Taxonomy and ecology of Decapod crustaceans from the infraorder Caridea (order: Decapoda, suborder: Pleocymata)

The subphylum Crustaceans (phylum: Arthropoda) is the only large class of arthropods that is primarily aquatic, with more than 50,000 described species. Some of the Decapod crustaceans, such as shrimps, are of significance economic importance and pose an enormous diversity. Within the order Decapoda the infraorder Caridea is the second most species-rich group, includes 36 families and at least 2,572 known species, only 58% of the exist approximate species. They inhabit a wide range of habitats, from shallow freshwater to deep sea and hydrothermal vents.

The current inventory list of Decapod crustacean along the Mediterranean coast of Israel includes 168 species. 39 species belong to 11 families of Caridea, including seven alien species. The number of alien species in the Mediterranean increased in recent decades simultaneously to decrease in the number of native species.

The current study goals are: 1) To ascertain the taxonomic position of Caridea crustaceans along the coast of Israel, and establish an up-to-date museum collection at the Zoological Museum, Steinhardt National Collections of Natural History; 2) To investigate the biodiversity and spatial distribution of Caridea species along the coasts of Israel; 3) To monitor the arrival and spread of non-indigenous species in the Mediterranean Sea and possibly detect their influence on the local fauna.

The proposed study will contribute to the accumulating knowledge regarding Caridea global distribution and to the study of marine biodiversity along the coasts of Israel and along the Mediterranean shores in particular.