Dr. David A. Ebert


Dave holding a shark.


Program Manager, PSRC    

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories    

Welcome! I am the program manager for the Pacific Shark Research Center (PSRC) and a research faculty member at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML). Below I have highlighted some of my primary research interests and projects. As you will read I am involved in a wide range of projects, many with international colleagues, collaborating on projects on a variety of chondrichthyan related studies. I also recommend that you check out the web sites of my graduate students to see what they are up to.                                                              


Collaborators (and some of my friends!):              

Leonard Compagno (Shark Research Center)  white-tipped-shark        

Paul Cowley (South African Institute   

Aquatic Biodiversity)          

Dominique Didier (Millersville State University)          

Ken Goldman (Alaska Department Fish & Game)          

Lisa Natanson (NMFS Northeast      

Fisheries Science Center)          

James Sulikowski (University of New England)          

William White (CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric      



Specific Research Interests                                                    


The focus of my research efforts are on the biology, ecology, biogeography, fisheries, and systematics of chondrichthyan fishes (sharks, ray, chimaeras). I am especially interested in the community Scuba diver with sharksecology and habitat utilization of chondricthyans within ecosystems. To this end, I have several broad-based projects ongoing in the North Pacific, including the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska, Australia, southern Africa, Taiwan, and in the western North Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico. Most of my North American projects are conducted in collaboration with several NOAA Fisheries labs including the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC), Seattle, WA, Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFCSC), Newport, OR, Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC), Santa Cruz, CA, and Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), Narragansett, RI. Manta rayIn southern Africa I am continuing to collaborate with colleagues on several research projects on the chondrichthyan fauna of this region. A book on my research in this region is currently in preparation with Leonard Compagno. This book will encompass our nearly 25 years of primary research on this highly diverse fauna. Another project that I am involved with is a catalogue to the batoids of the world. This project, supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization, is a collaborative effort with several international experts to catalogue all of the known batoids. This is the first effort on this group of fishes in nearly a century. I, and several of my students, have participated in several IUCN Shark Specialist Group Red List workshops evaluating the conservation status of chondrichthyan fishes.                                                         



Current Projects                                             


Central California Shelf Survey- Working in collaboration with Don Pearson, SWFSC, Santa Cruz Laboratory, the PSRC is involved in a long-term study on the chondrichthyan fishes of the central CaliforniaDeep-sea skate region. Among the primary groups we are currently studying are the skates including the big, Raja binoculata, California, R. inornata, longnose, R. rhina, starry, R. stellulata, and sandpaper, Bathyraja kincaidii skates. Colleena Perez (2005) completed her Masters thesis on the age, growth, and reproduction of B. kincaidii, while two other students Chris Rinewalt (2008) and Heather Robinson (2006) studied the diets of B. kincaidii and R. rhina, respectively. Other projects include a study on the life history of the white-spotted chimaera, Hydrolagus colliei, by Lewis Barnett (2008) and a study on the life history of three species of deepsea catsharks (Scyliorhinidae) by Brooke Flammang (2005; now a Ph.D. student at Harvard University). These projects were supported in part by a California Sea Grant that funded two student traineeships; Lewis Barnett and Chris Rinewalt. In total, five students have completed their research on data that we have collected from our collaboration with the SWFSC Santa Cruz Lab. Another student, Kelsey James, is currently studying the age growth and reproductive biology of Raja stellulata using data collected from these surveys.                                             


Skate from the north Pacific continental slope                                         

Eastern North Pacific Slope Survey- Over the past six years the PSRC has been involved in an extensive project studying the chondrichthyan fauna along the upper continental slope between 200-120 m deep. Since 2003 members of the PSRC have been participating with the NWFSC studying the life history and systematics of chondrichthyan fishes that occur between the Canadian and Mexican borders. Among the primary research projects being conducted are a study on the age, growth, and reproduction of the roughtail skate, Bathyraja trachura, by Chante Davis (2006), and a complementary diet study on this same species by Mariah Boyle (2009). Data from these surveys are being, or have been, collected by Lewis Barnett, Chris Rinewalt, Colleena Perez, Brooke Flammang, and Kelsey James for their respective thesis projects. These projects have been supported in part by a California Sea Grant.                                         

    Alaskan skates                              

Alaskan Research Program- The PSRC has on ongoing program studying the skate fauna of Alaskan waters. PSRC personnel have been participating in AFSC and Alaska Fish and Game sponsored survey cruises since 2002. The biology, including age, growth, reproduction, and feeding ecology, of at least 10 species is currently under investigation. At least five PSRC graduates are conducting thesis projects in Alaskan waters. This program is currently receiving support from the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) to study the age, growth, and reproductive biology of the Aleutian skate, Bathyraja aleutica, and Bering skate, B. interrupta and the reproductive biology of the big skate, Raja binoculata, and longnose skate, R. rhina. Two students, Diane Haas and Shaara Ainsley, are working on their Masters thesis on the former two species. The latter two species are the basis of an emerging fishery for skates in Alaskan waters. Shaara Ainsley is also studying the age, growth, and reproductive biology of the whitebrow skate, Bathyraja minispinosa. Jasmine Fry is studying the age, growth, and reproductive biology of three eastern Bering Sea continental slope species, the Commander skate, Bathyraja lindebergi, white-blotched skate, Bathyraja maculata, and mud skate, Bathyraja taranetzi. Simon Brown is studying the feeding ecology of the Aleutian and Bering skates in the western Gulf of Alaska while Jenny Kemper is starting a study on the feeding ecology of skates in the Prince William Sound area. All of these projects have been supported by the NPRB (project numbers 510, 621, and 715).                                 

  Deep-sea chondrichthyan                           

Biodiversity Program- I am also involved in several projects with colleagues in southern Africa, Australia, and the North Pacific. This includes descriptions, revisions, and species checklists of chondrichthyan fishes from the North Pacific and southern African regions. Among the primary projects is a revision of the softnose skates, Bathyraja sp., from the eastern North Pacific, a biogeographical account of these skates, a description of a new species of frilled shark, Chlamydoselachus, and a revision of the family Hexanchidae. In addition to collaborative projects with established colleagues I have several projects with some of my current and former students. Jayna Schaaf-DaSilva completed her Masters thesis by revising the catshark genus Cephaloscyllium from the western North Pacific which included the descriptions of two new species. Jayna had previously described a new species of lanternshark (Etmopterus burgessi) from Taiwan. Several other students have published papers describing new species from the Galapagos, and a new species of torpedo ray from Taiwan. Jon Walsh published a revision of western North Pacific angel sharks (Squatina spp.) and during his research discovered a new species that we are currently describing!                            



Apristurus Research Group- Initiated in 2004, the Apristurus Research Group (ARG) aims to bring together experts from different geographic regions to revise the genus Apristurus on a global basis. Currently, there are 35 recognized species with perhaps 13 or more undescribed species. Participants in the group include Drs. Kazuhiro Nakaya (chief organizer; Hokkaido University, Hakodate, Japan), Keiichi Sato (Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, Okinawa, Japan), Samuel Iglesias (Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France), Leonard Compagno (Iziko- Museums of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa), Peter Last (CSIRO Laboratory Hobart, Tasmania, Australia), and Bernard Seret (Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France) among other regional collaborators. The primary regions that I am examining material include the eastern Pacific and southern African regions.                          



Centrophorus Research Project- In collaboration with Dr. William White (CSIRO Laboratory Hobart, Tasmania, Australia), Peter Last, and Leonard Compagno we are examining and revising the taxonomy of the gulper sharks (Centrophorus) in the western Pacific, Indo-Pacific, and southern African regions. Currently, there are 13 nominal species recognized in this region. However, it appears that some of these species are likely junior synonyms of other valid species while some well known species may in fact be undescribed.                         




Chimaera Research Project- In collaboration with Dr. Dominique Didier (Millersville State University, Millersville, Pennsylvania) the focus of this research project is to clarify the systematics of eastern Pacific and southern African chimaeras including identification and descriptions of several new species. Also, working in collaboration on various aspects of the project are Leonard Compagno and Douglas Long (California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California). In addition, Dr. Didier and I along with one of my current graduate students, Lewis Barnett, are collaborating on a paper on the biogeography of deepsea chimaeras in the eastern North Pacific. Lewis and Kim Quaranta, another MLML student, recently collaborated with Dr. Didier and myself describing a couple of new eastern Pacific chimaera species.