Ellis is one of America’s leading marine biologists and conservationists, and is generally recognized as the foremost painter of marine natural history subjects in the world. He is famous for his museum installations that include the 94 foot Blue Whale in New York City’s American Museum of Natural History, as well as murals for the Denver Museum of Natural History and the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, MA. His paintings of whales and sharks have appeared in Audubon, National Wildlife, Reader's Digest, Australian Geographic, the Encyclopedia Britannica, Sports Afield, Sport Diver, Nautical Quarterly, numerous other national and international publications and, of course, in his own books. Ellis’ work has been exhibited in one-man and group shows from coast to coast and 106 of his paintings were selected by the Smithsonian Institution to form a traveling exhibit of the marine mammals of the world. These paintings are now in a permanent collection of the Whale World museum in Albany, Australia.
A prolific writer, Ellis is the author of over 100 magazine articles and 23 books including The Book of Sharks. Having been translated into six languages and in its seventh printing, The Book of Sharks has been called the most popular book on sharks ever written.