Blog Posts

Stars in their eyes (well, skin).

“Tonight Matthew i’m going to be…..” OK, enough of the British TV show references (of a particular era)! I actually want to talk about Smooth-hound sharks, Starry Smooth-hound identification to be exact (Mustelus asterias). Recently i was given a box of trawl captured smooth-hound sharks from a local fish wholesaler for fecundity research as well […]

Egg(case) Hunting this Easter

Are you heading to the beach this Easter? If so forget the chocolate eggs – shark & skate eggcases are where its at! Some species of sharks and skates found around the UK coastline lay eggcases, this is a method of reproduction known as ‘oviparity’. Skates will lay their eggs on the seabed, with sharks […]

Beach Cleaning

I have been taking part in, organizing and coordinating beach cleans for over 7 years now, my actions are a direct result of what i see on a daily basis; more and more rubbish ending up around our coastline. Having spent a reasonable amount of time frequenting some of the most remote Scottish beaches and […]

Call of the Blue

On the 19th of November i headed down to the Natural History Museum in London, i was attending a book launch party and would be doing a Q&A session on sharks whilst there. The book by Philip Hamilton is entitled “Call of the Blue” and tells the story of positive, focused people who are working […]

Investigating Shark Cage Diving

My blog for The Guardian online, following the decision to ban cage diving in New Zealand :

Beach cleans & shark guts… it’s all rubbish

Alongside my work as a shark biologist, I am a volunteer for the charity Surfers Against Sewage. As part of this role I organise and participate in numerous beach cleans along the U.K. coastline, more often than not the bulk of rubbish that we remove during these cleans are plastic items. Now assuming you haven’t […]

Manta Rays and Mirrors…

Here I discuss research conducted by Dr Csilla Ari and Dr Dominic D’Agostino on the Giant Manta Ray. Their study provides evidence for behavioural responses in Manta’s that are known to be prerequisites for self awareness in other species. Given that Manta Ray fisheries exist globally, where does that leave us ethically?  

Life After Death: How we hatched live shark pups from dead females

Here I report on a conservation project by Sharklab-Malta that i became involved with; removing eggcases from trawl captured sharks, hatching them out and releasing them back into the wild.

octopus release

Octopus release goes swimmingly!

After a temporary stay at Macduff Marine Aquarium, this octopus was carefully transported back to the sea so that she would have time to find a mate and complete her lifecycle. In the video below you can find out how we came to have this fascinating animal at the aquarium. Watch her glide gently out […]

Glow in the dark shark!

In my tenth shark piece for the Guardian I report on a recently discovered deep sea shark that glows in the dark… Light emitted by a new species of lanternshark, Etmopterus lailae, is camouflage and helps them to hunt, communicate and find partners. But how does it work?