Dr. Jonathan Reeves

Principal Research Officer (Health & Wellbeing)

About me

Before WWT I worked as a molecular biologist studying the genomics of wild plant-virus ecology for The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) in Oxford. This work culminated with a PhD in Environmental Genomics from the University of Birmingham. After seven years in research I switched to applied conservation. I joined WWT as a volunteer in 2011, initially working for three months with the Slimbridge reserve team before finding a position working in ecosystem health at WWT. My focus now is on the relationship between wetlands and human health and wellbeing, and how measured effects might be communicated for conservation gain.

My role

Most recently I have been leading WWT’s Blue Prescribing Project, a project that delivers structured wetland-based health programmes at our centres. They aim to bring people who are experiencing or at risk of poor mental health to wetlands to experience wetland nature and peer support. Previously, as part of a NERC Valuing Nature placement, I worked with Imperial College London to develop methods for measuring the psychological and physiological effects of visiting urban wetlands (see below for publication). In 2019 I was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to travel to Japan and South Korea to explore the practice of Shinrin Yoku (‘forest bathing’). In addition to health and wellbeing I have also worked on broader wildlife health projects such as the development of the Ramsar Wetland Disease Manual and WWT’s campaign to prevent wildlife poisoning from lead ammunition.

Experience and interests

  • Project management – Development, delivery, monitoring and evaluation of projects that bring people to wetlands to promote health.
  • Communication – Written and verbal communication to a variety of audiences including: written and broadcast media, academics, policy makers, funders, research participants, nature-based health intervention participants and the general public.
  • Teaching and supervision – Co-supervision of two PhD students: Hannah Forbes, who is studying at the University of Exeter’s European Centre for the Environment and Human Health (ECEHH), and Richard Belcher at Imperial College London. I also guest lecture for various masters programmes on the relationship between nature and health.
  • Research– Qualitative and quantitative research to measure health impacts of natural environments e.g. qualitatively through questionnaires, focus groups and interviews; quantitatively through technological measurement of biological health markers.
  • Other– I’m skilled in a variety of molecular biology techniques and laboratory diagnostic procedures that support WWT’s wild and captive animal health programmes


Reeves, J.P.; John, C.H.D.; Wood, K.A.; Maund, P.R. A Qualitative Analysis of UK Wetland Visitor Centres as a Health Resource. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, doi:10.3390/ijerph18168629.

Maund, P.R.; Irvine, K.N.; Reeves, J.; Strong, E.; Cromie, R.; Dallimer, M.; Davies, Z.G. Wetlands for wellbeing: piloting a nature-based health intervention for the management of anxiety and depression. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4413.

Reeves, J.P.; Knight, A.T.; Strong, E.A.; Heng, V.; Neale, C.; Cromie, R.; Vercammen, A. The application of wearable technology to quantify health and wellbeing co-benefits from urban wetlands. Frontiers in Psychology. 2019, 10, 1840.

Newth, J.L., A. Lawrence, R.L. Cromie, J.A. Swift, E.C. Rees, K.A. Wood, E.A. Strong, J. Reeves, et al.. Perspectives of ammunition users on the use of lead ammunition and its potential impacts on wildlife and humans. People and Nature 2019

Cromie, R.L., R. Lee, R.J. Delahay, J. L. Newth, M.F. O’Brien, H.A. Fairlamb, J.P. Reeves & D.A. Stroud. (2012). Ramsar Wetland Disease Manual: guidelines for assessment, monitoring and management of animal disease in wetlands. Ramsar Technical Report No. 7. Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Gland, Switzerland. pp353.

Return to meet the team