Shanta Barley


  • The University of Western Australia (M092), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


I grew up in Indonesia, where I learnt to dive at the age of twelve and spent many years exploring reefs along the archipelago with my family. At Oxford University, I studied Biological Sciences; my thesis examined the effects of stress on the reproductive fitness of the blue tit. After winning a Natural Environment Research Council scholarship to do an MSc in Oceanography at Southampton University, I worked as a researcher and writer at the BBC for a climate change website called Bloom. I also worked as an environment reporter for New Scientist and wrote articles for the Guardian, Nature and Nature Climate Change, and was awarded in 2011 the Association of British Science Writer’s (ABSW) Richard Gregory Award for Best Newcomer. I then moved to the remote southwest corner of Madagascar to work as a field scientist with Blue Ventures, where I trained volunteers to survey the coral reefs and managed the monitoring program of the critically endangered and endemic spider tortoise. From 2012-2016 I did my PhD on the role of sharks on reefs at the University of Western Australia in Perth, and I am now continuing my research on the ecology of fear as a postdoc.

Roles and responsibilities

Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the Pangaea Initiative:

Funding overview

Teach Green Foundation (USA)
Outpost Expedition Pacific (OEP)

Previous positions

University of Western Australia - DPhil Marine Ecology (Sep 12 – Feb 16)
Field scientist and Dive Master for Blue Ventures in SW Madagascar (2012-13)
Environment and science journalist - BBC, New Scientist, Guardian, Nature (2008-2012)
University of Southampton, UK - MSc Oceanography (Sep 04 – Jun 05)
University of Oxford, UK (Sep 01 – Jun 04) BSc Biological Sciences

Teaching overview

Demonstrator for SCIE1103 Science, Society and Communication (2013)


Reef sharks are being removed from coral reefs globally yet we do not understand how this loss affects these hotspots of biodiversity. Where sharks are absent, prey may change in terms of abundance, size, behaviour, diet, condition and growth rate, which could have severe knock-on effects on the rest of the ecosystem.
I explore these issues using stereo underwater video systems, stable isotopes and a range of other techniques.


Vezo (keli keli avao)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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