Conor Ryan is a congenital ecologist. His career began in the late 1980s, when he developed a keen interest in intertidal ecology, undertaking almost daily field trips to the seashore across from his home in Cobh, Ireland. Though he logged significant hours searching beneath barnacle-studded rocks for eels, his publication record on this seminal research was sorely lacking because he was five years old. As he grew, so too did the size of the marine creatures that he was preoccupied with.
He completed his PhD in Galway on the ecology and population structure of baleen whales in the Celtic Sea and West Africa, using stable isotope analysis, molecular genetics and organochlorine contaminants. During this time, he realized that the lab was not his natural habitat, so he now works as a research scientist primarily in the field, using passive acoustics and line transect surveys to map whale distribution and estimate population sizes.
Conor is a Research Associate on the research vessel Song of the Whale and has published over 30 peer-reviewed papers and several book chapters. His whereabouts mirrors that of an arctic tern, although he has a much more placid temperament. Although he calls the Isle of Mull in the Hebrides “home”, he is scarcely found there. Conor is a keen swimmer, surfer, kayaker and mushroom forager.