Morwenna McKenzie

Research subject and interests

  • Aquatic ecology
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Fine sediment
  • Biological indices

My project title is ‘Quantifying the response of macroinvertebrates to gradients of fine sediment pollution’.

Erosion, transport and deposition of fine sediment (organic and inorganic particles <2mm in diameter) are fundamental processes in the hydrogeomorphic cycle and river systems require a constant supply in order to function. However, excessive sediment delivery can cause serious deleterious effects to aquatic systems both in suspension (e.g. clogging tissues, blocking light and reducing primary productivity) and by deposition (e.g. clogging interstitial spaces, loss of habitat heterogeneity and smothering benthic organisms).

Morwenna McKenzie

PhD Student

Building: Ryton Gardens


Research Gate



This project will aim to review the processes controlling fine sediment accumulation in river beds, at both the reach and catchment scale, and the response of macroinvertebrates. Field work will examine the methods used to quantify fine sediment and relate this to macroinvertebrate community response with the hope of advancing monitoring methods on a national scale.  

Supervisory Team

Martin Wilkes (Director of Studies)
Damian Lawler
Ian Foster


Morwenna graduated from the University of Portsmouth in 2012 with a degree in Biology and went on to carry out an MSc at Queen Mary University of London in Marine Ecology and Environmental Management. Morwenna has carried out a variety of research projects including: sexual dimorphism of the common brown shrimp, behavioural responses to starvation in the beadlet anemone and microplastic pollution in the Clyde Sea. Previous to starting her PhD she worked in environmental policy and campaigns for a small umbrella organisation providing her with an understanding of how science and evidence can influence the policy making process.

Awards and Grants:

  • Coventry University SPIDER project (Supporting Postgraduate students in Industry for Employability in Research)



 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020