A native of England, Patrick Ryan joined the faculty at Johnson & Wales University in 2002. Before that, he taught at Metro State College and Colorado School of Mines and the University of the South Pacific (USP). Ryan also worked for the West Coast Regional Council as a freshwater biologist and environmental planner. He started a freelance environmental consultancy business in 1994.
Ryan is a professional nature photographer. He has held photographic and advisory jobs for Television New Zealand, the BBC and Grenada Television, the New Zealand Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Niue Tourism Commission, and Pro Futura, a German publishing company. Ryan has published ten books, 30 scientific papers and articles, 37 reports and several hundred newspaper articles. He is also is a PADI Dive master with nearly 900 dives credited.