Ryan grew up in a bustling metropolis of South Africa before moving to the coast with his family. At a young age, he had an innate attraction to wild places, and the ocean was a magnet for his daily exploits. At university, he wanted to expand on this passion by studying zoology and oceanography. However, studying the ocean didn’t necessarily involve being in the ocean… or even being at sea. Ryan wanted to immerse himself (quite literally) in his work, which is why he redirected and expanded on his fascination with sharks.
“As a shark researcher, my aim is to preserve the integrity of the systems that I love.”
Ryan now spends his time with a dedicated group of researchers scouring the waters within Africa’s first transboundary marine protected area, between South Africa and Mozambique, in search of tiger sharks. His aim is to answer the question of the balance between the refuges of marine protected areas and the risks faced by tiger sharks throughout the south-western Indian Ocean. On any given day he may encounter between six and 10 species of sharks, as well as massive fish aggregations, manta rays, ancient leatherback turtles and migrating humpback whales.