Morgan Wilson

Morgan Wilson

Morgan Wilson is the son of a biologist and naturalist, and the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. He enjoys studying and teaching about how things work biologically – physiological and behavioral mechanisms to be exact, especially in organisms in their natural environment. Morgan teaches courses in the biology and environmental studies programs. His research has taken him to the edge of the Arctic, the Appalachian Mountains, the Mississippi Delta, the prairie pothole region of North Dakota, and coral reefs of the Caribbean.

Put him in nature, be it a marsh, meadow, or mountain, and he is a happy man.

In his spare time, he enjoys fly fishing, canoeing, trail running, waterfowling, bow hunting, hiking, and spending time with his family. 

[4.4.23] WDBJ-7 meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner talked with Professor Wilson to find out which birds are migrating in April, when you should get the hummingbird feeders out, and best practices for feeding birds during the warm season. Podcast 

[8.23.22] Ciera Morris ’19, Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Elizabeth Gleim ’06, and Professor of Biology C. Morgan Wilson, along with colleagues from Old Dominion University and the University of Georgia, have written an article that has been published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, a peer-reviewed journal. Morris is the lead author for the piece, which is entitled “Tick Species Composition, Collection Rates, and Phenology Provide Insights into Tick-Borne Disease Ecology in Virginia.”

Areas of Expertise

  • Marine Ecology
  • Vertebrate Physiology
  • Anatomy
  • Behavioral Ecology
  • Invertebrate Zoology

Courses Taught

  • Human Physiology
  • Ornithology
  • Human Anatomy
  • Invertebrate Zoology
  • Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
  • Human Biology
  • Caribbean Ecology


  • Ph.D., Biology, University of Mississippi
  • M.S., Biology, Virginia Tech
  • B.S., Biology, Hampden-Sydney College

Publications & Articles

  • Peltier, Sarah K., C. Morgan Wilson, and Renee D. Godard. 2019. The dual role of wing-flashing in foraging and antipredator behavior in Northern Mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos). Northeastern Naturalist 26(2):251-260
  • Wilson, C. M., C. G. Sims, S. J. Schoech, and S. Knox Peltier, and Z. L. Robinson. 2017. A test of the migration modulation hypothesis in a non-passerine Neotropical migrant, the blue-winged teal Anas discors. Journal of Ornithology 158:91–100, DOI 10.1007/s10336-016-1386-7
  • Godard, R.D., Sharma, P., Wagner, C. J., Wilson, C. M., Fleming-Haddock, A., and R. L. Beach. 2013. Repeated detection of microbes in beverages dispensed from soda fountain machines and the effect of flushing on microbial density. International Journal of Food Microbiology 163:218-222.
  • Godard, R. D., Wilson, C. M., Frick, J., P. B. Siegel, and B. B. Bowers. 2007. The effects of environmental exposure and microbial colonization on hatchability of eggs in open-cup and cavity nests. Journal of Avian Biology 38:709-716.
  • Wilson, C. M., and R. L. Holberton. 2007. Are nestlings the cue for reduction of the adrenocortical response to stress in male Yellow Warblers breeding at high latitude? Condor 109:675-679.
  • Wilson, C. M., and R. L. Holberton. 2007. Differences in song rate in two populations of Yellow Warblers, (Dendroica petechia). The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 119(1):132-135.
  • Holberton, R. L., Wilson, C. M., Hunter, M. J., Cash, W. B, and C. G. Sims. 2007. The role of corticosterone in supporting migratory lipogenesis in the Dark-eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis: A model for central and peripheral regulation. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 80(1):125-137.
  • Godard, R. D., Bowers, B. B., and C. M. Wilson. 2007. Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) do not avoid nest boxes laced with chemical cues from two common nest predators. Journal of Avian Biology 38:128-131.
  • Godard, R. D., Wilson, C. M., Cash, W. B., and C. M. Rock*. 2006. Agkistrodon controtrix (Copperhead) Diet. Herpetological Review 37(4):476.
  • Wilson, C. M., and R. L. Holberton. 2004. Individual risk versus immediate reproductive success: a basis for latitudinal differences in the adrenocortical response to stress in Yellow Warblers, Dendroica petechia. Auk 121(4): 1238-1249 [see also Auk 122(1):378, 2005].
  • Wilson, C. M., and R. L. Holberton. 2001. An alternative method for delivering adrenocorticotropin hormone in birds. General and Comparative Endocrinology 122:349-353.
  • Wilson, C. M., and F. M. A. McNabb. 1997. Maternal thyroid hormones in Japanese Quail eggs and their influence on embryonic development. General and Comparative Endocrinology 107:153-165.
  • McNabb, F. M. A., and C. M. Wilson. 1997. Thyroid hormone deposition in avian eggs and effects on embryonic development. American Zoologist 37(6):553-560.


  • Paula Pimlott Brownlee Professorship, 2017-2020
  • Janet W. Spear Chair in Biology, 2015-2017
  • Senior Class Faculty Award, Hollins University Honors Convocation, 2015
  • Omicron Delta Kappa
  • Phi Beta Kappa

Research Interests

  • The roles glucocorticoids play in avian physiology and behavior
  • Avian olfaction and response to predator ques
  • Wingflashing behavior in Northern Mockingbirds, Mimus polyglottos
  • Phenotypic and genetic variation in the crayfish, Cambarus longulus
  • The impact of hurricanes on coral, fish and invertebrate populations in St. John, USVI