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Karin Hårding - Associate Professor

Research interests

I’m interested in aspects of population biology and evolutionary biology, and in particular the interface between these two fields. How do environmental factors influence life histories and thereby population dynamics? How are population growth and extinction risk influenced by population structure? I work with empirical data from seal populations and with theoretical approaches.

Seal with flat fish in the mouth. Photo: Ken Howard.Within a long term project on harbour seals we study how age and sex structure together with behaviour, influence the development of the population (Refs 2,5,6). This knowledge is now useful as we try to understand the dynamics of the recent mass mortality of harbour seals caused by Phocine Distemper Virus (Ref 8,9,10).

We have developed a simplified framework for metapopulation models. It allows for many different functional relationships between immigration and local population dynamics (Ref. 7). This approach is now extended to study the dynamics of invasive species in patch networks.

Education History

Post Doc. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MA, USA, 2001.Ph.D., Biology Helsinki University, Finland 2000.
B.A., Biology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, 1991.


Professional Journals

1. Harding K.C. and Härkönen T.J. (1995). Estimating mean age at sexual maturity in the crabeater seal (Lobodon carcinophagus). Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 52: 2347-2352.

2. Härkönen T., Harding K.C. and Lunneryd S.G. (1999). Age- and sex-specific behaviour in harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) leads to biased estimates of vital population parameters. J. Appl. Ecol. 36:825-841.

3. Harding, KC. and Härkönen, T. (1999). Development in the Baltic grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) and ringed seal (Phoca hispida) populations during the 20th century. Ambio 28:619-627.

4. Sih, A., Ziemba, R. and Harding, K.C. (2000). New insights on how temporal variation in predation risk shapes prey behavior. TREE 15: 3-4.

5. Härkönen T. and Harding K.C. (2001). Spatial structure of harbour seal populations and the implications thereof. Canadian Journal of Zoology 79: 2115-2127.

6. Härkönen, T., Harding, K.C. and Heide-Jørgenssen M.-P. (2002) Rates of increase in age structured populations, a lesson from the European harbour seal. Canadian Journal of Zoology 80: 1498-1510.

7. Harding K.C. and J.M. McNamara. (2002). A unifying framework for metapopulation dynamics. American Naturalist 160:173-185.

Download as 7_Harding_and_McNamara2002

8. Harding, K.C., Härkönen, T. and H. Caswell. (2002) : The 2002 European seal plague: Epidemiology and population consequences. Ecology Letters 5: 727-732.

9. Harding K.C., Härkönen, T. and J. Pineda. (2003). Estimating quasi-extinction risk of European harbour seals: a reply to Lonergan and Harwood. Ecology Letters 6: 894-897.

10. McNamara J.M. and K.C. Harding. (2004). Measurment error and estimates of population extinction risk. Ecology Letters 7: 16-20.

11. Harding, K.C. , M. Fujiwara, T. Härkönen and Y. Axberg. (2005). Mass dependent energetics and survival in harbour seal pups. Functional Ecology

12. Härkönen, T, K.C. Harding, S. Goodman, and K. Johannesson (2005) Colonization history of the Baltic harbor seals: Integrating archaeological, behavioural and genetic data. Marine Mammal Science 21: 695-716.

13. Harding, K.C., J Hansen and S. Goodman. (2005) Acquired immunity and stochasticity in epidemic intervals impede the evolution of host disease resistance. American Naturalist. 166: 722-730.

14. T. Härkönen, R. Dietz, P. Reijnders, J. Teilmann, P. Thompson, K.C. Harding, A. Hall, S. Brasseur, U. Siebert, S. Goodman, P. Jepson, T. Dau Rasmussen. (2006) The 1988 and 2002 phocine distemper virus epidemics in European harbour seals.
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 68(2): 115-130.

15. Hansén B.J.L. and K.C. Harding. (2006) On the potential impact of harbour seal predation on the cod population in the eastern North Sea. J Sea Res.56: 329-337

16. Houston, A.I., Stephens, P.A., Boyd, I.L., Harding, K.C. & McNamara, J.M.
(2007) Capital or income breeding? A theoretical model of female reproductive strategies. Behavioral Ecology 18, 241-250.

17. Leidenberger, S., K.C. Harding, T. Härkönen. (2007) Phocid seals, seal lice and heartworms: a terrestrial host-parasite system conveyed to the marine environment. Dis Aquat Org. 77:235-253.

18. Härkönen T., K.C. Harding, T. Dau Rasmussen, J. Teilmann, R. Dietz. (2007) Age- and Sex-specific Mortality Patterns in an Emerging Wildlife Epidemic: the Phocine Distemper in European Harbour Seals. PLoS ONE 2(9): e887.

19. Stephens P.A., C. Carbone, I.L. Boyd, J.M. McNamara, K.C. Harding and A.I. Houston.. (2008) The scaling of diving time budgets: insights from an optimality approach. American Naturalist 171: 305-314

20. Harkonen T., Bäcklin, B.M., Barrett, T., Bergman, A., Corteyn, M., Dietz, R., Harding, K.C., Malmsten, J., Roos, A. and J. Teilmann. (2008). Mass mortality in harbour seals and harbour porpoises caused by an unknown pathogen. Vet. Rec. 162: 555-556

21. Harkonen, T., M. Jüssi, I. Jüssi, M. Verevkin, E. Helle, R. Sagitov, K.C. Harding. (2008) Seasonal activity budget of adult Baltic ringed seals (Phoca hispida botnica). PLoS ONE 3(4): e2006.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002006.

22. Roy, M., Harding K.C. and R.D. Holt. 2008. Generalizing Levins metapopulation model in explicit space: models of intermediate complexity. J. Theoretical Biology. Download as 22_Roy_etal_2008.pdf

23. Jagers and Harding . 2009. Viability of small populations haunted by random catastrophes. Math Pop Studies. 16 (3) 177-198.

24. M. P. Heide-Jørgensen, K.L. Laidre, R.G. Hansen, M.L. Burt, D.L. Borchers, J. Hansén, K.C. Harding, M. Rasmussen, R. Dietz, and J. Teilmann. (2010) Rate of increase and current abundance of humpback whales in West Greenland. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management

25. Harkonen, T. and K.C. Harding. 2010. Predicting recurrent PDV epizootics in European harbour seals (Phoca vitulina). NAMMCO Scientific Publications Volume: 8 Pages: 275-284.

26. Svensson C.J., A. Eriksson, T. Härkönen and K.C. Harding 2010. Detecting Density Dependence in Recovering Seal Populations Ambio 40:52-59.

27. Leidenberger S., K.C. Harding and P.R. Jonsson. (2012) Ecology and distribution of the isopods Idotea spp. in the Baltic Sea: key species in a changing environment. J. Crustacean Biol. 32: 359-381

28. KC Harding, Begon M, B. and Wennberg. (2012) Increased migration in host-pathogen metapopulations can cause host extinction. J. Theor. Biol. 298: 1-7.
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29. Sundqvist, L., Harkonen, T., Svensson, C.J. and K.C. Harding. 2012. Linking Climate Trends to Population Dynamics in the Baltic Ringed Seal: Impacts of Historical and Future Winter Temperatures. Ambio 41: 865-871.
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30. Harkonen, T., K.C. Harding, S. Wilson, M. Baimukanov, L. Dmitrieva, C. J. Svensson, S. J. Goodman. 2012. Collapse of a Marine Mammal Species Driven by Human Impacts. Plos ONE 7:1-9.
Download article
31. Capital and income breeding in pinnipeds: the role of food supply (In Press). Stephens, P.A., A. I. Houston, K.C. Harding, L. Boyd and J.M McNamara. Ecology.

Book chapters
32. Harding K.C., J.M. McNamara and R.D. Holt (2006) Understanding invasions in patchy habitats through metapopulation theory. Pages 371-403 In: Cadotte MW, McMahon, Fukami T, eds. Conceptual ecology and invasions biology:reciprocal approaches to nature. Springer.

33. Harding, K.C. Härkönen, T., B. Helander and O. Karlsson (2007). Status of Baltic grey seals: Population assessment and risk analysis. NAMMCO Scientific Publications, 6: 33-56.

Portrait Karin Harding

Contact information

Karin Harding

University of Gothenburg
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Box 463


CeMEB - The Linnaeus Centre for Marine Evolutionary Biology

Visiting address

Medicinaregatan 18 A


+46 73 81 72 751



Page Manager: Sven Toresson|Last update: 9/23/2013

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