Morgan developed an early interest in the ocean growing up in Penryn, California, a few hours from the rocky intertidal pools of the Monterey coast. After years of collecting critters from tide pools and from waterways at home in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, Morgan was inspired to continue his biological pursuits at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA, where he earned a B.A. in Biology with a concentration in Marine Biology. After working for two years on research projects in the Occidental Marine Biology Lab and in the Moore Lab of Zoology, he was awarded an Occidental College Richter Fellowship to study larval recruitment in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, before graduating Cum Laude and with departmental distinction for his thesis on invasive species transfer through the New Suez Canal.
Morgan also worked on ocean acidification research with the Marine Biological Lab and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, MA, through a National Science Foundation REU Fellowship, and returned for a second year to work with the Sensory Ecology and Bioacoustics Lab at Woods Hole Oceanographic on reef sound production and larval recruitment in the Virgin Islands.
After graduating, Morgan spent a few months collecting fisheries data on commercial fishing boats as a NOAA North Pacific Groundfish Observer in Alaska, before he decided it was too cold and moved to Saudi Arabia to work in the Red Sea Research Center. He is broadly interested in coral reef ecology, connectivity and adaptation, and is an avid photographer both above and below the water’s surface. Keep up with his research and photography on Instagram, @morganbennettsmith