Sharks and Science Communication with Dr Blake Chapman (#17)

We talk about sharks, shark attacks, and Blake's enthusiasm for science communication.

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Blake Chapman is a science communicator who finds inspiration in the big, broad world around her. She is a stickler for factual information, but loves to find fun ways to communicate those facts.

Blake has a major focus on taking the time to understand an audience: what drives them and what they find interesting and important, then developing clever and creative ways to engage with and educate those audiences on relevant scientific topics. Blake operates her own science communication business, which focuses predominantly on grant and report writing, but she also has a passion for sharks, and for promoting better education and understanding of these animals.

She has published two books (Shark Attacks: Myths, Misunderstandings and Human Fear; Ocean Animals: The Weirdest, Smartest and Sneakiest Sea Creatures) and a wide variety of other publications, and is an experienced public speaker. She loves developing education packages for kids, in particular, and endeavours to help create a world where sharks are respected more than feared.

In our conversation, we talk about sharks, shark attacks, and Blake’s enthusiasm for science communication.

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Dr Blake Chapman’s Books

photo of Dr Blake Chapman's Books
Shark Attacks, Myths, Misunderstandings and Human Fear & Ocean Animals: The Weirdest, Smartest and Sneakiest Sea Creatures

Show Notes

[00:58] The attraction of marine biology.
[02:51] Where Blake saw herself after getting her qualifications.
[05:33] The decision to pursue shark neuroscience and shark vision.
[09:07] Shark camouflage wetsuits.
[13:12] The current state of research in the area.
[15:07] The complexities of oceanic research.
[15:58] Working as an independent researcher and communicator.
[18:18] On writing ‘Shark Attacks’.
[20:59] Wanting to understand the fear.
[25:12] The impact of communicating with victims of shark attack.
[27:02] How we shift from a position of fear.
[31:10] Approaching education for adults.
[34:02] Traditional and new approaches to regional management of sharks.
[35:13] SMART drum lines and Reunion Island’s management strategies.
[36:57] Drones.
[41:29] Getting KISS to play for sharks.
[47:51] On writing ‘Ocean Animals’.
[50:52] Deciding on which animals to include.
[52:26] The process of writing for children and for adults.
[56:03] Blake’s work assisting others with their science communication.
[59:28] Bonus Question 1: What hobby or interest do you have that is most unrelated to your field of work?
[03:01] Bonus Question 2: Which childhood book holds the strongest memories for you?
[05:04] Bonus Question 3: What advice would you give someone who wants to do what you do? Or what should they ignore?
[10:07] Reaching out to Blake.

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