Staff profile

John  Morgan

Dr John Morgan


Senior Lecturer in Biological Science, based in the School of Animal & Human Science. I am the Course Scheme Manager for the Postgraduate Animal Welfare & Conservation Management scheme.

My teaching covers MSc and BSc (Hons) (with associated sub-degree framework) levels of study, and covers biodiversity conservation, biological surveying, ecology, climate change, environmental impact assessment, and cell biology. I also teach statistics to second-year students.

I am a current member of University College's Ethics Committee, and have formerly served as an HE-elected fixed-term member of Academic Board.

I have been involved in the development of new courses at Writtle, and have been a member of validation panels for courses developed at Writtle and elsewhere. I have been an examiner for PhDs, and have acted as a referee for a number of scientific journals.

In July 2000 I was appointed to the National Scientific Advisory Panel for the International Symposium on Earthworm Ecology, and chaired the session on ecological physiology at the Symposium, Cardiff (September 2002). I was a member of the Chelmsford Biodiversity Forum (Sept. 2006 to Sept. 2012), and was a participant in the BTO bird atlas (2007-2011).


My primary education was based in Sydney, Australia, and my secondary education was based in Swansea, South Wales. I studied Botany and Zoology at the University of Bristol, and subsequently studied for my PhD at the University of Wales (Cardiff).

Following completion of my PhD, I worked in industry for some six years (initially in an environmental consultancy, and subsequently in the water industry) before joining Writtle College as a Lecturer in Environmental Science in September 1994; I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1997.


PhD (University of Wales, Cardiff):
Exogenous factors influencing the accumulation of heavy metals by selected earthworm species

BSc (Joint Honours) in Botany and Zoology (University of Bristol)

Chartered Biologist / Member of the Royal Society of Biology (formerly the Institue of Biology)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice (University of Essex)

Subject Areas

Ecology, Biodiversity Conservation, Climate Change, Biological Surveying, Cell Biology, Environmental Impact Assessment, Statistics. I have also taught Ecotoxicology.


My main focus has been concerned with potentially toxic elements (noteably copper, cadmium, lead and zinc) and invertebrates (with a particular focus on earthworms). These studies, involving extensive fieldwork and complementary laboratory experiments, assessed the use of earthworms as biological monitors of heavy metals in soils, and examined differences in metal accumulation between different earthworm species. Tissue metal distribution, including investigations of subcellular localization and protein-binding of metals, has been undertaken. Other studies have investigated the accululation of of strontium by earthworms.

During 2000-2001 I was involved in a consultancy project, sponsored by the Countryside Agency, which examined pasture management for horses.

During 1996-1999 I undertook a study, in collaboration with Essex Wildlife Trust, on small mammals in woodlands.

I have been involved in a Teaching and Learning project (with Dr. A. Perera, School of Sustainable Environments & Design, WUC) which assessed students' perceptions of the value of formative work in supporting their learning.


Journal papers

Bonner, D., Hobson, P.R. & Morgan , J.E. (2017) What can birds tell us about forest ecosystem function? A case study of bird foraging patterns in managed semi-natural woodland in south-east Essex. Essex Naturalist (New series) 34 165-187

Morgan, J.E.. & Hobson, P.R. (2016) Rewilding: A necessary step change or a 'filed of dreams'? The Harrier 186 9-15.

Stock, A. & Morgan, J.E. (2016) Utilisation of perennial boundary features by passerine birds in an organic and conventional farm in south-east Essex during winter: A comparative study. Essex Naturalist (New Series) 33 133-154

Watson, D. & Morgan, J.E. (2015) Utilisation of perennial boundary features by farmland birds during winter in a lowland-farm landscape. Essex Naturalist (New Series) 32 172-186

Knight, M., Hobson, P.R. & Morgan, J.E. (2014) Dispersal and survivorship in a small population of translocated wáter vole, Abberton reservoir, Essex. Essex Naturalist (New Series) 31 90-105.

Morgan, R. & Morgan, J.E. (2014) The incidence and spatio-temporal distribution of European robin Erithacus rubecula in a lowland farm landscape of south-east Essex during autumn and winter 2011 Essex Naturalist (New Series) 31 78-89.

Brooks, P. & Morgan, J.E. (2013) Changes in salt-marsh vegetation of Little Marsh (Blackwater estuary, Essex), following managed coastal realignment. Essex Naturalist (New Series) 30 61-73.

Brooks, P. & Morgan, J.E. (2012) Managed coastal realignment in Essex salt-marsh: Monitoring the development of vegetation on former agricuiltural land following sea-water inundation. Essex Naturalist (New series) 29 97-109

Morgan, J.E. (2011) Small mammals in perennial boundary habitats within a lowland agricultural landscape of south-east Essex. Essex Naturalist (New Series) 28 94-107

Perera, A.M.B. & Morgan, J.E. (2011) Student perceptions of the value of formative assessment in their academic development. Acta Horticulturae (ISHS) 920 141-148

Morgan, J.E. (2010) Incidence of small mammals in a linear scrub feature within an agricultural landscape, Writtle College estate, during Spring 2007-10. Essex Naturalist (New Series) 27 200-208

Hill, J., Morgan, J.E. and Wilkinson, J.M. (2003) Impact of lead from municipal sewage sludge on ruminant livestock production. Bulletin of the University of Agricultural and Veterinary Medicine - Cluj-Napoca 59 49-53

Hillman, J.P., Hill, J., Morgan, J.E. and Wilkinson, J.M. (2003) Recycling of sewage sludge to grassland: A review of the legislation to control the localization and accumulation of potential toxic metals in grazing systems. Grass and Forage Science 58 101-111

Morgan, A.J., Blackshaw, R.P., Butt, K.R., Fredrickson, J., Morgan, J.E., Piearce, T.G. and Weeks, J. (Eds) (2003) (2003) 7th International Symposium on Earthworm Ecology, Cardiff, Wales, 1st-6th September 2002. Pedobiologia (special issue) 47

Morgan, A.J., Turner, M. and Morgan, J.E. (2002) Morphological plasticity in metal-sequestering earthworm chloragocytes: Morphometric electron microscopy provides a biomarker of exposure in field populations. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 21 610-618

Morgan, J.E., Richards, S.P.G. and Morgan, A.J. (2002) Contrasting accumulative patterns of two cationic analogues, Ca and Sr, in ecophysiologically contrasting earthworm species (Aporrectodea longa and Allolobophora chlorotica) from the field. Applied Soil Ecology 21 11-22

Morgan, J.E., Richards, S.P.G. and Morgan, A.J. (2001) Stable strontium accumulation by earthworms: A paradigm for radiostrontium interactions with its cationic analogue, calcium. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 20 1236-124

Morgan, J.E. and Morgan, A.J. (1999) The accumulation of metals (Cd, Cu, Pb, Zn and Ca) by two ecologically contrasting earthworm species (Lumbricus rubellus and Aporrectodea caliginosa): Implications for ecotoxicological testing. Applied Soil Ecology 13 9-20

Morgan, J.E. and Morgan, A.J. (1998) The distribution and intracellular compartmentation of selected metals in the endogeic earthworm Aporrectodea caliginosa sampled from an unpolluted and a metal-contaminated site. Environmental Pollution 99 167-175

Morgan, J.E. and Morgan, A.J. (1993) Seasonal changes in the tissue metal (Cd, Zn and Pb) concentrations in two ecophysiologically dissimilar earthworm species: Pollution monitoring implications. Environmental Pollution 82 1-7

Morgan, J.E. and Morgan, A.J. (1992) Heavy metal concentrations in the tissues, ingesta and faeces of ecophysiologically different earthworm species. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 24 1691-1697

Morgan, J.E. and Morgan, A.J. (1991) Differences in the accumulated metal concentrations in two epigeic earthworm species (Lumbricus rubellus and Dendrodrilus rubidus) living in contaminated soils. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 47 296-301

Morgan, J.E. and Morgan, A.J. (1990) The distribution of cadmium, copper, lead, zinc and calcium in the tissues of Lumbricus rubellus sampled from one contaminated and four polluted soils. Oecologia (Berl.) 84

Morgan, J.E. and Morgan, A.J. (1989) Zinc sequestration by earthworm (Annelida: Oligochaeta) chloragocytes. An in vitro investigation using fully quantitative electron probe X-ray microanalysis. Histochemistry 90 405-411

Morgan, J.E. and Morgan, A.J. (1989) The effect of lead incorporation on the elemental composition of earthworm (Annelida, Oligochaeta) chloragosome granules. Histochemistry 92 237-241

Morgan, J.E., Norey, C.G., Morgan, A.J. and Kay, J. (1989) A comparison of the cadmium-binding proteins isolated from the posterior alimentary canal of the earthworms Dendrodrilus rubidus and Lumbricus rubellus. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 92C 15-21

Morgan, J.E. and Morgan, A.J. (1988) Calcium-lead interactions involving earthworms. Part 1: The effect of exogenous calcium on lead accumulation by earthworms under field and laboratory conditions. Environmental Pollution 54 41-53

Morgan, J.E. and Morgan, A.J. (1988) Calcium-lead interactions involving earthworms. Part 2: The effect of accumulated lead on endogenous calcium in Lumbricus rubellus. Environmental Pollution 55 41-54

Morgan, J.E. and Morgan, A.J. (1988) (1988) Earthworms as biological monitors of cadmium, copper, lead and zinc in metalliferous soils. Environmental Pollution 54 123-138

Morgan, A.J. and Morgan, J.E. (1987) The biomonitoring potential of metal-accumulating granules in earthworms. SEEsoil 5 38-47

Morgan, A.J., Evans, C.E., Morris, B. and Morgan, J.E. (1987) Bywyd mewn Adfeilion Llygredig. Y Gwyddonydd 24 57-61

Morgan, J.E. (1987) Earthworms as biological monitors of cadmium and zinc in highly contaminated metalliferous soils. SEEsoil 5 24-37

Morgan, A.J., Morris, B., James, N., Morgan, J.E. and Leyshon, K. (1986) Heavy metals in terrestrial macroinvertebrates: Species differences within and between trophic levels. Chemistry in Ecology 2 319-334


Oliver, J. & Morgan, J.E. (2017) Changes in vegetation of two Essex salt-marshes (2004-2016), Blackwater estuary, following managed coastal realignment. Essex Naturalist (New Series) 34 188-205


Morgan, J.E. & Perera, A.M.B. (2012) Formative work to support student academic development in biological sciences. In: Miller, A., Sharp, J. & Strong, J. (Eds) What is Reserach-led Teaching? Multi-disciplinary Approaches. London: CREST / GuildHE 167-168.

Morgan, J.E. (2004) Discussion: Water and biodiversity (facilitated by C.Spray and W. Robinson). In: Jones, R. (Ed.) Sustainable Communities. Agenda 21 or Catch22? Proceedings of a Conference for Europe, 23-25th June 2003, Chelmsford, Essex. Resource Publishing Ltd., Bristol. pp.56-59.

Morgan, A.J., Morgan, J.E., Turner, M., Winters, C. and Yarwood, A. (1993) Metal relationships in earthworms. In: Dallinger, R. and Rainbow, P.S. (Eds.) Ecotoxicology of Metals in Invertebrates. Lewis Publishers, London. pp 333-358

Morgan, J.E., Morgan, A.J. and Corp, N. (1992) Assessing soil metal pollution with earthworms: Indices derived from regression analysis. In: Greig-Smith, P.W., Becker, H., Edwards, P.J. and Heimbach, F. (Eds.) Ecotoxicology of Earthworms. Andover, Hants, UK: Intercept Ltd. pp 233-237

Morgan, A.J., Roos, N., Morgan, J.E. and Winters, C. (1989) The subcellular accumulation of toxic heavy metals: Qualitative and quantitative X-ray microanalysis. In: Zierold, K. and Hagler, H.K. (Eds.) Electron Probe Microanalysis. Applications in Biology and Medicine. Springer Series in Biophysics, Volume 4. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. pp 59-72

Conference proceedings

Morgan, J.E. (1985) The interactions of exogenous and endogenous factors on the uptake of heavy metals by the earthworm Lumbricus rubellus. In: Lekkas, T.D. (Ed.) Proceedings of the International Conference on Heavy Metals in the Environment (Volume 1), Athens, 10-13th Sept., 1985, pp. 736-738. CEP Consultants Ltd., Edinburgh. 736-738.


Morgan, J.E. & Perera, A.M.B. (2010) Approaches to Formative Assessment within Undergraduate Science-Based Programmes, Writtle College 2008/09 Writtle College, Chelmsford. pp.35

Morgan, J.E., Field, R.G., Field, S. Fryer, R.E., Sellers, E.K. and Prewer, S.J. (1998) An Investigation of the Incidence of Small Mammals at Hanningfield Nature Reserve, Essex: A Report on the First Year of Study. Writtle College, Chelmsford.

Morgan, J.E. (1992) A Review of Concentrations of Natural Radionuclides Relating to Fossil-Fuelled Power Generation, and Application of a Generic Assessment Shell to Natural Radionuclides in Atmospheric Releases and Solid Wastes. ANS Report No. 2660-R1 (commercial-in-confidence).

Morgan, J.E. (1992) The Transfer of Mercury from Fossil-Fuelled Power Generation in Terrestrial Food Chains, and Application of a Generic Assessment Shell to Mercury in Atmospheric Releases. ANS Report No. 2659-R1 (commercial-in-confidence).

Morgan, J.E. (1992) A Review of Concentrations and Behaviour of Toxic Metals Relating to Fossil-Fuelled Power Generation, and Application of a Generic Assessment Shell to Selected Toxic Metals in Solid Wastes. ANS Report No. 2658-R1 (commercial-in-confidence).

Paul, L. and Morgan, J.E. (1992) A Review of Microbial Corrosion with Particular Reference to Nuclear Plant. ANS Report No. 63024-R1 (commercial-in-confidence).

Beetham, C.J. and Morgan, J.E. (1991) The Environmental Behaviour of Iodine, Technetium, Neptunium, Chlorine, Radium, Protactinium and Tin: Further Information. ANS Technical Note 2506-TN1 (commercial-in-confidence).

Johnson, R.H., Morgan, J.E. and Beetham, C.J. (1991) The Behaviour of Tin in Coastal Marine Environments. Nirex Safety Studies Report No. NSS R254. UK Nirex Ltd, Harwell, Didcot, Oxfordshire.

Kirton, J.A., Morgan, J.E. and Edley, M.T. (1991) Specification and Application of a Generic Assessment Shell for Toxic Materials Released from Fossil-Fuelled Power Generation. ANS Report No. 2656-R1 (commercial-in-confidence).

Morgan, J.E. (1991) The Behaviour of Radium in Tailings and Wastes from Uranium Mining and Milling Facilities. ANS Technical Note 2506-TN2 (commercial-in-confidence).

Morgan, J.E. (1991) The Metabolism of Toxic Metals by Domestic Animals - Lead, Cadmium, Mercury and Arsenic. ANS Report No. 2437-R.

Morgan, J.E. (1990) Retention and Mobility of Artificial Radionuclides in Soil. Nirex Safety Studies Report No. NSS R217. UK Nirex Ltd, Harwell, Didcot, Oxfordshire.

Morgan, J.E. and Beetham, C.J. (1990) Review of Literature for Radium, Protactinium, Tin and Carbon. Nirex Safety Studies Report No. NSS R220. UK Nirex Ltd, Harwell, Didcot, Oxfordshire.


Perera, A.M.B & Morgan, J.E. (2010) Student perceptions of the value of formative assessment in their academic development. Science and Horticulture for People. 28th International Horticultural Congress (Volume 1). Lisbon, 22-27th August 2010 179.

Morgan, A.J., Morgan, J.E. and Winters, C. (1989) Subcellular cadmium sequestration by the chloragocytes of earthworms living in highly contaminated soil. Marine Environmental Research 28 221

Morgan, J.E. (1988) The elemental composition of earthworm chloragosomes and the effect of Pb incorporation: A preliminary study using fully quantitative electron-probe X-ray microanalysis (EPXMA). Proceedings of the Royal Microscopical Society 23 213

Brooks, P., Morgan, J.E. & Hobson, P.R. (2011) Use of time lapse analysis of vegetation and substrate characteristics to assess succession dynamics in emerging saltmarsh communities following managed realignment. Presented at the British Ecological Society Annual General Meeting, University of Sheffiled, September 2011 .

Morgan, J.E. & Perera, A.M.B. (2011) Linking student profiling to academic development and achievement. Presented at the Conference on the Effective Learning in the Biosciences, Edinburgh, June, 2011 .

Perera, A.M.B. & Morgan, J.E. (2010) Formative assessment: Preliminary observations & student perceptions. Presented at HEA Biosciences, London, September 2010 .