PhD candidate / Doctorante – Co-tutelle University of Porto and Université de Montpellier

 MNakamura Foto1 small

PhD Title: “Wolf demography in human-dominated landscapes: Insights for wolf conservation in the Anthropocene”

The primary objective of this project is to investigate the impacts of anthropogenic factors on large carnivores' persistence in human-dominated landscapes. Anthropogenic impacts on habitats and animal populations are resulting in worldwide species range contractions and population decreases, and such heterogeneous landscapes can affect the distribution of organisms and produce habitat-specific population demography. We will use the wolf as a model species to address how different humanization levels can influence habitat selection and land use and ultimately affect their demography, status and viability.

Keywords: wolf, conservation, demography, human disturbance

Supervisors: José Vicente López-Bao (Universidad de Oviedo, UO-PA-CSIC, Spain); Pedro Monterroso (University of Porto, FCUP-BIOPOLIS-CIBIO/InBIO Portugal); Olivier Gimenez (Université de Montpellier, CEFE, France)


Contact information

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Orcid: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2493-2489
Websites: http://iwrt.info/MEMBERS/monia.html
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/m%C3%B3nia-nakamura-9390b06/
Twitter / X: https://twitter.com/MoniaNakamura


PhD in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution (BioDiv; FCUP) and Ecologie et Biodiversité (EERGP; GAIA) – Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto (FCUP) CIBIO/InBIO; PhD Thesis in Co-supervision/Cotutelle with the University of Montpellier.

FCT scholarship: SFRH/BD/144087/2019


About me

I have worked in wolf (Canis lupus) monitoring, research and conservation projects since 2007 in Northwest Portugal. Thus, fieldwork concerning this large carnivore's ecology, conservation, distribution, and behaviour is my primary knowledge and interest. Meanwhile, I have also performed monitoring of the Iberian wolf in other study areas in Portugal (Serra da Cabreira and South of Douro River population), of the African golden wolf in Senegal, and of desert foxes in Morocco, in projects within CIBIO/InBIO.

In 2019, I enrolled in the BIODIV PhD program at the University of Porto with an FCT grant, and in 2021, I enrolled in co-tutelle in the PhD program Ecologie et Biodiversité at GAIA/University of Montpellier. In my PhD I investigate how anthropogenic factors affect wolf occupancy, homesite selection and how these patterns are linked to the variation in wolf demography in human-dominated landscapes. With this PhD, I aim to increase my knowledge in data analysis in a Bayesian framework to improve and propose science-based management and conservation actions for wolf conservation.


Bio (Background, employment)
   Research experience:

  • 2011-2021: Research for the project "Research applied to wolf conservation in northwestern Portugal", in continuity of the previous projects of 2007-2011. VentoMinho - Energias Renováveis, S.A., Vairão – CIBIO/InBIO.
  • 2017-2018: Co-responsible for fieldwork on monitoring and capture of foxes (Vulpes vulpes and Vulpes ruepellii) in the project “Vida no deserto: a compreensão da arquitectura genómica da adaptação a ambientes extremos através do estudo de raposas do Norte de África (PTDC/BIA-EVL/31902/2017), 5-26 May 2017, Assa; 4-30 January 2018, Aousserd; Morocco, Biodeserts, CIBIO/InBIO.
  • 2014: Fieldwork of wolf monitoring, data analysis and execution of technical reports for the projects "Posto de Corte de Vieira do Minho, a 400kv" and "Linha Vieira do Minho – Pedralva 1, a 400kV", June-October, Vieira do Minho, Portugal – CIBIO/InBIO.
  • 2014: Fieldwork from African wolf (Canis anthus) monitoring in the Parc National des Oiseaux du Djoudj. 24 February-13 March, Senegal – CIBIO/InBIO.
  • 2014: Fieldwork for wolf monitoring in the project "Plano de Monitorização do Lobo na Área dos Projectos Eólicos das Serras de Montemuro, Freita, Arada de Leomil", January-July, Moimenta da Beira, Portugal, Grupo Lobo/Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa.
  • 2007-2011: Research for the projects "Wolf monitoring programme in the implementation area of Alto Minho I Windfarm" and "Project of wolf research and conservation in Northewestern Portugal", financed by VentoMinho - Energias Renováveis, S.A, Castro Laboreiro, Melgaço, Portugal, VERANDA (Associação para a Conservação e Divulgação do Património de Montanha)/CIBIO/InBIO.


  • 2019-present: PhD Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution (BioDiv; 2019-2024) and Ecologie et Biodiversité (EERGP; 2021-2024) – Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto (FCUP) CIBIO/InBIO; PhD in Co-tutelle with the University of Montpellier, GAIA.
  • 2006-2008: MSc in Conservation Biology, Faculty of Sciences of Lisbon University (FCUL), in the Mammal Research Institute Polish Academy of Sciences – University of Jagiellonian (Krakow – Poland) Included in Sócrates/Erasmus Program.
  • 2002-2006: Graduation in Environmental Biology (Terrestrial). Faculty of Sciences of Lisbon University (FCUL); Lisbon, Portugal.



  • Nakamura M., López-Bao J.V., Rio-Maior H., Roque S., Gil P., Serronha A., García E., Palacios O.H., Ferrão da Costa, G., Álvares F., Petrucci-Fonseca F., Gimenez O. & Monterroso P. (2023) Insights into the dynamics of wolf occupancy in human-dominated landscapes. Biological Conservation, 286, October 2023, 110316. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2023.110316
  • Rocha J.L., Silva P., Santos N., Nakamura M., Afonso S., Qninba A., Boratynski Z., Sudmant P.H., Brito J.C., Nielsen R. & Godinho R. (2023) North-African foxes genomes show signatures of repeated introgression and adaptation to life in deserts. Nature Ecology and Evolution. 1-20, 1038/s41559-023-02094-w
  • Pereira P., Esteruelas N.F., Nakamura M., Rio-Maior H., Krofel M., Blasio A.D., Zoppi S. Robett S., Llaneza L., García E., Oleaga A., López-Bao J.V., Martinez M.F., Stavenow J., Ågren E.O., Álvares F. & Santos N. (2022) Hair cortisol concentration reflects the life cycle and management of grey wolves across four European populations. Scientific Reports, 12(1), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-09711-x
  • Grilo et al. (2022) MAMMALS IN PORTUGAL: A data set of terrestrial, volant, and marine mammal occurrences in Portugal. Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.3654
  • Nakamura M, Rio-Maior H., Godinho R., Petrucci-Fonseca F. & Álvares F. (2021) Source-sink dynamics promote wolf persistence in human-modified landscapes: insights from long-term monitoring. Biological Conservation, 256, April 2021,109075. https://doi.org/1016/j.biocon.2021.109075
  • Rousseau J., Nakamura M., Rio-Maior H., Álvares F., Choquet R., Carvalho L. M., Godinho R., Santos N. (2021) Non-invasive molecular survey of sarcoptic mange in wildlife: diagnostic performance in wolf faecal samples evaluated by multievent capture-recapture models. Pathogens, 10 (2), 243-259. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10020243
  • Santos N., Nakamura M, Rio-Maior H., Álvares F., Barasona, J.A., Rosalino L.M., Santos M., Santos-Reis M., Ferreras P., Díaz-Ruíz F. & Monterroso P. (2020) Protein metabolism and physical fitness are physiological determinants of body condition in Southern European carnivores. Scientific Reports 10, 15755. https://doi.org/1038/s41598-020-72761-6.
  • Rio-Maior H., Nakamura M., Álvares F. & Beja P. (2019) Designing the landscape of coexistence: integrating risk avoidance, habitat selection and functional connectivity to inform large carnivore conservation. Biological Conservation. 235, 178-188. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.04.021.
  • Grilo C., Lucas P., Seara M., Costa G., Roque S., Rio-Maior H., Nakamura M., Álvares F., Petrucci-Fonseca F. & Revilla E. (2018). Refuge as major habitat driver for wolf presence in human-modified landscapes. Animal Conservation 22 (1), 59-71. http://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12435
  • Rio-Maior H., Beja P., Nakamura M. & Álvares F. (2018). Use of space and homesite attendance by Iberian wolves during breeding season. Mammalian Biology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2018.03.014
  • Santos N., Rio-Maior H., Nakamura M., Roque S., Brandão R. & Álvares F. (2017). Characterization and minimization of the stress response to trapping in free-ranging wolves (Canis lupus): insights from physiology and behavior. Stress, 513-522. https://doi.org/10.1080/10253890.2017.1368487
  • Nakamura M., Godinho R., Rio-Maior H., Roque S., Kaliontzopoulou A., Bernardo J., Castro D., Lopes S., Petrucci-Fonseca F. & Álvares F. (2017). Evaluating the predictive power of field variables for species and individual molecular identification on wolf noninvasive samples. European Journal of Wildlife Research 63: 53. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-017-1112-7
  • Rio‐Maior, H., Beja, P., Nakamura, M., Santos, N., Brandão, R., Sargo, R., Dias, I., Silva, F. & Álvares, F. (2016). Rehabilitation and post‐release monitoring of two wolves with severe injuries. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 80 (4), 729-735. https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.1055.
  • Santos, Rio Maior H., Nakamura M., Roque S., Brandão R., Petrucci-Fonseca F., Palacios V., Garcia E., López-Bao J. V., Llaneza L. & Álvares F. (2015). Hematology and sérum biochemistry values of free-ranging Iberian wolves (Canis lupus) trapped by leg-hold snares. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 61 (1), 135-141. https://doi.org/10.1080/10253890.2017.1368487