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World of Sharks

Author: Save Our Seas Foundation

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Welcome to World of Sharks, a podcast all about sharks, rays and their underwater habitat brought to you by the Save our Seas Foundation. Forget Jaws – there is SO much more to sharks than their fearsome reputation. Join scientist and shark nerd Dr Isla Hodgson as she chats with leading experts in shark science, conservation and storytelling to take a deep dive into the fascinating world of one of the most diverse, well-adapted, enigmatic, misunderstood and threatened groups of animals on the planet.
64 Episodes
This week we are diving into the world of angel sharks, the second most threatened group of elasmobranchs in the world. Joining us is co-founder and co-lead of the Angel Shark Project, Eva Meyers, and project coordinator for the Angel Shark Project: Wales, Jake Davies. In this episode we learn all about angel sharks, their super-powered ability to “disappear” and ambush prey, and the work of the Angel Shark Project which aims to protect these unusual sharks throughout their range. Shownotes: You can find out more about the projects mentioned here:, here, here and here You can also follow @angelsharkproject and @ProjectSIARC on instagram You can follow Eva on X (@angelshark2014) and Bluesky ( and Jake on instagram (@JDScuba).  If you want to know more about us, you can follow us on instagram (@saveourseasfoundation), X (@SaveOurSeas) and TikTok (@saveourseasfoundation).   
Sharks with beards. Deep sea sharks with glow-in-the-dark bellies. Sharks that take on submarines. Sharks that walk instead of swim and rays with a hedge trimmer for a nose…this episode has it all! We explore the fantastic diversity of sharks and their relatives (and of all marine life!) with marine biologist, scientific writer and broadcaster Dr Helen Scales, ahead of the release of her new book, What the Wild Sea Can Be. Join us as we travel from the ocean depths to the shallowest rockpools, meeting a colourful bunch of characters along the way. Timestamps: 05.01 - Helen's career journey from scientist to writer 16.33 - Pom-pom crabs, cleaner wrasse 22.14 - Sharks! Lanternsharks, greenland sharks, walking sharks, shysharks 27.10 - Sharks in history and culture 32.30 - The deep sea! 47.04 - Deep sea sharks 51.00 - What the Wild Sea Can Be and the future of our ocean Shownotes: Helen’s Instagram: @drhelenscales Helen’s twitter: @helenscales Website: Helen’s latest book: Save Our Seas Foundation is on instagram (@saveourseasfoundation) and x/twitter (@SaveOurSeas).
Come with us on a voyage to one of the most remote, biodiverse and "sharkiest" places on the planet with leading expert Pelayo Salinas, co-principal investigator of shark ecology and conservation at the Charles Darwin Foundation and Save Our Seas Foundation project leader. In this episode we go on a dive to observe scalloped hammerheads visiting their after-work spa, get booped by the bouncer of the reef, Galapagos sharks, and swim alongside the world's largest fish. And, if that wasn't enough, we head off on an expedition into the deep to visit a very unusual egg-laying site on a hydrothermal vent...  You can follow Pelayo on instagram and twitter (@pelayosalinas) and find out more about the Charles Darwin Foundation here:    Shownotes:  Follow SOSF: @saveourseasfoundation (instagram), @SaveOurSeas (x/twitter)
Thresher sharks are known for their unusual hunting strategy. They use their long tail like a whip, striking it so fast that it creates a shockwave capable of stunning multiple fish at once! But how does their anatomy support such an extreme movement? In today’s episode we find out! We talk with Jamie Knaub, who researches the biomechanics and vertebral anatomy in large, swimming animals - including whales and sharks. In this episode we explore Jamie's research, including her most recent work studying the vertebrae of the thresher shark to understand how they are able to carry out that iconic tail whip. This episode has it all: the Olympians of the shark world, surprise humpbacks, sharks with anxiety, digital dissections and of course some deliciously nerdy science. You can follow Jamie on X/twitter (@CornOnTheKnaub) or LinkedIn (Jamie Knaub). And you can find out more about the Fab Lab, run by Dr Marianne Porter, here:   You can find us on social media on X/twitter (@SaveOurSeas) or instagram (@saveourseasfoundation) Episode shownotes:    
Conservation is often more about understanding people than studying the animals we are trying to protect. In this episode we learn from Dr Hollie Booth, research fellow at the University of Oxford, who has worked extensively with small-scale fisheries in Indonesia, the world’s largest shark fishing nation. Hollie’s work aims to disentangle the drivers of shark fishing in order to find solutions that have positive outcomes for both sharks and coastal communities. Here, we discuss the complexities of fisheries and the many reasons why someone might catch and trade sharks. And, we talk about the importance of finding conservation strategies that are socially just as well as ecologically effective. You can follow Hollie and her work:  @the_hollietype (instagram) @kebersamaan_untuk_lautan (instagram) @hollieboothie (twitter)   Shownotes:  
The ocean is warming at a rapid pace. This year (2024) began with the highest global Sea Surface Temperature (SST) on record, and scientists are already warning of mass coral bleaching events and other worrying consequences for marine life. But how could rising temperatures impact sharks, particularly in the early stages of life when they are most vulnerable? PhD student and “mother-of-sharks” Noémie Coulon is trying to understand the effects of ocean warming and acidification on baby sharks, using an egg-laying species – the small-spotted catshark – as an example. In this episode, we follow her work as she raises catsharks in the lab, testing the effects of different environmental conditions at key stages in their development.    Follow along with Noémie's work on twitter (@noemie_coulon) and instagram (@noemie.coulon.9).  Shownotes:
In February 2024, a round stingray from a small, rural aquarium in the middle of a shopping mall unexpectedly took the world by storm. She was pregnant, but how this had happened was a complete mystery - there were no male stingrays in the tank, nor had there ever been... In this episode we are joined by scientist and science communicator Dr David Shiffman (@whysharksmatter) to examine Charlotte's case. We go deep into the various theories that could explain Charlotte's pregnancy to get to the bottom of what really happened. No, a shark did not get a ray pregnant, but what did happen is even more fascinating. It's a good excuse to take a deep dive into the more unusual methods of shark and ray reproduction, including the super cool zoological phenomenon that is parthenogenesis!  You can find out more about David here, find his book here and read his article on Charlotte for Southern Fried Science: Shownotes:  
The international shark fin trade is a billion-dollar industry. It is also driving declines in shark populations around the world. In this episode, we are joined by Luke Warwick, expert in global shark policy, to learn how CITES - an international agreement between governments to regulate trade in endangered species - could help protect sharks and rays from overexploitation. In particular, we discuss a landmark vote that occurred in 2022, which saw 90% of the fin trade come under regulation almost overnight. Luke walks us through what has happened in the year since, from getting the vote passed to implementing the new regulations at local level. And, we discuss some of the trials and tribulations of trying to get 100+ countries to agree on something, especially when most of them have a vested interest... You can learn more about Luke and his work with the Wildlife Conservation Society on twitter (@WCSsharks) and here You can also check out the shownotes for this episode here For more sharky content, find us on social media! We are @saveourseasfoundation on instagram, and @SaveOurSeas on twitter.   
Do sharks have ears? Are they good listeners? What are they listening for? Do great white sharks get freaked out by orca sounds? And what kind of music do sharks like?! We cover all this and so much more with bio-acoustician and shark hearing expert, Dr Lucille Chapuis. Join us for a fact-filled episode that includes disco sharks, curious humpbacks, putting sharks in 'sleepy-time baths' and R2D2 with a throat problem.  You can follow Lucille on twitter (@sharkslikejazz), instagram (@lucillechapuis) and via her website,  If you liked this episode, please consider giving us a rating and a review. You can get in touch with the podcast by emailing, or via social media (@saveourseasfoundation on instagram, @SaveOurSeas on twitter). 
Time travel. Ancient coral reefs. Shark sleuthing. The AMAZING properties of shark skin...this episode has it all! We're chatting with Dr Erin Dillon, conservation paleobiologist and researcher at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Erin's work uses fossilised shark skin (fancy term: dermal denticles) as a window into the past, to understand what kinds of sharks were around on coral reefs thousands of years ago and how that has changed over time. It's a fascinating deep dive into shark life before humans made their mark, and an insight into what healthy reefs could look like with a little bit of help.  You can follow Erin's work by heading to her website,, or by following Erin on social media (@erinmdillon).  You can find the shownotes for this episode here and find us on social media, we are @saveourseasfoundation on instagram and @SaveOurSeas on twitter. 
It's our 50th episode!! To celebrate, host Isla is joined by shark scientist and CEO of the Save Our Seas Foundation Dr James Lea to talk about the amazing evolutionary success of sharks and their relatives. We talk about just how much sharks have had thrown at them over the 440 million years they've existed on this planet (super volcanoes, ice ages, the terror of plants and a mass extinction event called the 'Great Dying'!) and discuss their super-powered adaptations and efficient body plans. Plus, we answer a listener question: how can I get my friends into shark conservation?  Shownotes:  You can find us on instagram (@saveourseasfoundation) and twitter (@SaveOurSeas).
Starting out on your own career journey can be a little daunting, which is why we’ve put together this special episode of World of Sharks, filled with advice, experiences and anecdotes from the guests of season 4. We talk about how to make your dreams of working in shark science and conservation a reality – from how to approach professors, to finding your niche, to overcoming setbacks and staying true to yourself. You can find additional resources in the shownotes: You can keep track of when our grants and funding opportunities are announced by following us on social media, we are @saveourseasfoundation on instagram and @SaveOurSeas on twitter!
Plastics. Oil spills. Industrial chemicals. Herbicides. Pesticides…the list of substances that we have dumped in the sea is endless. But scientists are only just beginning to understand the true extent of the impact of marine pollutants on marine life. Fish biologist and SOSF project leader Franco Cristiani is investigating the effects of harmful pollutants on chondrichthyans, using the American elephant fish (a chimaera) as a model species. We invited Franco onto World of Sharks to discuss this important research and learn about the potential consequences of marine pollution on the reproductive health, immune function and overall survival of sharks and their relatives. And, of course, we take some time to talk about the gloriously weird and funky American elephant fish! Shownotes: Find out more about Franco and his project here: and follow him on twitter (@franco_c89).  You can also follow us on instagram (@saveourseasfoundation) and twitter (@SaveOurSeas).
We’re heading back to the Seychelles this week to chat with research and programme directors for the Save Our Seas Foundation D’Arros Research Centre (SOSF-DRC), Dr Rob Bullock and Henriette Grimmel! Both Rob and Henriette have lots of experience and knowledge in the application of scientific research to marine policy, spatial planning and conservation. And, where they live and work – D’Arros, located in the outer islands of the Seychelles – is the perfect example of how science can be applied to protect and restore marine ecosystems. We talk about the magic of D'Arros, the impressive suite of long-term monitoring programmes carried out by the SOSF-DRC, and the long and complex process of designating and managing a Marine Protected Area (MPA). There are also cameos from the Aldabra giant tortoises, baby sharks, Sir David Attenborough and a VERY friendly manta ray called Jackson.  Shownotes:   You can find out more about the D'Arros Research Centre here or by following them on instagram, @darrosresearchcentre.    And you can find us on instagram (@saveourseasfoundation) and twitter (@SaveOurSeas). 
It's spooky season! And we're taking the opportunity to celebrate some close relatives of sharks and rays who don't get talked about as much as they deserve: the chimaeras. Also known as ghost sharks, spookfish, ratfish and rabbitfish, these ancient creatures glide in the dark of the deep ocean, much of their life shrouded in mystery. Helping us learn more about them is our guest, fish biologist and SOSF project leader Dr Luz Erandi Saldaña Ruiz. In this episode we learn all about Luz's work, which aims to improve the management of data-poor and data-limited fisheries in Mexico and find out all there is to know about the sharks' enigmatic cousins, who Luz works closely with. Digressions include Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas, sea creatures that defy reality, and a shark with starry skin.   You can follow Luz on Instagram (@erandiscienceart), twitter (@Sarudanya) and Facebook (ErandiScienceArt). You can also read more about her project here:  You can find the shownotes for this episode here: You can find out more about us by following @saveourseasfoundation on instagram, and @SaveOurSeas on twitter.    
Have you ever wondered what a shark’s brain looks like? How the brain of a goblin shark compares to a mako? What makes a whale shark tick? Or…what it’s like to get a shark brain in the post? These are all things that Dr Kara E. Yopak, shark brain expert and director of the EXCELLENTLY named ZoMBiE lab knows a thing or two about! Kara is interested in what different shark brains look like and how these differences have evolved over time. She looks at variations in brain size between species, as well as differences in how the brain is organised and structured. This information can give us insight into how sharks live, their habitat, and even their behaviour. Grab your lab coats, because neuroscience is served… Join the zombie squad and find out more about Kara by following her on social media (@ProfSharkbrain, @YopakZoMBiELab,  You can find the shownotes for this episode here: and find out more about us by following @saveourseasfoundation on instagram and @SaveOurSeas on twitter.   
This week, we are transporting you to a tropical island haven for sharks and rays in the beautiful outer islands of the Seychelles! We will be guided by the wonderful Dillys Pouponeau (@dillyseychelles) and Ellie Moulinie (@miss_tropics), who are research officers at the Save Our Seas Foundation D'Arros Research Centre. D'Arros island and its sister atoll, St. Joseph, have been labelled a 'pristine wilderness', with thriving coral reefs, sandy beaches, lush seagrass beds, dense mangrove forests and clear waters all bursting at the seams with life. But it is that way because of the hard work of the scientists and conservationists at D'Arros to restore, research and protect this incredible environment. In this episode we learn all about D'Arros and its inhabitants, including a whole suite of sharks from baby black-tip reef sharks to fully-grown bull and tiger sharks, and of course, the manta rays. And we find out all about Ellie and Dillys' research into these species, their great adventures into the 'crazy wild' Amirantes islands, and what it was like to grow up in the island nation.   You can find out more about D'Arros by following them on social media (@darrosresearchcentre) or on their website: Shownotes:  
Sharks have a reputation as 'swimming noses' - but just how well can they smell? This week we are diving into the fascinating world of snoot science with aquatic sensory biologist Dr Lauren Simonitis! Expect the ins and outs of shark noses, along with detours to explore the anti-predator strategies of sea slugs and cuttlefish, a shark that eats its greens, and a type of whale that inks while it poops. And we break down some famous myths about sharks…like do they really go into a feeding frenzy from the mere scent of blood? Find out more about Lauren: @explauren,, Find out more about us: @saveourseasfoundation (instagram and tiktok) @SaveOurSeas (twitter), Shownotes:
Greenland sharks are the world's longest living vertebrate, with a longevity that can be measured in centuries. But what do they do during that long life? In this episode, we speak with scientist and "Greenland Shark Detective" Dr Julius Nielsen, who has studied these mysterious creatures for many years. Julius was part of the first team to estimate their extraordinary lifespan, and explains exactly how they did it. He also walks us through some other fascinating aspects of their biology and ecology, including what they eat (answer: pretty much anything), how deep they can go (pretty deep!), their reproductive habits (becoming sexually mature at 150 and then having hundreds of babies, anyone?!), and some very unusual parasites… You can follow Julius on instagram and twitter: @juniel85 You can also follow Save Our Seas Foundation on instagram and tiktok (@saveourseasfoundation) and twitter (@SaveOurSeas).  Shownotes for this episode:  
The impact of the Hollywood blockbuster Jaws on shark conservation, public perception and even policy-making has been studied since its release in 1975, but today we’re looking even further back in time to understand where that idea of sharks as man-eating monsters first came from, and how it gained traction to get to where we are today. It’s a fascinating story involving Victorian game hunters, shark “rabies”, the U.S. Navy, film soundtracks designed to make your heart race, and an Australian surgeon who decided to try his hand at marine biology. To walk us through all of this, we have an amazing guest who has pieced all of these puzzle pieces together – Dr Chris Pepin-Neff, senior lecturer in public policy at the University of Sydney, Save our Seas Foundation project leader and expert in shark bite politics. You can follow Chris on twitter (@pepin_neff) or read more about them here and find some of their research here  You can find the shownotes for this episode here: Follow us on social media! We are @saveourseasfoundation on instagram and tiktok, and @SaveOurSeas on twitter