Selected Publications 


  • McCosker, J.E. 1999. The history of Steinhart Aquarium: A very fishy tale. The Donning Company, Virginia. 158 pp.
  • Tricas, T. C., K. Deacon, P. Last, J.E. McCosker, T. I. Walker and L. Taylor. 1997. The Nature Company Guides: Sharks & Rays, Time-Life Books. 288 pp.
  • Ellis, R. and J.E. McCosker. 1991. Great White Shark. HarperCollins and Stanford University Press, New York. 270 pp.
  • McCosker, J.E. 1985. Associate Editor and Contributor to: The Encyclopedia of Aquatic Life, ed. by K. Banister and A. Cambell, Equinox (Oxford) Ltd., Oxford. 349 pp.
  • McCosker, J.E. 1985. Economic benefits of research collections: The bottom line. Testimony before the US House Committee on Science and Technology. US Committee on Science and Technology, Science Policy Study Hearings Volume 2: The Role of the Research Museums. Pp. 125-133.
  • Clark, W. and J.E. McCosker. 1980. Dispersed, decentralized and renewable energy sources: alternatives to national vulnerability and war. Project Report, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington D. C. 326 pp.
  • McCosker, J.E. and M.D. Lagios. 1979. Editors of The Biology and Physiology of the Living Coelacanth. Occasional Papers of the California Academy of Sciences, no. 134. 175 pp.


(writer, chief scientist and/or participant)

  • The Fish That Time Forgot, BBC, 2001
  • Galapagos, IMAX, 1999
  • Cuba: Forbidden Depths, Discovery, 1999
  • Galapagos: Beyond Darwin, Discovery, 1996
  • Ocean Quest, NBC, 1985
  • Jaws: The True Story, BBC, 1981
  • Mysteries of the Sea, ABC, 1980
  • Life on Earth, BBC, 1979

Scientific Articles

  • McCosker, J.E. and R.N. Lea. 2006. White Shark Attacks Upon Humans in California and Oregon, 1993-2003. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 57(17): 479-501.
  • McCosker, J.E. 2006. Symbiotic relationships. In Ecology of Marine Fishes. L. G. Allen et al., eds. University of California Press, Berkeley. Pp. 554-563.
  • Böhlke, E.B. and J.E. McCosker. 2001. The moray eels of Australia and New Zealand, with the description of two new species (Anguilliformes: Muraenidae). Records of the Australian Museum 53(1): 71-102.
  • McCosker, J.E. and R. N. Lea. 1996. White shark attacks in the eastern Pacific Ocean: an update and analysis. Pp. 419-434 In Great white sharks: The biology of Carcharodon carcharias. Academic Press, ed. by A. P. Klimley and D. G. Ainley. 517 pp.
  • Böhlke, E.B., J.E. McCosker and J.E. Böhlke. 1989. Family Muraenidae. In Fishes of the Western North Atlantic, Part Nine, Volume One: Orders Anguilliformes and Saccopharyngiformes. Sears Foundation for Marine Research, Yale University. Pages 104-206.
  • McCosker, J.E., E.B. Böhlke and J.E. Böhlke. 1989. Family Ophichthidae. In Fishes of the Western North Atlantic, Part Nine, Volume One: Orders Anguilliformes and Saccopharyngiformes. Sears Foundation for Marine Research, Yale University. Pages 254-412.
  • McCosker, J.E. 1985. White shark attack behavior: observations of and speculations about predator and prey strategies. Memoirs of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 9: 123-135.
  • McCosker, J.E. and R.H. Rosenblatt. 1984. The inshore fish fauna of the Galapagos Islands. Pp. 133 144 in, Key Environments, Galapagos, R. Perry, ed. Oxford, Pergamon Press.
  • Tricas, T.C. and J.E. McCosker. 1984. Predatory behavior of the white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), with notes on its biology. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 43(14): 221-238.
  • Egaña, A.C. and J.E. McCosker. 1984. Attacks on divers by white sharks in Chile. California Fish and Game 70(3): 173 179.
  • McCosker, J.E. 1979. Inferred natural history of the living coelacanth. In, The Biology and Physiology of the Living Coelacanth. Occasional Papers of the California Academy of Sciences, no. 134: 17-24.
  • McCosker, J.E. 1977. Fright posture of Calloplesiops altivelis (Pisces: Plesiopidae): a unique example of Batesian mimicry. Science 197: 400-401.
  • McCosker, J.E. 1977. The osteology, classification, and relationships of the eel family Ophichthidae. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 41(1): 1-123.
  • McCosker, J.E. 1975. Feeding behavior of Indo Australian Hydrophiidae. Pp. 217-232, in, The biology of sea snakes. Ed., W. A. Dunson, Univ. Park Press, Baltimore.
  • McCosker, J.E. and C.E. Dawson. 1975. Biotic passage through the Panama Canal with particular reference to fishes. Marine Biology 30: 343-351.

Popular Articles:

  • McCosker, J.E. 2007. The history of research at the California Academy of Sciences' Steinhart Aquarium and Department of Aquatic Biology. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 58(11): 171-195.
  • McCosker, J.E. 1999. A letter from the field: Beneath Forbidden Seas, Marine Research in Cuba. California Wild 52(1): 42-45.
  • McCosker, J.E. 1995. Ed Ricketts: A Role Model for Marine Biologists. The Steinbeck Newsletter, 9(1): 12-14.
  • McCosker, J.E. and D. Derian. 1991. Haro sur l'assassin. GEO, 153(12): 58-70.
  • Ellis, R. and J.E. McCosker. 1991. What fate awaits the great white shark? Audubon, 93(5): 100-108.
  • McCosker, J.E. 1988. Tod aus der Tiefe. Geo 1988(9): 82-94.
  • McCosker, J.E. and L. R. Taylor. 1988. A Reader's Guide to Coral Reefs. Pacific Discovery 41(2): 39-41.
  • McCosker, J.E. 1986. The Sausalito Hum. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 80(6): 1853-1854.
  • McCosker, J.E. 1981. Great White Shark. Science 81, 2(6): 42-51.
  • McCosker, J.E. 1979. In utter darkness. Oceans 12(6): 22-29.
  • McCosker, J.E. 1977. Flashlight Fishes. Scientific American 236(3): 106-114.
  • McCosker, S. and J.E. McCosker. 1976. To the islands of the moon. Pacific Discovery 29(1): 19-28.

Have a Question?


Q: What brought you to Steinhart Aquarium?


A: In 1972 every university on the coast wanted an oceanographer. After completing my dissertation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, I taught briefly at UC San Diego and then pursued a post-doctoral fellowship in Eastern Australia. While diving off the coast of New Guinea I received a telex: “Steinhart Aquarium director drowns. Position open. Are you interested in a job?” In 1973, I became the youngest guy on the staff, and the head of the staff.

Read all the questions »

More about Dr. McCosker


Department: Aquatic Biology


Expeditions: 24



Steinhart Aquarium Research

Seafood Guide

Dying for a Bowl of Soup

Shark Finning (PDF)



Aquatic biologist John McCosker talks about this elusive fish that was long thought to be the missing link between fish and amphibians.

Life in the Sea
Aquatic biologist John McCosker has seen a change in the public’s perception of the value of life in the water.

Destructive Fishing
Current shrimp fishing techniques are devastating to the ecology of the ocean, warns aquatic biologist John McCosker.

Shark Fin Soup
Will sharks on this planet go extinct because of human stupidity? So asks our shark expert John McCosker.


Selected Publications and Films

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