Lior Blank

Associate Researcher

liorblank (at)
Phone: +972-4-8249084

I'm currently a Research scientist at the Department of Plant Pathology, Agricultural Research Organization (ARO), Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, Israel.

Research Interests

My background is in spatial and landscape ecology, landscape genetics and remote sensing. The core of my research focuses on understanding how spatial patterns affect various ecological processes. To answer these questions, I use a variety of scientific approaches, including spatial pattern analyses, multivariate statistics, GIS, and remote sensing.

During my postdoc I am working in two main areas, landscape genetics and species distribution modeling. Landscape genetics is an emerging field that combines landscape ecology and population genetics to examine the geographical distribution of genetic diversity and to explore the extent to which landscape features influence genetic structure. Using landscape genetic techniques I investigated the genetic structuring of fire salamander, Salamandra infraimmaculata, populations in northern Israel. The results clearly reflect strong subdivision between the Carmel and Galilee populations possibly because of changes in land use in the past 150 years in the Jezreel valley. In a separate work I used maximum entropy niche modeling to predict potential habitat distributions of the fire salamander and the green toad, Bufo viridis, and the common frog, Rana temporaria, (in Finland). For the latter work, I used bioclimate envelope modelling to address the question how climate change is likely to influence the availability of suitable habitat – and hence distribution – of arctic-alpine common frogs living at current margin of their distribution range.

Unrooted neighbour-joining tree and cluster analysis (using the STRUCTURE software) of Salamander subpopulations Using ecological niche modeling to predict the distributions of Salamandra infraimmaculata (upper map) and Bufo viridis (lower map) Climate change effect on Rana temporaria distribution at its northern range margin
Blank and Blaustein (2012)

List of Publications

Kershenbaum A, Blank L, Sinai I, Merilä J, Blaustein L, Templeton A. 2014. Genetic indications of landscape dispersal behaviour: a theoretical model and empirical test using the fire salamander, Salamandra infraimmaculata. Oecologia 175: 509-520 PDF [* Journal Link]

Blank L, Luoto M, Merilä J (2014). Potential effects of climate change on the distribution of the common frog Rana temporaria at its northern range margin. Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution 59: 130-140 PDF Journal Link

Blank L and Blaustein L (2014). A multi-scale analysis of breeding site characteristics of the endangered fire salamander (Salamandra infraimmaculata) at its extreme southern range limit. Hydrobiologia 726: 229-244. PDF Journal Link

Blank L, Vasl A, Levy S, Grant G, Kadas G, Dafni A and Blaustein L (2013). Directions in green roof research: a bibliometric study. Building and Environment 66: 23-128 PDF Journal Link

Carmel Y, Kent R, Bar-Massada A, Blank L, Liberzon J, Nezer O, Sapir G and Federman R (2013). Trends in Ecological Research during the Last Three Decades – A Systematic Review. PloS ONE 8 (4): e59813. PDF Journal Link

Blank L, Sinai I, Bar-David S, Peleg N, Segev O, Sadeh A, Kopelman MN, Templeton AR, Merilä J and Blaustein L (2013) Genetic population structure of the endangered fire salamander (Salamandra infraimmaculata) at the southernmost extreme of its distribution. Animal Conservation 16: 412-421 PDF Journal Link

Blank L and Blaustein L (2012) Using ecological niche modeling to predict the distributions of two endangered amphibian species in aquatic breeding sites. Hydrobiologia 693: 157-167 PDF Journal Link

Blank L, Linker R and Carmel Y (2012) A multi-scale analysis of herbaceous species richness in a Mediterranean ecosystem. Journal of Plant Ecology, 6: 113-121 PDF

Blank L and Carmel Y (2012) Woody vegetation patch type determines herbaceous species richness and composition in Mediterranean ecosystem. Community Ecology, 13 (1): 72-81 PDF

Bar Massada A, Kent R, Blank L, Hadar L, Perevolotsky A and Carmel Y (2011) Mapping Mediterranean vegetation using continuous structural characteristics. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 33 (2): 346-364 PDF

Bitler A, Lev N, Fridmann-Sirkis Y, Blank L, Cohen SR and Shai Y (2010) Kinetics of interaction of HIV fusion protein (gp41) with lipid membranes studied by real-time AFM imaging. Ultramicroscopy, 110 (6): 694-700 PDF

Lev N*, Fridmann-Sirkis Y*, Blank L*, Bitler A, Epand RF, Epand RM and Shai Y (2009) The conformational stability and membrane interaction of the full-length ectodomain of HIV-1 gp41: implication for mode of action. Biochemistry, 48 (14): 3166-3175. (* equal contribution) PDF

Peisajovich SG, Blank L, Epand RF, Epand RM and Shai Y (2003) On the interaction between gp41 and membranes: the immunodominant loop stabilizes gp41 helical hairpin conformation. Journal of Molecular Biology, 326 (5): 1489-1501 PDF


Community Ecology Lab
Institute of Evolution, Room 240
Dep. of Evolutionary & Environmental Biology
Faculty of Sciences
University of Haifa
Haifa 31905, Israel

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