Olive Heffernan freelance environmental writer

Olive started her career as a marine biologist, researching cod fisheries in the North east Atlantic.  Like most science writers, she realised fairly early on that she was more drawn to writing or talking about science than to spending her days in the lab. For her, it was a compulsion to communicate a fact that she faced daily in her research – the vast overexploitation of species, and resources, worldwide. So a couple of years into her research career, she jumped ship and started writing.


Soon afterwards, she became Chief Editor of The Marine Scientist, a London-based magazine serving the marine research community and published by The Institute of Marine Research, Science and Technology. She then joined Nature, as a web-based editor covering climate change and as editor of Nature’s Climate Feedback blog, which was part of the Guardian Environment Network. From there, she launched Nature Climate Change , becoming the journal’s first Chief Editor in 2010.

Olive is a now freelance and covers oceans and climate change for publications such as New Scientist, Nature and Scientific American. She has also contributed to the Guardian, Yale E360, National Geographic News and to Nature research journals such as Nature Energy and Nature Climate Change.

As well as her written work, which these days mostly consists of feature articles and commentary, Olive has spoken about climate change on podcasts and on video for Nature and the Guardian. She has given numerous presentations at research institutions and at conferences globally, in Europe, Asia and the US. Olive has trained scientists in communicating more effectively with the media, and regularly lectures undergraduates at Trinity College Dublin on science communication and peer review. She is the vice-president of the Irish Science and Technology Journalists Association.

Olive is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, where she received 1st class honours in Zoology in 1999, and of University College Dublin, where she was awarded a PhD in Marine Ecology in 2002 for her research on Irish Sea fisheries. Olive was the first recipient of the Bob Barton Memorial Prize for marine science writing in 2006, and is a former journalism fellow of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

Olive loves the outdoors. Olive lives by the sea in the village of Dalkey, Co. Dublin, Ireland with her husband and two children.