Ryosuke Motani

Iowa State University

Luther College

Ohio Wesleyan University

Oregon State University 

Ryosuke Motani

Ryosuke Montani is Professor of Evolutionary Paleobiology and Functional Paleoecology at University of California, Davis. 
Professor Motani studies the evolution and ecology of reptiles during the Dinosaur Era. He is interested in marine reptiles, such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, which colonized the sea from land and eventually gave rise to “sea monsters” of the time. Such transitions from land to sea in the fossil record is one of his research focuses. He also revealed how ichthyosaurs initially looked like lizards with flippers but eventually became fish-shaped and even gave rise to deep divers, just like whales did some 200 million years later. His research activities include collaborative fieldwork with the Peking University that entered its 20th year. He received his BSc from the University of Tokyo and MSc and Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. He was a Miller Research Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley in 1997-99, received NSF Career Award in 2004, and was elected to a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences in 2022.