Dr Monica Arso Civil

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

SOI 2.12
tel. 01334 472629

My research interests focus on marine mammal population dynamics and how these can inform on the conservation status of wild populations. 

My PhD thesis focused on the ecology of bottlenose dolphins off the East coast of Scotland, in which I estimated population parameters (survival and fecundity rates) for this resident population and looked at the use of the area of St Andrews Bay and the Firth of Tay.

Current projects

Harbour seal decline project

Populations of harbour seals have been declining around the east and north coast of Scotland and in the Northern Islands since around 2000, while populations on the West Coast and in the Western Islands have been stable or increasing. My research aims to estimate vital rates for harbour seals in areas of contrasting trajectories to inform population dynamics models and ultimately get a better understanding of the main (potential) drivers for the decline.

Check more information at http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/harbourseals/

Bottlenose dolphins in St Andrews Bay and the Tay

Research on bottlenose dolphins conducted in St Andrews Bay and the Tayside since 2003 has shown how this area is used every summer by half of the estimated total population that ranges between the Moray Firth and the Firth of Forth. The entrance to the Firth of Tay has been identified as a high use area for at least part of the population. We are continuing monitoring the use of this area outside the Moray Firth SAC, conducting photo-ID surveys during the summer months.



Arso Civil, M, Cheney, B, Quick, NJ, Islas-Villanueva, V, Graves, JA, Janik, VM, Thompson, PM & Hammond, PS 2019, 'Variations in age- and sex-specific survival rates help explain population trend in a discrete marine mammal population' Ecology and Evolution, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 533-544. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.4772
Arso Civil, M, Cheney, B, Quick, NJ, Thompson, PM & Hammond, PS 2017, 'A new approach to estimate fecundity rate from inter-birth intervals' Ecosphere, vol. 8, no. 4, e01796. DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.1796
Arso Civil, M, Smout, SC, Thompson, D, Brownlow, A, Davison, N, Doeschate, M, Duck, CD, Morris, C, Cummings, C, McConnell, BJ & Hall, AJ 2017, Harbour Seal Decline – vital rates and drivers. Report to Scottish Government HSD2. Sea Mammal Research Unit.
Arso Civil, M, Smout, SC, Duck, CD, Morris, C, Onoufriou, J, Thompson, D, Brownlow, A, Davison, N, Cummings, C, Pomeroy, P, McConnell, BJ & Hall, AJ 2016, Harbour Seal Decline - vital rates and drivers: Report to Scottish Government MMSS/002/15. SMRU.
Graham, IM, Cheney, B, Hewitt, R, Cordes, L, Hastie, GD, Russell, DJF, Arso Civil, M, Hammond, PS & Thompson, P 2016, Strategic Regional Pre-construction Marine Mammal Monitoring Programme Annual Report 2016. Annual report for the Moray Firth Regional Advisory Group, University of Aberdeen.
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Dr Monica Arso Civil
Scottish Oceans Institute
East Sands
University of St Andrews
St Andrews
KY16 8LB

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