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​The Swiss Institute for Dryland Environmental and Energy Research (SIDEER), one of the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, was conceived based on a bold vision: to develop a basic scientific approach to synthetic study of arid environments and the peoples who inhabit them.

 

The scientists of the SIDEER study all facets of the interdependencies between the physical environment, natural and human created – technological, and life in this environment. This includes the study of dryland ecosystems and the patterns these systems follow, the ecology of animals and plants at all levels - individual, population, community and landscape; the physical basics of acquisition, use and storage of natural resources, such as solar energy; advanced environmental technologies, such as emerging novel methods for desalination of saline and brackish water; the anthropological and sociological basis of human existence and activity in drylands.

  

In line with this vision. SIDEER is the first-ever institute bringing together architects, anthropologists, sociologists, ecologists, physicists and mathematicians under a single roof for the purpose of a fundamental desert research.

 

What practical purpose will this research serve? The basic knowledge provided by research under the SIDEER umbrella will help to guide people and governments combatting the world wide threat of desertification, and strive for sustainable development and healthy preservation and conservation of the environment. The three research departments of the SIDEER are united by their common mission to foster integrated, multidisciplinary research.

The faculty of the Marco and Louise Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology (MDDE) study

​ between them from the level of energy intake at the most basic level, through the complexities of behavioral-ecological interactions of communities to predator-prey interactions. The tools used include patient observation through cutting edge modern genetic analysis. The faculty of the Marco and Louise Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology (MDDE study ecology of animals and plants and the interactions between them from the level of energy intake at the most basic level, through the complexities of behavioral-ecological interactions of communities to predator-prey interactions. The tools used include patient observation through cutting edge modern genetic analysis.

 

The scientists at the Alexandre Yersin Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics (YDSEEP) apply fluid mechanics to atmospheric research and water desalination; study ecological dynamical systems and pattern formation; dust and sand dune dynamics; photovoltaics and highly concentrated solar radiation; river network formation; stochastic processes in atmospheric and climate dynamics; micro-algal biotechnology; resource economics and remote sensing. The desert with its contrast: harsh climate; bright sun and sand storms; shortage of fresh and abundance of saline water; rich plant and animal population patterns, provides a boundless playground for these studies.

 

The members of the Bona Terra Department of Man in the Desert (BTMID) aim to improve our understanding of the opportunities and constraints posed by the desert environment for sustained human habitation. Researchers combine tools and techniques from both the physical and social sciences, as well as recent advances in geographical and spatial analysis, to address multi-dimensional problems ranging from the consumption of energy in the built environment to the evolution of developmental discourse.