Riley Elliott, Shark Scientist

Riley Elliott is a shark scientist absolutely passionate about conservation of the ocean’s apex predators and their critical role in balancing the planet’s most important ecosystem.

By increasing knowledge of these magnificent creatures Riley is part of a global movement of young marine scientists who are exploding long-held fears and myths surrounding sharks. Watch news item here menu_minus.gif 

There are 112 species of shark in New Zealand's waters but Riley’s immediate focus is the plight of the blue shark, heavily over-fished as a by-catch of the tuna fishery and targeted for shark finning. 

‘Living the life of Riley’ involves in-water interactions with blue sharks and other species in
remote locations around New Zealand. To increase knowledge on their life cycles, he freedives with sharks and tags individuals with satellite transponders that track the depth and breadth of their movements. This hard-won data adds to our knowledge of these endangered species and Riley’s PhD scientific study raises awareness and understanding of blue sharks in particular and ocean sustainability in general.

Riley’s vision and passion for ocean is a perfect fit with the brand values of Atlantis and we are delighted to support his studies. His fieldwork tests, refines and validates our equipment and we pass the results on to every Atlantis diver.   

Riley’s been constantly inspired by oceanic life, pursuing scuba and freedive expeditions around the globe. “I love the physical and technical challenges of freediving – spearing fish and hunting crays” says Riley, who is also an accomplished surfer.

Recently, Riley began specializing in shark research, awareness and conservation and has traveled to South Africa several times researching great whites, bull sharks and tiger sharks, working to understand human-shark interactions and make people aware of the problems they face now and in the future.
Riley explains: “Overfishing, by-catch and the shark fin industry combine to kill 70-90 million sharks a year. Sharks need our help not only to protect them – but also our fisheries and ocean ecosystem as a whole. Sharks, as apex predators, keep a balance in the ocean created over millions of years of evolution.”
For these reasons Riley is beginning his PhD through Auckland University to investigate sharks around New Zealand’s coast. Kitted out in Atlantis dive gear, he's exploring New Zealand’s waters, identifying shark hotspots, free-diving with sharks to enable photo identification and tagging them to track behaviours.

Shark research at the sharp end - NZ Herald

Atlantis and blue shark(copy)
Atlantis is proud and excited to partner with Riley and support his important research. We’ll keep you updated with his adventures along the way. Diving is our passion too.

Shark attacks are rare says expert - One News

Blue and Mako(copy)

For more information on Riley visit his website 

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