Hailing from Cobh in the south of Ireland, Conor Ryan grew up on the shores of Cork Harbour where his fascination with the sea led him to study zoology at University College Cork. He continued his studies in marine biology in Galway, where he completed his Ph.D. thesis on the diet and population structure of baleen whales in the Celtic Sea using stable isotope analysis. His research also brought him to Cape Verde in search of the breeding grounds of humpback whales that frequent the coasts of Ireland. However these whales have not yet given up their secret!
With over 30 published scientific papers Conor is a renowned expert in baleen whales and small cetaceans. He left his academic path behind to work for non-government organizations where he applies scientific knowledge to the conservation and management of marine mammals. Conor is an independent cetacean researcher working for a variety of NGOs and universities in the UK and Ireland. He is a scientific advisor for the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust and a research associate on the research vessel Song of the Whale. When not on board Lindblad vessels, Conor regularly conducts field-based whale research from the tropics to the Arctic.
Conor enjoys island-life in the Hebrides in western Scotland, where he lives on the remote Isle of Mull. His favorite things in life are sea-watching, expeditioning by sea kayak, free-diving, and foraging wild foods such as mushrooms and seaweeds.