O'Shea began work with the giant squid whilst working for the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in New Zealand in 1996. He became the Director of the Earth and Oceanic Sciences Research Institute at the Auckland University of Technology in 2005, and was a Discovery Channel Quest Scholar. In 2009 he resigned from his Discovery Quest position to focus research on coastal conservation, environmental matters and postgraduate supervision and teaching; despite this he has remained active in squid research, but is best known (in the popular press) for his involvement with large cephalopod taxa, particularly giant and colossal squids, and their preservation. In 2011 he resigned from his position at the Auckland University of Technology.
O'Shea has appeared in over 13 documentaries on squid, whales and the oceans.
Six marine species have been named after O'Shea to honour his contribution to science:
- Awhiowhio osheai (sponge)
- Brucerolis osheai (isopod)
- Calvetia osheai (bryozoan)
- Gonodactylellus osheai (mantis shrimp)
- Magnoteuthis osheai (squid)
- Vulcanolepas osheai (deep-sea barnacle)
- About Me. Dr Steve O'Shea.
- David Grann (24 May 2004). "The Squid Hunter". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
- "Giant Squid Finally Captured on Film". Fox News. 28 September 2005. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
- "Steve O'Shea Autobiography and Select Bibliography (2008)". TONMO.com. 2003. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
- "Colossal squid caught in Antarctic waters". USA Today. 4 March 2003. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
- My publications. Dr Steve O'Shea.
- "Dr Steve O'Shea". WEBNODE.com. 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-11.
- "Roving Photographer". WEBS.com. 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-17.
- My documentaries. Dr Steve O'Shea.
- "Endemic new cyclostome bryozoans from Spirits Bay, a New Zealand marine‐biodiversity "hotspot"". New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 37: 653–669. doi:10.1080/00288330.2003.9517196.
- "Systematics of the Mastigoteuthidae Verrill, 1881 (Cephalopoda: Oegopsida) from New Zealand waters". New Zealand Journal of Zoology. 42: 187–256. doi:10.1080/03014223.2015.1063516.
- Buckeridge, J.S. 2000. Neolepas osheai sp. nov., a new deep‐sea vent barnacle (Cirripedia: Pedunculata) from the Brothers Caldera, south‐west Pacific Ocean, New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 34:3, 409-418.
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