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 2012, initially working for three months with the Slimbridge reserve team before finding a position working in ecosystem health at WWT. My current focus is on the relationship between wetlands and human health and wellbeing, and how measured effects might be communicated for conservation gain.


Most recently I have been leading work to deliver structured wetland-based health programmes at our centres (‘Blue Prescriptions’). These are programme that are similar to social prescriptions. 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.


  • 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 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.; 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.

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.

Muir, A., Ellis, M., Blake, DP., Chantrey, J., Strong, EA., Reeves, JP., Cromie, RL. (2019) Sarcocystis rileyi in UK free-living wildfowl (Anatidae): surveillance, histopathology and first molecular characterisation Veterinary Record 2019. doi: 10.1136/vr.105638

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.

Jonathan Reeves' ResearchGate