Shark Species

The Large Pelagics Lab of the FRD Life History Program (LHP) at SWFSC conduct studies on several aspects of the lives of sharks in the North Pacific Ocean. Shark Research studies include investigations on biology, physiology, ecology and migration as well as distribution and abundance, population genetic structure, and fishery interactions. The researchers in the Large Pelagics Lab at Southwest Fisheries Science Center conduct research mandated under the Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management PlanThe previous link is a link to Non-Federal government web site. Click to review NOAA Fisheries disclaimer (FMP) produced by the Pacific Fishery Management CouncilThe previous link is a link to Non-Federal government web site. Click to review NOAA Fisheries disclaimer. Species we directly research are the blue shark (Prionace glauca), shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus), and thresher sharks: thresher (Alopias vulpinus), pelagic thresher (Alopias pelagicus), and bigeye thresher (Alopias superciliosus). Under the FMP, we also opportunistically monitor other species, including great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias), basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus), and hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna spp.) if they are in the area.

 Basking shark, Cetorhinus maximus 
 Bigeye thresher shark, Alopias superciliosus 
 Blue shark, Prionace glauca 
 Hammerhead shark, Sphyrna spp. 
 Pelagic thresher shark, Alopias pelagicus 
 Shortfin mako shark, Isurus oxyrinchus 
 Thresher shark, Alopias vulpinus 
 White shark, Carcharodon carcharias 

Other Southern California shark species:

 Bat ray, Myliobatis californica
 Broadnose sevengill shark, Notorynchus cepedianus
 Dusky shark, Carcharhinus obscurus
 Horn shark, Heterodontus francisci
 Leopard shark, Triakis semifasciata
 Pacific angel shark, Squatina californica
 Smoothhound shark, Mustelus henlei and Mustelus californicus

Go back to Shark Research or the FRD Life History Program

How you can help!

If you see a basking shark while you are on the water and can call from your vessel, please call:

John Hyde at (760) 408-7726 or Heidi Dewar at (858) 546-7023.

If you wish to report a sighting after you have returned to land please provide the date, time and location of the sighting, as well as any comments to (858) 334-2884 or send an email to

Any photos or video would also be appreciated and can be sent to:
Heidi Dewar
NOAA Fisheries, SWFSC
8901 La Jolla Shores Dr.
La Jolla, CA 92037

If you catch a shark tagged with a SWFSC tag, please help us recover the vertebrae and catch information!

shark wanted poster