Melissa Hobson: shark writer – examples of my work

May 30, 2024

Even within my niche of writing about the ocean, I have some 'micro-beats' that I cover quite frequently. One of those is sharks (because who doesn't love writing about sharks?!). Here are some of the articles I've pulled together as a shark writer. Enjoy!

Shark graveyard - Live Science

The teeth "look like they just came out of the shark's mouth yesterday." Cool discoveries in a 325 million-year-old shark graveyard in Mammoth Cave. I wrote about the story for Live Science.

Shark mortality - Live Science

Writing about the ocean isn't always enjoying learning cool things about fascinating animals. Sometimes (/often) we have to cover the dark / depressing side of the conservation picture. Like this piece I wrote for Live Science about a new study revealing shark mortality from fishing went UP despite anti-finning legislation. But I believe it is important to keep sharing these stories so we can inspire action.

Ancient shark fossils - Live Science

"Exceptionally preserved" fossils of an ancient shark that lived alongside the dinosaurs have finally revealed what the predator looked like — and why it may have gone extinct. Thanks Live Science for sending this story my way.

Prickly sharks - Live Science

Ever heard of prickly sharks? You have now! For Live Science, I covered a study describing these rarely-seen sharks gathering near Panama. Enjoy!

Bull sharks - Live Science

Warming waters = more bull sharks (but don't worry, they're not interested in you!). More in my Live Science article on a new study from Alabama.

Shark vs orca - Live Science

Think sharks are the ocean's apex predator? Maybe think again...? A single orca can take down a great white shark and rip out its liver (mmm... nutritious!). Really interesting one to write about for Live Science.

Bottom feeding whale sharks - New Scientist

It's amazing that 'regular people' can help scientists discover new things about elusive animals in our ocean. A great is example is in this piece I wrote for New Scientist - a tourism guide spotted some unusual behaviour in a whale shark and managed to get it on film. It was the first time we've ever seen whale sharks (which usually nom on plankton in the water column) feeding from the bottom. Wow!

Whale shark ship strikes - Nat Geo

Ship strikes aren't just a problem for whales. Scientists believe whale sharks are also being taken out by ship strikes and I covered the study for Nat Geo.

Sharks on strange shores - Sunday Times

Scientists were amazed when not one but three smalltooth sand tiger sharks washed up on the UK & Irish coastline. For the Sunday Times, I talked to scientists to find out what might have brought this rare species to our shores.

Shark buddies - Nat Geo

When two juvenile sharks swam together for 4,000 miles, scientists started wondering what could be going on. Might they be... friends? No, say researchers, but in this Nat Geo article they filled me in on why this finding is so exciting.

Hot fish - New Scientist

Changing everything we thought we knew about basking sharks... they might actually be warm blooded! Love that I get to geek out on crazy discoveries like this for New Scientist and call it work.

Basking sharks - National Geographic

Their scientific name might mean something along the lines of “great-nosed sea monster” but basking sharks are harmless to humans and face significant threats from us. I really enjoyed writing about these placid sharks for Nat Geo.

Squid - National Geographic

For many people, there's a reason why squid inspired the legends of terrifying sea creatures that caused ships to vanish without a trace Personally, I think they're kinda cool. So this reference piece was another fun opportunity for me to geek out for Nat Geo.

Thresher sharks - National Geographic

Have you ever seen a thresher shark? No? OK, well imagine you asked a toddler to draw a cartoon of a shy, slightly anxious shark with a REALLY long tail (nope, a bit longer than that) and you're pretty much there. You can probably tell that I loved writing about this fascinating species for this Nat Geo reference piece.

Tiger and mako sharks - National Geographic

For this Nat Geo article, I covered attempts to record tiger sharks' bite force and mako sharks' speed. Plus, the article looks at why it's so important for us to learn more about these incredible predators.

Whale sharks - Fodors

In this article for Fodors, I shared a roundup of destinations around the world where you can see endangered whale sharks.

Mega pregnancy - New Scientist

Megamouth sharks are an incredibly rare deep sea species. So, it was a huge surprise when a female pregnant with seven pups washed up in the Philippines - the first recorded pregnancy in the species. I covered the discovery for New Scientist.

The Meg - Live Science

A new study suggested that the Meg may have been more slender than scientists previously thought and might not look like a mega great white. Could this be true? I looked into it for Live Science.

Baby shark - Live Science

In what's been described as one of the holy grails of shark science, researchers think they've finally seen a newborn great white for the first time. And I got to dive into it for Live Science.

Greenland shark - National Geographic

Finding out the meaning behind an animals' scientific name is one of my favourite parts of writing about the ocean. "Sleepy small head" is no exception, which is just one of the many reasons I enjoyed writing this reference piece about the Greenland shark.

Pregnant whale sharks - Diver

If the headline 'Meet the jet propelled midwives' isn't enough to intrigue you to read my old Diver article from 2019, I don't know what is!

Freediving with sharks - Sidetracked

The cool thing about my work is that I get to chat to cool conservationists doing exciting things like freediving with sharks, which is exactly what I did for this Sidetracked magazine article.

Whale sharks and rays - Daily Beast

In this Daily Beast article, I talked about one of the many reasons I love Mozambique: its epic wildlife.

Where the whale sharks are - Diver

Back in 2018, I wrote this piece exploring where the whale sharks are and how one woman is dedicating her life to protecting them. Fast forward to today and I'm still protecting the Madagascar Whale Shark Project Foundation (and Stella is still smashing it with her conservation work).

Zebra sharks - National Geographic

Zebras are cool. Sharks are cooler. So zebra sharks are doubly cool, right? I'm not going to say these are my favourite type of shark (for once - I mean, they're no thresher shark! ???? ) BUT I did really enjoy writing this Nat Geo reference piece all the same. I hope you find it interesting to read too.

Whale shark tourism - World Footprints

For World Footprints, I wrote about how to travel sustainably and follow the Code of Conduct for responsible interactions when visiting countries to see iconic or endangered species like Madagascar's whale sharks.

Shark freediving - Diver

Let's be honest, sharks can get a pretty bad rap. So it's always cool to hear about people like Lukas, who I wrote about for Diver magazine, who are working to protect these magnificent creatures.

Whale sharks - Ecophiles

For Ecophiles, I pulled together a roundup of fun facts about the world's biggest fish: the whale shark.

Whale sharks - Oceanographic

For Oceanographic, I wrote up an interview with the Madagascar Whale Shark Project Foundation's Stella Diamant about her important conservation work.

Galapagos whale sharks - Oceanographic

Again for Oceanographic, I covered the mysteries of pregnancy in the world's largest fish.

Whale sharks - Ecophiles

If you're ever lucky enough to swim with a whale shark, please make sure it's a responsible encounter by following the whale shark Code of Conduct. I interviewed Madagascar Whale Shark's Stelle Diamant for Ecophiles to get more details on what you should and shouldn't do as a responsible tourist.

Sharks - AFAR

In this piece for AFAR, I spoke to a range of scientists for their tips on the best places around the world where you can see sharks (responsibly).

Helping sharks - Ecophiles

Ever wondered how you can help sharks? I shared a few ways in this article for Ecophiles.

If you're looking for a shark writer to help with your project, get in touch.