to the seawater by flash floods, suspension and dust. 
This ongoing research combines field work and controlled laboratory experiments. 
Dolomite precipitation in marine sediments
Magnesium, the third most abundant element dissolved in the ocean's water, poses a mystery to chemical oceanographers. While we know how magnesium reaches the ocean (mainly via rivers), we are still uncertain as to how it leaves the ocean. One of the most intriguing mechanisms for the removal of magnesium from seawater is the formation of dolomite, a magnesium-bearing carbonate mineral with the formula CaMg(CO3)2
Dolomite is a common sedimentary mineral. In fact, in some parts of the world, dolomite is the main constituent of the rock infrastructure (the Dolomite Mountains in Italy are a good example). Nevertheless, it is still unknown how dolomite is formed, or whether it is an important mechanism for magnesium removal from the modern ocean.
I am developing a new analytical method for the precise measurement of small quantities of dolomite in marine sediments. Once the method is established, it will be used to determine how much dolomite is stored in "new" marine sediments, and whether its formation is associated with magnesium removal.
Carbon and sulfur cycling in marine sediments
The interaction between the oceanic cycles of carbon and sulfur occurs mainly in the sediment. Under oxygen-deprived conditions, bacteria use sulfate instead of oxygen for their respiration. During this process, the properties of both carbon and sulfur change. This leads to a chain of chemical reactions, which may result in precipitation of carbonate and sulfur minerals.
I use a data-based modeling approach to distinguish between different sulfate reduction pathways, and to estimate their intensity. I then use this information to study the links between the carbon, sulfur, calcium and magnesium cycles in marine sediment.

Teaching experience
2019 - Present
Academic responsibility for the courses in Geology and Oceanography, The Open University of Israel
Lecturer: “The Ocean in the Global System” (Laymen course), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
2007 - 2013
Teaching assistant: “Introduction to Oceanography” and “Physical Oceanography”, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Maayan Yehudai, Mallory Ringham, Christina Hoelscher and Shuzhen Song
looking at dolphins on board of the research vessel Pelican. Gulf of Mexico, September 2017.
 A dolphin swimming around the research ship. The Mediterranean, August 2013.
Seawater sampling in the Gulf of Mexico.
Seeding experiment: Gulf of Mexico seawater, seeded with different concentrations of suspended particles.
Aleck Wang, James Churchill (both from Woods-Hole Oceanographic Institution) and me in the CTD room of the "Pelican".

Sunrise in the Gulf of Aquaba. A nice reward after a long night in the lab!

The "trash line" seperating between low-salinity Mississippi water and high salinity seawater.