School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Staff Profile

Professor Per Berggren

Chair of 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 assess populations and 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, a range of 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). NanoPAM - Novel low-cost networked acoustic system 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.

Current appointments:

  • Associate Editor for Journal of Ocean and Climate 2018-present.
  • International Whaling Commission, Bycatch Expert Panel Member 2018-2022.
  • International Whaling Commission, Scientific Committee Member 1990-present. 
  • IUCN Species Survival Commission, Cetacean Specialist Group Member 2004-present.
  • Scientific Advisor Marine Mammal Education and Research Programme at the Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar 1998-present.
Per Berggren Google Scholar Publications


Undergraduate Teaching

  •  MST1202 Diversity of Marine Animals
  •  MST1204 Academic and Professional Skills for the Biosciences
  •  MST1205 Marine Practical Skills 1
  •  MST2204 Research and Employability Skills
  •  MST2205 Marine Practical Skills 2
  •  MST2207 Marine Vertebrate Biology and Ecology (Module Leader) 
  •  MST3102 Advanced Marine Zoology          
  •  MST3104/05 Research Project: Marine Biology/Zoology
  •  MST3107 Research Project Overseas 

Current PhD 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.
  • 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.

Current MPhil students

  • Charles McGibney, MPhil - Assessment of marine traffic potential impact on bottlenose dolphin behaviour off Montenegro.
  • Rhiannon Lamb, MPhil - Population ecology of minke whales based on passive acoustic monitoring.

Current Postdocs (PDRA)

  • 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 PhD/MPhil students at Newcastle U.

  • Andrew Temple, PhD - Reconciling food security with elasmobranch conservation in the Western 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.
  • Liangliang Yang, PhD (Xiamen University, China with Professor Xiaomei Xu) - Underwater vocalizations of spotted seals (Phoca largha) in Liaodong Bay, China.
  • 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 and common bottlenose 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.

Past Marine MEGAfauna Lab members

  • Dr Liangliang Yang (Postdoc NERC NanoPAM Project) - Development of algorithms for species identification of porpoise and dolphin echolocation clicks.
  • Mr Richie Burnett (Postdoc NERC NanoPAM Project, with Mr Jeff Neasham) - Hard- and software development for passive acoustic monitoring.

Prospective students

Please contact me to discuss potential MPhil and PhD projects.