KEYNOTE SPEAKERS 2023
We are very excited and honored to introduce two Internationally recognized elasmobranch researchers as this year’s Keynote Speakers; Dr. David A. Ebert from the Pacific Shark Research Center / Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, in America and Dr. Alison Towner from the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) and committee member of White Sharks Global.
Dr. David A. Ebert
Presentation title: Searching for Lost Sharks.
Dr. Dave Ebert has devoted his life to studying the ocean’s most elusive, dangerous and yet fascinating predator – the shark! Author of 35 books and over 700 publications, including the popular “Sharks of the World” and “Sharks and Rays of Southern Africa”, Dave holds numerous positions including Director of the Pacific Shark Research Center, past President of the American Elasmobranch Society, Scientific Advisor to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Research Associate at the California Academy of Sciences and South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, and the IUCN Shark Specialist Group. A popular television guest, Dave has appeared on various programs for the BBC, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic. As a regular on Shark Week, Dave has lead expeditions in search of the rarest, most elusive sharks in the world. He has even discovered new shark species while filming on location. Dave is founder of the Lost Sharks project and co-host of the popular podcast Beyond Jaws!
Dr. Alison Towner
Presentation Title: Fear At The Top: Chronology of Orcas Displacing Coastal Sharks in South Africa.
Alison’s passion for marine life, particularly her fascination with chondrichthyan fauna, stems from her early upbringing influenced by her father, an avid diver and author. Her journey began at a young age when she obtained her junior PADI open-water SCUBA certification at just eleven years old. Alongside her twin brother and uncle, she explored the challenging environments of the UK’s cold and murky flooded quarries. Over the years, Alison’s commitment to the underwater world grew steadily. During her summer breaks, she worked as a dive instructor in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, honing her expertise. In 2006, she graduated with a BSc Honours degree in Marine Biology from the University of North Wales, Bangor. In January 2007, Alison relocated to Gansbaai, South Africa, where she has dedicated herself to the study of sharks for nearly two decades. Her MSc thesis on white sharks, completed in 2013 through the University of Cape Town, marked a significant milestone in her research journey, which has been consistently focused on understanding the spatial ecology of white sharks. Alison’s recent doctoral research at Rhodes University has led the work on the novel interactions between killer whales and white sharks in South Africa. This work meticulously investigates the interactions and the ecological, economic, and safety implications associated with these phenomena. With nearly twenty years of dedicated experience, Alison stands as a respected figure in the field of marine science in Southern Africa, providing critical insights into the conservation and understanding of the region’s diverse and delicate marine ecosystems.