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Posted by Lauren Smith on

Western Ecology Tour

Western Ecology Tour

I am delighted to be joining an awesome expedition team this June, developed and led by professional diver Andy Clark (

The UK’s marine environments are under more pressure than ever before. From the plastic pollution littering our beaches to the damage done by discarded fishing gear and intensive or sometimes illegal fishing practices. It is imperative to gain a better understanding and awareness of these issues and the action required to protect the seas we all love and depend on.

The team Andy has assembled includes divers, marine biologists and underwater videographers with the aim of assessing the marine environments along the West coast of the UK and to support the vital work of specific projects with the goal of protecting these habitats for future generations.

I will be involved in the Northern most part of the expedition, diving Loch Carron and Loch Duich and explaining more about the Shark and Skate Citizen Science Scotland group that my colleague Chris Rickard and I have set-up (

If you would like to learn more about the expedition or support the projects involved please check out the expedition proposal which can be found here:

Posted by Lauren Smith on

Guardian Blogs

Guardian Blogs

At the start of 2016 I began writing online blogs for The Guardian. My thanks goes out to the science editor for allowing me access to this platform which has enabled me to reach a wide audience and to report on various aspects of shark science.

I will post the links to the blogs on here once they are live. Here is a link to my first blog about white shark diving in Guadalupe:

“Tourism with bite: swimming with the great white shark”


Posted by Lauren Smith on

The Ultimate Shark Conservation Experience!

The Ultimate Shark Conservation Experience!

The Ultimate Shark Conservation Experience!
-Sign up for the trip of a lifetime with Saltwater Life & Basking Shark Scotland Summer 2014.

– Learn about Shark Biology, Physiology, Ecology & Conservation
– Observe and swim in the wild with the gentle giants of the shark world – Basking Sharks

basking shark scotland

More than one in every six assessed shark species is classified by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as threatened with extinction.
Participation in the AWARE Shark Conservation Program taught by Shark Biologist Dr Lauren Smith will provide you with information about shark species, how and why they are being overexploited, current management practices in place, as well as advising you about what actions you can take to aid the understanding and protection of shark species worldwide.

The Basking Shark is the second largest fish in the world and the largest in the UK (reaching up to 12m in length!) and throughout the British summer can be seen cruising around our coastline, congregating in particular areas along the West Coast of Scotland. Here they can be seen “Basking” at the surface – filter feeding plankton out of the water.
During this time you have a unique opportunity to observe the sharks by boat and/or in the water, with Basking Shark Scotland and Dr Lauren Smith on hand to answer any questions you may have about this species. This is wildlife at its best, on their terms in their environment.

This unique shark conservation experience is ideal for those considering a career in shark biology, and conservation management practices as well as for interested individuals looking to gain a greater understanding about global shark conservation alongside a unique and inspirational encounter with a local shark species (that just happens to be the second largest in the world – pretty awesome!!)
– The AWARE Shark Conservation Program (recognized by an official certification) and Basking Shark trip can be completed in 1 day and will be running on Saturday 16th August 2014 (total cost £250 per person, minimum number of participants for trip to run 6), with the option to extend your time on the water with Basking Shark Scotland.
– For further information about this course, or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Lauren here; email: website:

Posted by Lauren Smith on

Gill Envy; Subsurface Trip Report – Tenerife, October 2013.

Gill Envy; Subsurface Trip Report – Tenerife, October 2013.

Hit the following dive sites over 2 days; El Puertito, Abades Micro Marine Reserve, San Miguel Ray’s and Poris. On the Underwater Camera Hunt for Green Turtles & Stingrays, all of the diving was with Amarilla Diver’s Tenerife.

The Green Turtle – Chelonia mydas, is one of the largest sea turtles reaching 78-119 cm in shell length and weighing in at between 68-181 kg. They migrate long distances between feeding grounds and the beaches from where they hatched.

Green turtle 1

Green Turtles are classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), numbers are depleted in a variety of ways; their eggs are over-harvested, adults are hunted and also caught as by-catch, as well as their natural habitat being destroyed….

The long-snouted seahorse inhabits shallow inshore water s (down to 12m), in seaweed and algal stands. Not much is known about the numbers of this specific species although the entire Hippocampus genus is listed in Appendix II of CITES (Convention In Trade of Endangered Species).

Long-snouted Seahorse


Stumpy here is so called because he has lost the majority of his tail in an unknown accident… this makes him pretty recognizable though at this spot! Favourite foods tend to be comprised of bottom dwelling crustacea, small fish and worms!


The common octopus is the most studied of all the octopus species, it can grow up to 25cm in mantle length and it’s tentacles can reach 1m! Off the North West Coast of Africa it is harvested on a large scale.. more than 20,000 tonnes are taken annually! Crabs, crayfish and bivalve mollusks are its preferred prey choice. it relies heavily on it’s superb camouflage ability



The common cuttlefish can reach 49cm in mantle length and can weigh in at 4kg. It preys on a variety of species including; fish, copepods, crustaceans, octopods, polychaetes and more! interestingly a study in 2008 showed that when cuttlefish embryo’s are visually exposed to a specific prey type e.g. crabs they will hunt primarily for that in later life