Dr David Ebert – center
The PSRC is the west coast branch of the National Shark Research Consortium, a coalition of four major shark research organizations working in cooperation with the National Marine Fisheries Service. The other three centers are Mote Marine Laboratory’s Center for Shark Research, the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science Shark Research Program. As the Program Manager for the past seven years I managed the daily operations, advised graduate students, teach graduate courses in chondrichthyan biology/ecology and systematics, and manage research grants. I have developed a very ambitious, highly productive program, with Dr. Gregor Cailliet, at the PSRC/MLML and one that now conducts global research on the biology, biodiversity, and ecology of chondrichthyan fishes. In addition to my duties as Program Manager of the PSRC I am also a Research Faculty member at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML); a consortium of seven California State Universities. I have advised and mentored approximately 30 graduate students during this time with 14 having completed their degrees.
The PSRC has advance our understanding of shark fisheries resources in many areas, including abundance trends, life history and demographics, migration and stock structure, essential habitat, feeding ecology, population genetics, taxonomy, and conservation of protected species. This information has been vital to enhancing assessments of shark and ray populations, providing advice to the National Marine Fisheries Service, federal council and state fisheries managers, and helping to shape international policy. PSRC representatives participate in government convened shark assessment workshops offering not only relevant expertise, but long-term data sets that are essential for such evaluations.
The PSRC objectives are to:
1) Conduct and advance basic and applied scientific research on sharks and rays;
2) Provide scientific information on sharks to public policy makers;
3) Expand scientific cooperation on national and international issues involving sharks and their biology;
4) Communicate scientific research and news about sharks; and
5) Increase public understanding of sharks and their biology.
I am the Creator/Editor for the web-based Eastern Pacific Chondrichthyan Life History Data Matrix (LHDM), an exhaustive and detailed resource covering the entire body of literature on all chondrichthyans (sharks, rays, and chimaeras) from the eastern North Pacific (ENP). The LHDM was created as a queriable web-based tool that would serve as a valuable resource and source of information on ENP chondrichthyans for interested biologists, students, and the general public. The matrix was design to provide comprehensive information on individual species and clearly indicate which aspects of their life history and distribution remain unknown. The LHDM is available via the world wide web on the PSRC web site for the general public (http://psrc.mlml.calstate.edu) and can be downloaded. The LHDM includes 106 species of chondrichthyans reported to occur in the ENP. The ENP as defined here includes the area ranging from the eastern Bering Sea to the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula. The chondrichthyan data matrix covers 22 families, 56 species of sharks, 11 families and 46 species of batoids, and two families and four species of chimaeras.
I am also the Creator/Editor for the “Featured Elasmobranch”, a monthly series of web-based articles featuring a different elasmobranch on the Pacific Shark Research Center web page. The series was started in February 2004 and has been running continuously. The series aim is to inform and educate the public, and provide something new for them to come back on a regular basis. Current and archived articles can be accessed at (http://psrc.mlml.calstate.edu). Both the LHDM and the Featured Elasmobranch series serve as an excellent outreach program for educators, conservationist, researchers, and the general public to learn more about these fascinating fishes.
I am extensively involved in a number of professional societies including the American Elasmobranch Society and Oceania Chondrichthyan Society, where I am a member of the Board of Directors for each, and in the past three years I have co-organized two major symposia, one the “Biology of Skates” at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the American Elasmobranch Society and another forthcoming symposium on the “Biology of Chondrichthyan Fishes” at the 8th Indo-Pacific Fish Conference to be held in Perth, Australia. A third symposium is planned for the 2010 American Elasmobranch Society meetings on the “Feeding Ecology of Chondrichthyan Fishes”. I have been very involved with the IUCN Species Survival Commission Shark Specialist Group as a board member of the Northeastern Pacific Region. I have also been invited to participate as a global expert to five IUCN Shark Specialist Group Red List Workshops over the past five years.
I am a fairly prolific researcher/writer as demonstrated by the 170 publications (including 3 books) that I have either had published, is in press or is currently in review. My students and I have also contributed over 120 IUCN Shark Specialist Group Red List Assessments over the past four years. Over the past few years have authored or co-authored about 100 papers that have been presented at over 30 professional conferences.
In 1989 I co-authored a popular field guide to the “Sharks and Rays of Southern Africa” with Leonard Compagno. More recently I have authored books on the “Sharks, Rays, and Chimaeras of California” and another on the “Biology of Skates”. Furthermore, I have two more books currently in preparation; one with the University of California Press which is what has brought me to South Africa.
It is this latter current project that brings me to South Africa to work on this massive book project with Leonard Compagno, my former graduate advisor, mentor, and good friend. I have been studying the shark and ray fauna of southern Africa for over 20 years dating back to my graduate days at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. This current book project will include the most up to date information on this fascinating group of fishes with never before published information stemming from our nearly 25 years of research in this region. The book entitled “Sharks and Rays of Southern Africa: Biology and Natural History” is scheduled to be published in 2010.