Sara Ellis

Executive Director
The Lobster Conservancy
P.O. Box 235
Friendship, ME 04547
(207) 832-8224

Education & Special Training

Present Small Boat Experience (1,000 hours as first mate on 42-ft Cape Islander)
1992 Ph.D. Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
1991 Videography and
B&W Photography
Video Tape Operations, Bay Area Video Coalition, San Francisco, CA
Video Systems Overview, University of California Extension, Santa Cruz, CA
B&W Photography, Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey, CA
1990 Colour Photography Cape Cod Community College, Barnstable, MA
1988-2001 First Aid and CPR Training St. John's Ambulance
1984 M.A. Boston University Marine Program
Marine Biology
1983 Bachelors of Science Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Marine Biology
1979 Physical and
Chemical Oceanography
Huntsman Marine Lab, St. Andrews, New Brunswick
1978 Coastal Marine Ecology Bermuda Biological Station, Ferry Reach, Bermuda
1977 SCUBA Certification NASDS

Academic and Research Experience

Executive Director The Lobster Conservancy, Friendship, ME, present
Director of a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the American lobster and the traditional trap fishery through scientific research and public education.
Assistant Professor Biology Department, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1998
Taught Marine Mammalogy
Naturalist Peggy's Cove Whale Watch, Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, Summers, 1995-1998
Research Assistant Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada, Spring, 1996
Teaching Assistant Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, 1993-1994
Project Manager and
Research Associate
Associated Scientists at Woods Hole, MA, 1990-1994
Editorial Assistant Oceanus Magazine, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA

Research Experience

As a Master's student, researched chemical communication of vertebrates and invertebrates, with emphasis on possible sex pheromones of the American lobster.
Collected and analyzed life-history data on harbour seal mothers and pups on Sable Island, Nova Scotia. Analyzed a 10-year data set to examine the relative influences of maternal age, size, and experience on offspring traits such as mass at birth and weaning. Assisted in capturing grey seals and applying satellite tags and time-depth recorders for studies on habitat use and foraging behaviour. Published results in PhD thesis and journals articles.
Served as Project Manager and Scientist for non-profit research group for 4 years. Performed aerial surveys for whales and other large vertebrates off Cape Cod and Florida from an airship (blimp), in coordination with National Marine Fisheries Service, New England Aquarium and Florida Department of Natural Resources. Recorded and analyzed data on diving behaviour of whales to improve aerial survey methods. Resulting data were used to help protect right whales in critical habitat.
Identified patterns and trends within complex and diverse data sets using computer and analytical skills. Managed large databases on IBM and Macintosh computers, and analyzed data using statistical packages (SPSS and SYSTAT). Summarized data for clear visual presentations in reports and talks using graphics programs (Power Point, SigmaPlot, PageMaker, and DeltaGraph).

Communication Experience

Co-authored reports on sightability of right whales, as well as a technical paper characterizing ship traffic on the southeastern calving grounds of right whales. Effectively communicated results to diverse audiences including representatives from the Coast Guard, Navy, harbour pilots, and managers at multi-agency workshops. Presented results to scientific audiences at biennial marine mammal conferences, and to non-scientific audiences in public forums.
As Editorial Assistant at Oceanus magazine, wrote and edited articles on marine science and policy, including fisheries, oceanography, and climate change. Made complex scientific issues understandable to a non-specialized audience. Assisted in all aspects of preparing the quarterly magazine for publication, including coordination of volunteer interns. After leaving Oceanus, wrote occasional freelance articles on contemporary environmental issues for newspapers, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Friends of the Sea Otter.
Volunteered as co-editor of MARMAM, an electronic discussion group on marine mammal research and conservation. Previewed postings to the list and select appropriate messages to send out to members. Queried authors for additional information as necessary.
Used professional skills in acquiring, editing, and narrating video to create short documentaries for scientific purposes and media use. Topics include cetacean behaviour and a 3-day necropsy of a right whale that was struck by a ship off Florida. Select footage has been used by CNN, CBC, and many local television stations.


1995-1997 Dalhousie University
Graduate Scholarship
1993-1995 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Postgraduate Scholarship
1984-1987 Boston University
Graduate Tuition Scholarship
1984-1986 NSERC
Postgraduate Scholarship
1984 Dalhousie University
University Medal in Biology
1983 & 1994 NSERC
Undergraduate Summer Research Award
1982 & 1981 Dalhousie University
Arts and Sciences Scholarship

Conference Presentations

1998 Lobster Recruitment Workshop, Penobscot Bay Collaborative Workshop, The Island Institute, Camden, Maine.
1998 World Marine Mammal Science Conference, Monaco.
1996 Leatherback Sea Turtle Workshop, Dalhousie University and The New England Aquarium.
1989-1995 Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals (Conference Presenter in 1991 and 1993).
1994 Independent Scientific Peer Review of North Atlantic Right Whale Research, National Marine Fisheries Service, Woods Hole, MA.
1992 Southeast Right Whale Meeting, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Brunswick, GA.
1991 American Cetacean Society, Monterey, CA.
1985 International Workshop on Lobster Recruitment, St. Andrew's, New Brunswick.

Ellis' Biography
Ellis' Publications