Dept of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Centre for Environmental and Information Technology (EIT)
200 University Ave. W
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Phone: (519) 888-4567
Alan Morgan was an international expert in Quarternary geology, mapping and studying past permafrost structures in Britain and Canada. He also specialized in Quarternary entomology, the study of fossilised beetles as a way to reconstruct past climate conditions.
Over his nearly 40 year career, he and his students and family collected over 60,000 specimens of Arctic, sub-Arctic and Boreal Coleoptera, including some new species, that served to provide basic zoogeographic and ecological information for interpreting fossil insect assemblages in various parts of North America and Europe.
Professor Morgan retired from the University of Waterloo in 2009.
- Quaternary geology, mapping and studying past permafrost structures.
- Quaternary entomology - the use of fossilised beetles to study past changes in climate.
- Studies in modern climate change, and human influences on climate.
Professor Morgan's research interests were in Quaternary geology, initially in mapping (i.e. establishment of the Devensian type section in Britain) and relict permafrost structures in Britain and Canada.
More specifically he later became involved with the study of Quaternary Entomology (fossil beetles) as well as the study of paleo- and modern ecologies and recent climate change. This necessitated travelling in northern Canada and Alaska over four decades resulting in a comprehensive collection of over 60,000 specimens of Arctic, sub-Arctic and Boreal Coleoptera that was initially housed at the Department, and later transferred to the nearby University of Guelph.
In 1988 he attended The Changing Atmosphere Conference in Toronto, and this resulted in a secondment to the Geological Survey of Canada where he served as Global Change coordinator from 1990 to 1992. In November 1990 he was part of the IPCC and World Meteorological Organisation experts meeting at Niagara on the Lake, on establishing long-term baseline studies regarding world climate change that now results in the 5 year IPCC reports on changing world climate.
Over Professor Morgan's university career he has been recognized by a number of teaching awards, initially from Waterloo, and then from the United States and Canada. He taught courses in introductory geology, paleontology, Quaternary geology, Canadian non-renewable resources and others in the faculties of Science, and Environmental Studies, with occasional invited courses and lectures in Arts and Engineering at Waterloo, and at St. Jeromes University, Wilfrid Laurier University, and the University of Ottawa.
He has communicated with students of all ages, from kindergarten to senior citizens. This has involved lectures to high schools, to community, service and seniors groups and to junior and grade schools, as well as participation in many scientific and educational conferences. He still continues to lecture on geological, natural history, climate change and travel topics as well as professional presentations on cruise and expedition ships in the Pacific, Atlantic, Arctic and Antarctic oceans.
During his teaching career (1971 to 2011) he was actively involved in many external programmes, for example, the CGC’s (Canadian Geoscience Council’s) EdGEO initiatives, and, more occasionally, professional field excursions, both within North America and overseas.
Alan was a leader in trying to reach broader audiences through offerings in the university’s Distance Education commencing in 1972. These were offerings in introductory geology, paleontology and Quaternary geology, that developed into CD-Rom and web-based courses. He was at the forefront of the development of teaching CD-ROM's (Careers in Geoscience) in 1990; in participation in television (Ballard's Jason VIII Project), film and video. One of the more successful was the Heimaey Eruption, a 1973 documentary filmed for CBC’s “Nature of Things”. In print he edited and wrote many articles for “What on Earth”, as well as publications for the Canadian Geoscience Council.
Professor Morgan has published well over 150 refereed papers, book chapters and other articles starting at the age of 17 with a report on the local geology of is hometown in South Wales. Some selected references are cited below.
- Morgan, A. V., 1960. The geology of Barry Island, Glamorgan, S. Wales. Rocks and Minerals N. Y. (June-July) 223-225.
- Morgan, A. V., 1969. Intraformational periglacial structures in the Nose Hill Gravel and Sand, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Journal of Geology. 77, 358-364.
- Morgan, A. V., 1972. Late Wisconsinan ice-wedge polygons near Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 9 (6), 607-617.
- Morgan, A. V., 1973. The Pleistocene geology of the area north and west of Wolverhampton. Philosophical Transactions Royal Society of London Ser. B, 265 (868), 233-297.
- Morgan, A. V. and Morgan, A., 1979. The Fossil Coleoptera of the Two Creeks Forest Bed, Wisconsin. Quaternary Research 12 (2), 226-240.
- Morgan, A.V., Morgan, A., and Miller, R.F., 1983. Range extension and fossil occurrences of Holoboreaphilus nordenskioeldi (Mäklin) (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) in North America. Canadian Journal of Zoology 62 463-467.
- Morgan, A., A.V. Morgan and S.A. Elias, 1985. Holocene insects and paleoecology of the Au Sable River, Michigan. Ecology 66, 1817-1828.
- Fritz, P., A.V. Morgan, U. Eicher, and J.H. McAndrews, 1987. Stable isotope, fossil Coleoptera and pollen stratigraphy in late Quaternary sediments from southern Ontario and New York State. Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology 58, 183-202.
- Pilny, J. and A.V. Morgan, 1987. Paleoentomology and paleoecology of a possible Sangamon age site near Innerkip, Ontario. Quaternary Research. 28, (1): 157-174.
- Morgan, A.V., and Morgan, A., 1987. Paleoentomology - toward the next decade. Episodes 10 (Quaternary Sciences in Review); (1), 38-40.
- Morgan, A.V. 1987. Late Wisconsin and early Holocene paleo-environments of east-central North America based on assemblages of fossil Coleoptera. p.353-370 In: The Geology of North America Volume K-3, North America and adjacent oceans during the last deglaciation. (Eds. W.F. Ruddiman and H.E. Wright Jr.). Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO.
- Morgan, A.V., J.T. Andrews and M. Kuc. 1993. Paleoecology and age of the Flitaway and Isortoq interglacial deposits, north-central Baffin Island, N.W.T., Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences ; 30 (5); 1007-1013.
- Bajc, A.F., Morgan, A.V., and Warner, B.G., 1997. Age and paleoecological significance of an early postglacial fossil assemblage, near Marathon, Ontario, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 34: (5), 687-698.
- Morgan, A.V. 1997. Fossil Coleoptera assemblages in the Great Lakes region of North America: Past changes and future prospects. pp. 129-142. In: Past and Future Rapid Environmental Changes: The Spatial and Evolutionary Responses of Terrestrial Biota. (Eds, Huntley, B., Cramer, W., Morgan, A.V., Prentice, H.C. and Allen J.R.M). NATO ASI Series, Volume I; 47: Springer-Verlag, Berlin. 523 pp.
- Morgan, A.V. 2000., The Heimaey Eruption, Iceland: - A 25 Year Retrospective. Geoscience Canada 27 (1): 11-18.
- Motz, J. E. and Morgan, A.V., 2001. Holocene paleoclimate and paleoecology determined from fossil Coleoptera at Brampton, Ontario. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 38: pp 1-13.
- Karrow, P.F., McAndrews, J.H., Miller, B.B., Morgan, A.V., Seymour, K.L., and White, O.L.. 2001. Illinoian to Late Wisconsinan stratigraphy at , Ontario. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 38: pp. 921-942.
- Clague, J.J., Bates, J., Haidl, F., Morgan, A.V., Turner, R.J.W., and Vodden, C., 2001. Geoliteracy Canada, A National Initiative in Earth Science Education. Geoscience Canada 28, 3: pp 143-149.
- Morgan, A.V. and Karrow, P.F., 2004. Bedrock Geology (and) Glaciation and Recent events in the Grand River Watershed of the Grand River Watershed (Chapter 2, pp. 11-34) In: Towards a Grand Sense of Place. (ed. J.G. Nelson), Environment Publication. Heritage Resource Centre, University of Waterloo.
Awards and Distinctions
- 2010 3M Teaching Fellowship (Canadian National Award)
- 2008 McNeil Medal, Royal Society of Canada
- 1998 E.R.W. Neale Medal (Geological Association of Canada)
- 1997 J. Willis Ambrose Medal (Geological Association of Canada)
- 1997 Distinguished Fellow of the Geological Association of Canada
- 1997 Honorary Life Member of the Geological Association of Canada
- 1995 John H. Moss Award (Nat. Assoc. Geol. Teachers - USA) for Excellence in Geology Teaching
- 1994 Bancroft Medal, Royal Society of Canada
- 1991 Distinguished Teaching Award, University of Waterloo
- 1987 Ottawa Congress Centre Award
- 1968 Caroline Harold Award, University of Birmingham
- 1968-1970 Charles Lapworth Scholar, University of Birmingham
- 1967 CSPG Best M.Sc. Graduate Thesis Award (Calgary)
- 1961–1964 Glamorgan County Scholarship Award.
- 1960 British Schools Exploring Society Award, Central Iceland Expedition
Former Professional Associations and Service
- Member, Quaternary Research Association (United Kingdom)
- Member, American Quaternary Association (President 1990 - 1992)
- Member, Canadian Quaternary Association (President 1987 - 1989)
- Geological Association of Canada (Distinguished Fellow and Honorary Life Member)
- Geological Society of America (Fellow).
- Alan Morgan was active in the Geological Association of Canada from 1975 to 2008 serving as Secretary Treasurer (1975-1983), General Chair of the 1994 GAC/MAC at Waterloo, Chair of GAC’s 5oth Anniversary Committee (1994 to 1997), and Associate Editor of Geoscience Canada (1998-2008).
- He served as Executive and Administrative Director of the Canadian Geoscience Council from 1988 to 1994 and from 1996 to 2000, also serving as editor of the Geosciences in Canada from 1988 to 1998 and for Careers in Geoscience from 1989 to 1991.
- Alan served the North American Quaternary associations as a Canadian voting delegate to the 1984 INQUA Congress in Moscow and as Secretary General of the 1988 INQUA congress in Ottawa. He also served as President of the Canadian Quaternary Association (1987 – 1989).
- He played an instrumental role in geoscience education in Canada through the Canadian Geoscience Education Network from 1999 – 2009, and as Chair from 2003 -2005. On the international scene he represented Canada through the International Geoscience Education Organisation from 1997 – 2010 (serving as Secretary Treasurer from 2003 – 2006) and was responsible for bringing the International Meeting to Calgary in 2003.
- Alan retired from the University in 2009, although he taught several course in Distance Education until 2011. He lives in Waterloo with his wife, Anne and they both enjoy gardening, travel and photography, and both give occasional lectures worldwide.
1970 Ph.D. University of Birmingham, England.
1966 M.Sc. University of Alberta atCalgary, Alberta.
1964 B.Sc. (Double Hons.) Leicester University, England.