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Ryan Johnson

Maverick Shark Scientist


About Ryan

Ryan Johnson is one of television’s most established hosts and expert scientists presenting shark and ocean documentaries.  For 12 years he has become a regular feature on international broadcasters’ screens, with most of his notable shows appearing on National Geographic’s annual Sharkfest extravaganza. 

As a marine biologist, Ryan specializes in conducting novel research on large coastal shark species, including the great white shark in south Africa. His research efforts have led to over 35 scientific publications, including groundbreaking shark migratory publications in both of the esteemed journals of ‘Science’ and ‘Nature’.

Born in Tauranga, New Zealand, Ryan grew up on the coastal beaches of New Zealand swimming and surfing one the breaks of Shark Alley, Mount Maunganui.  It was here that he developed his passion for ocean life and determined that his career would be dedicated to understanding and conserving the marine world. 

In 2022, he realized his passion for production of documentaries by co-producing and being credited as an executive producer for the National Geographic documentary ‘Camo Sharks‘ that premiered on and opened the 2022 Sharkfest season.

In recent years, his onscreen hosting has focussed on shark shows for National Geographic where he has had the opportunity to develop, write and host shows that are able to showcase shark species in both an educational yet entertaining manner. It is during these works where his ingenious ability to design and construct novel scientific inventions has kept audiences entertained and sharks revealing more of the secret lives. 

In 2012 he was Chief Scientist on the famous OCEARCH shark tagging expedition to South Africa and featured on the History Channel’s 10 part series ‘Shark Wranglers’. Along with a team of scientists and the OCEARCH fishermen, the partnership successfully caught., placed satellite transmitters and released over 50 individual great white sharks in 8 weeks. This research expedition proved to be the most ambitious and successful shark  tracking project ever conducted. 

Ryan’s TV hosting credits also include numerous international  shark specials such as Sharkville, Secret Shark Pits, Shark vs. Croc, Squid vs. Whale, Shark Wranglers, Shark vs. Whale.  In addition to these species, he has introduced sharks to a number of wildlife hosts including Dr. Brady Barr, Steve Backshaw,Peter Benchley amongst others

As an avid SCUBA diver, Ryan has been contracted as an underwater camera operator on many shark and marine documentaries that require a high degree of skills and a willingness to get ‘up close and personal’ with the oceans biggest shark and marine predators. During one such show, he successfully filmed a great white shark hunting and feeding off a Cape fur seal both underwater and without the protection of a shark cage. 

Awards and Qualifications

1999 – Bachlor of Science – University of Wiakato

2000 – Bachlor of Science (Hons) – University of Pretoria

2005 – Masters of Science – University of Pretoria


2022 National Geographic: Shark Attack Files

2022 National Geographic: Camo Sharks

2020 National Geographic: Shark vs Whale

2020 National Geographic Sharkfest: Shark vs Surfer

2019 BBC: Animal Impossible.

2019 National Geographic: Predators in paradise

2019 National Geographic: The whale that ate jaws

2019 National Geographic: America’s deadliest shark

2019 National Geographic: Eyewitness shark attack

2018 Discovery: Katie Price – My crazy life

2018 Discovery: Survival of the species with Ben Fogle

2018 National Geographic: Wild Oceans

2018 National Geographic: Hostile Planet

2018 Smithsonian – Worlds biggest beasts

2015 Caters News: Great white shark breaching profile

2013 Talking Pics: Shark vs Crocodile

2013 Red Bull: Personal Profile

2012 History Channel: Shark Wranglers (10 epsiodes)

2012 National Geographic Wild – Shark Attack Experiment Live –

2009 National Geographic: Dangerous Encounters with Brady Barr

2009 National Geographic – Whale vs Squid

2009 National Geographic – River Shark

2008 National Geographic – Secret Shark Pits

2008 National Geographic – Escaping the Great white

2008 National Geographic – Sharkville

2007 Discovery Channel – Sharktribe

2007 A Myth called Shark – Steve Lictage Productions

2007 National Geographic – Earth Investigated



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