School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Per Berggren

Professor in Marine Megafauna Conservation



My research area is conservation and management of marine MEGAfauna 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 MEGAfauna 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, Sweden.


Research Leader Marine MEGAfauna Lab

Overall research theme:
  • Development of low-cost methods for assessment of marine MEGAfauna populations and to mitigate anthropogenic mortality of marine MEGAfauna.

Ongoing research:

  • NOAA Fisheries US and US Marine Mammal Commission (2019-2021). Low-cost solutions to cetacean bycatch in small scale fisheries and potential fisher-level barriers to implementation.
  • NERC (2018-2020). Novel low-cost acoustically networked recorders for marine mammal and environmental monitoring.
  • WIOMSA/MASMA (2015-2019). Bycatch assessment and mitigation in the western Indian Ocean (BYCAM).
  • EDF-Blyth Offshore Demonstrator Project (2015-2019). Assessment of harbour porpoise and dolphin occurrence using passive acoustic monitoring before, during and after construction of a windfarm off Blyth, Northumberland, UK.
  • Conservation biology and ecology of marine MEGAfauna populations (bottlenose dolphin, humpback dolphin and spinner dolphin, humpback whales, and elasmobranchs) off Zanzibar, East Africa.
  • Assessment of MEGAfauna catch in small scale fisheries in Thailand.
  • Conservation ecology of marine mammals in Liaodong Bay, Bohai Sea, NE coast of China.
  • Conservation ecology of white-beaked dolphins and common bottlenose dolphins off Northumberland, NE England.
  • Conservation ecology of grey seals in Northumberland, NE England.

Esteem Indicators:

  • Associate Editor for Journal of Ocean and Climate 2018 -
  • Invited Expert FAO Workshop on Means and Methods for Reducing Marine Mammal Mortality, Rome Italy 20-23 March 2018.
  • International Whaling Commission Bycatch Expert Panel Delegate 2018-2022.
  • 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.
Per Berggren Google Scholar Publications


Undergraduate Teaching

  •  MST1202 Diversity and Behaviour of Marine Animals
  •  MST1204 Marine Study Skills
  •  MST1205 Marine Practical Skills
  •  MST2102 Physiology, Reproduction and Adaptation of Marine Animals
  •  MST2104 Marine Study Skills
  •  MST3102 Advanced Marine Zoology          
  •  MST3104/05 Research Project: Marine Biology/Zoology
  •  MST3107 Research Project Overseas 

Current Post Graduate Research students

  • Matt Sharpe, PhD - Population ecology of white-beaked dolphins off Northumberland, UK.
  • Thevarit Svarachorn, PhD - Assessment of mega-fauna catch in small scale fisheries in Thailand.
  • Ellen Barrowclift-Mahon PhD - Better the devil you know: towards sustainable management of devil rays in the Indian Ocean.
  • Daniel Moore (PhD, Durham University, with Professor Rus Hoelzel) - The role of habitat boundaries in the evolution of connectivity in marine predator populations.
  • Cameron Trotter (PhD, School of Engineering, with Professor Nick Wright) - Development of methods for marine mammal image analyses.
  • Georgia Atkinson (PhD, School of Engineering, with Professor Nick Wright) - Development of methods for marine mammal sound analyses.
  • Kirsten Richardson (PhD, School of Computing, with Dr Stephen McGough and Professor Nick Wright) - Development of methods for tracking marine mammals.
  • Charles McGibney, MPhil - Assessment of marine traffic potential impact on bottlenose dolphin behaviour off Montenegro.

Current Postdocs (PDRA)

  • Dr Liangliang Yang (NERC NanoPAM Project) - Development of algorithms for species identification of porpoise and dolphin echolocation clicks.
  • Mr Richie Burnett (NERC NanoPAM Project, with Mr Jeff Neasham) - Hard- and software development for passive acoustic monitoring.
  • Andrew Temple (NOAA/Marine Mammal Commission) - Low-cost solutions to cetacean bycatch in gillnet fisheries.

Visiting Researcher

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

Past Post Graduate Research students

  • Andrew Temple, PhD - Reconciling food security with elasmobranch conservation in the Western Indian Ocean.
  • Liangliang Yang, PhD - Underwater vocalizations of spotted seals (Phoca largha) in Liaodong Bay, China: monitoring, classification and pile driving impact.
  • Matt Sharpe, MPhil - Population dynamics of dolphins off Zanzibar, East Africa.
  • Ellen Barrowclift-Mahon, MPhil - Lifehistory and foraging ecology of elasmobranchs off Zanzibar, East Africa.
  • Kelsey Potlock, MPhil - Behavioural ecology of harbour porpoise, white-beaked dolphin and common bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) dolphin based on passive acoustic monitoring in a windfarm development site off Blyth, Northumberland.
  • Sarah Kenney, MPhil - Environmental and anthropogenic drivers to odontocete temporal and spatial occurrence off Blyth, Northumberland.
  • Bethany Cowan, MPhil - Population ecology of grey seals in Northumberland, UK.
  • Robert Hunt, MPhil - Abiotic and biotic factors affecting grey seal population dynamics on the Farne Islands, UK.
  • 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

Please contact me to discuss potential MPhil and PhD projects.