About me

I’m a marine biologist, writer and broadcaster.

An official, 100-word bio, plus images that can be used by the media, are all here.

For some less formal words about me read on…


In their review of my first book, Poseidon’s Steed, about the science and wonders of seahorses, the Economist called me “The aptly named Helen Scales.” And I guess they were right. I do have a thing about fish.

Across the airways and in print, my work combines a scuba diver’s devotion to exploring the oceans, a scientist’s nerdy attention to detail, a conservationist’s angst about the state of the planet, and a storyteller’s obsession with words and ideas.

My latest books are Around the Ocean in 80 Fish, The Brilliant Abyss and What a Shell Can Tell.

I’m currently working on various new book projects which I can’t tell you about just yet.

Among my BBC radio documentaries I’ve explored the dream of living underwater, searched for the perfect wave and followed the trail of endangered snails around the world.

I have a Cambridge PhD in marine biology.

I’m a scuba diver, with more than 300 hours logged underwater.

I’m a cold-water surfer and trained freediver.

I’ve lived and worked in Madagascar, Malaysia, Senegal, The Gambia, Australia, Fiji and the Philippines.

I’ve drunk champagne with David Attenborough.

I did very badly on Christmas University Challenge.