School of Marine Science and Technology

Staff Profile

Dr Per Berggren

Senior Lecturer



My research area is conservation and management of marine mega-fauna populations. The research includes all fields of basic biology and ecology of marine mammals and elasmobranchs, and applied science where I develop and test new methods to address anthropogenic threats such as fisheries bycatch. The aim is to find practical solutions to marine mega-fauna conservation problems. My research focuses on populations of harbour porpoises, dolphin species, humpback whales, grey seals and several species of elasmobranchs.


Associate Professor, Marine Ecology, Stockholm University, 2002-2010.
PhD, Stockholm University, 1995. Dissertation: Stocks, status and survival of harbour porpoises in Swedish waters.
BSc, Honours degree in Marine Biology, Stockholm University, 1989.

Previous Positions

Associate Professor
Head of the Marine Mammal Research Group
Department of Zoology, Stockholm University
SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden


Research Interests

Examples of research activities:

1. Field and laboratory analyses to monitor marine mega-fauna populations
I am involved in developing and using line transect and photographic identification methodology to study distribution, abundance and population size of cetaceans (porpoises, dolphins and whales). I conduct research to determine population structure using both biological and ecological markers (skull morphometrics, DNA analyses and pollutants). I also investigate the growth, reproduction and ecology of small cetaceans using biological data and stomach contents analyses. I am further involved in research studying behaviour of dolphins.

2. Develop low-cost methods to assess and mitigate anthtropogenic effects from fisheries and tourism activities on marine mega-fauna populations (incorporating socio-economic issues).

The research involves both to identify the scale and impact of bycatch and to develop mitigation measures to solve the bycatch problem (e.g. low cost testing acoustic alarms on gillnets). The research is focussed on harbour porpoises in European waters, and several dolphin species, humpback whales and elasmobranchs in East Africa. I also study the potential effects from dolphin tourism activities on local populations of Indo-Pacfic bottlenose and humpback dolphins off Zanzibar and work on creating a sustainable dolphin tourism activity in this area.

Current Work

1. Conservation biology and ecology of the harbour porpoise, white-beaked dolphin, grey seals and other marine mammals in the North Sea and adjacent waters.

2. Conservation biology and ecology of marine mega-fauna populations (bottlenose, humpback and spinner dolphin, and humpback whales) off Zanzibar, East Africa.

3. Conservation biology and ecology of sharks and other elasmobranchs off Zanzibar, East Africa.

Esteem Indicators

Member IUCN Species Survival Commission, Cetacean Specialist Group 2004-present.
Scientific advisor Marine Mammal Education and Research Programme at the Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar 1998-present.
Editorial board member International Journal of Oceans and Oceanography 2006-2007.
Chair of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) Sub-Committee on Bycatch and other human induced mortalities to cetaceans 2001-2006.
Head of Swedish Delegation, IWC, Scientific Committee, 1997-2006.
Government appointed delegate Swedish Scientific Council for Biodiversity, 2000-2004.


Undergraduate Teaching

Module Leader

MST1102 Diversity and Behaviour of Marine Animals


MST1104 Marine Study Skills

MST2102 Physiology, Reproduction and Adaptation of Marine Animals

MST3102 Advanced Marine Zoology          

MST3104/05 Research Project: Marine biology/Zoology

MST3107 Research Project Overseas 

Current postgraduate students

Andrew Temple, PhD
Reconciling food security with elasmobranch conservation in the Western Indian Ocean

Robert Hunt, MPhil
Abiotic and biotic factors affecting grey seal population dynamics on the Farne Islands, UK

Charles McGibney, MPhil                                                                                                                                              Impact assessment of dolphin tourism on dolphin populations off the south coast of Zanzibar using aerial drones

Kelsey Potlock, MPhil                                                                                                                                                    Behavioural ecology of harbour porpoise (harbour porpoise), white-beaked (Lagenorhynchus albirostris) and common bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) dolphins based on passive acoustic monitoring in a windfarm development site off Blyth, Northumberland

Matt Sharpe, MPhil
Megafauna bycatch mitigation in the Western Indian Ocean

Sara Thompson, MPhil                                                                                                                                        Environmental and anthropogenic drivers to odontocete temporal and spatial occurrence off Blyth, Northumberland

Liangliang Yang (visiting PhD student, Xiamen University)
Bio-acoustic research of marine mammals

Visiting Researcher

Dr Ben Burville
Behavioural ecology of white-beaked dolphins and greys seals

Past postgraduate students

William, Jolly, MPhil
Occurrence and ecology of sharks in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Andrew Temple, MPhil
Temporal variations in the distribution and behaviour of Menai Bay Conservation Area dolphins, Zanzibar, East Africa

Prospective students:
Contact me to discuss potential undergraduate, MSc and PhD projects.