Simon is a marine conservation biologist and wildlife photographer from New Plymouth, New Zealand. He is a co-founder and Principal Scientist at the Marine Megafauna Foundation, where he leads the global whale shark research and conservation program. He is also a Co-Chair for the Sub-Equatorial Africa region within the IUCN Shark Specialist Group, Science Advisor to Wild Me, and a founding board member of the Sawfish Conservation Society.
Simon led the global conservation assessment of whale sharks for the IUCN Red List in 2016, which identified the species as endangered, then led the technical proposal that successfully uplisted whale sharks to Appendix I of the UN’s Convention on Migratory Species in 2017 (achieving close to global protection for the species, at least officially). He regularly publishes scientific papers on whale sharks, as well as many others on threatened shark, ray and sea turtle species, and is co-editing a scientific textbook on whale sharks to be published in 2019.
His research results are routinely covered by major media outlets, including the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and New York Times, amongst many others.
Simon has a BSc in ecology from Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand), and a BSc Hons (1st Class) and PhD in marine biology from The University of Queensland (Australia).
Simon is also an award-winning marine wildlife photographer. His photography and videos have been widely published by international media, including National Geographic, BBC, New Scientist, Nature, The Guardian, Discovery Channel, Washington Post, Animal Planet, BBC Wildlife, and many others. One of his photographs was chosen as a personal favourite of Sir David Attenborough’s, in conjunction with BBC’s Blue Planet II series, and another illustrates one of the global PADI scuba diving certification cards.
Most importantly, Simon’s photographs have been used to support research, conservation and advocacy efforts by a large number of countries and organisations, including the United Nations, Marine Megafauna Foundation, Wild Me, Sail Against Plastic, Galapagos National Park, Shark Trust, Google Voyager, Galapagos Conservation Trust, the Australian and Sri Lankan governments, Wildlife Trust of India, Tubbataha Management Office (Philippines), WWF Tanzania, and WWF Pakistan.
Simon currently migrates through the year between New Zealand, Indonesia, and various project sites all over the world. He will be hosting public research and photography trips to Komodo (Indonesia), Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) and Mafia Island (Tanzania) in 2019.
He also enjoys writing, surfing, generally being outdoors, and talking about himself in the third person.
Phew. Anyone else find it difficult talking about themselves, or is that a kiwi thing?
If you’ve got something to ask, don’t hesitate to get in touch. My email address (and answers to some commonly-asked questions… please read those first) is here.
Other links that may be of interest:
- My scientific publications
- Our research work on whale sharks
- My professional resume
- The photography, travel, and scuba diving equipment I use
- My advice for students considering a marine biology career
- How I got into all this: the narrative version
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I’m also sporadically active on Instagram, so do say hi over there.