Shark research centre

Leonard J. V. Compagno (PhD, Stanford University, 1979, adjunct professor, San Francisco State University, 1979 to 1985) is curator of fishes in the Natural History Department and heads the Shark Research Centre (SRC), a small research unit currently including two predoctoral graduate students.

History and objectives

The Shark Research Centre was formally established in December, 1986 at J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology in Grahamstown and transferred to the South African Museum in 1989. The SRC in turn evolved from L.J.V. Compagno's shark laboratories at Stanford University and at the Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies in California. The SRC is a unique organisation in South Africa and is one of the few internationally that specialises in fundamental research on aspects of the Class Chondrichthyes, cartilaginous fishes (sharks, rays and chimaeroids) or sharklike fishes. Its areas of interest are the systematics and biodiversity, morphology, evolution and phylogeny, zoogeography, natural history, behavioural ecology, rational exploitation, management, and conservation of cartilaginous fishes.

The SRC serves as a local and international source of public information on the shark-like fishes, including lectures, advise to commercial fisheries and institutional research bodies, to the news media, and to film-makers. SRC promotes a factual view of the relationship of shark-like fishes to human activities. See Publications for a list of books, papers, articles, reports and other items from SRC and its predecessors, and Projects for recent work of the SRC.

Contact details

Dr Leonard Compagno
Curator:  Fish Collections

Natural History Department
Iziko South African Museum
Box 61, Cape Town 8000
South Africa

Phone: +27 (0)21 481 3856
Fax: +27 (0)21 481 3993
e-mail: lcompagno@iziko.org.za