Please see the following FAQs to see if they answer your question before contacting me:
If you are a journalist seeking to interview me, please see my guidelines at the top of my “in the news” page. I am generally available for an interview.
For people with a question about sharks:
1) Can you answer this quick question about sharks?
A) If I know the answer, I’m usually happy to help! Are you on twitter? I do a weekly “ask me anything” session where I answer all kinds of questions people have about sharks. I generally prefer to answer these questions on social media rather than e-mail so other people can see my answers. If not, I may be able to answer a quick question over e-mail.
2) Can you identify this shark species from a blurry photo that doesn’t show any diagnostic features?
A) Nope, sorry. And most likely no one else can either.
For people asking for general career advice:
1) I want to be a shark scientist! What career advice can you offer?
A) I really don’t like to offer anything but the most general career advice. For one thing, I am very early career myself. I also don’t want to limit you to what worked for me, when there are many, many paths to success in the sciences. Additionally, I don’t know anything about your goals, your strengths, or your weaknesses—I don’t really know enough about you to give you any particularly useful advice. That said, I have complied some very general advice on pursuing a career in elasmobranch research in this blog post.
2) I want to save sharks! What career advice can you offer?
A) It sounds like you’re interested in conservation advocacy, not scientific research. I am not qualified to give advice on this field, so I suggest that you contact some conservation advocates.
For press officers seeking to get me to write about a story:
1) Hello, I work in the press office for X institution, I noticed that you write stories about Y topic, here’s a press release, would you consider writing about it?
A) Almost always no. With my freelance science journalism, I almost always try to cover topics that other people are not already writing about. If you’re sending a press release to a list large enough that it includes part-timers like me, more than likely it will already be covered well by someone else, and therefore it is not worth my time to cover it. Please take me off your mailing lists.
For students seeking to ask me questions for a class project:
1) Hi, I have a homework assignment where I have to spend 30-60 minutes interviewing a scientist who studies a topic that I’m interested in and it’s due in a couple of days, what time works for you for an interview?
A) I regret that I do not have time to participate in homework assignments like this, and I would strongly encourage your teacher to not assign them without first seeking out scientists who are willing to participate. However, I am often available to Skype in to your class for 15-30 minutes to answer everyone’s questions at once.