Picture of  Christy Morrissey

Christy Morrissey PhD Professor, School of Environment and Sustainability and the College of Arts and Science, and Associate, Toxicology

Associate Professor, Biology, College of Arts and Science
Member, Toxicology Centre

CSRB 120.6

Research Area(s)

  • Avian ecology and wildlife ecotoxicology
  • Effects of pollution stressors (pesticides, endocrine disruptors, industrial and urban pollutants) on insects, birds and aquatic ecosystems
  • Understanding the effects of chemicals on whole life cycles of birds
  • Freshwater ecology and pollution


Christy Morrissey is not currently accepting graduate students. 

Academic Credentials

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University
  • Bachelor of Science, Zoology, University of British Columbia

Research Profile

My research interests are focussed on avian wildlife and freshwater ecotoxicology.  I have broad interests in understanding how environmental contaminants affect communities and ecosytems, including both "bugs and birds".  I study a broad range of chemicals of interest such as pesticides, industrial pollutants and mercury.  My research tries to explain how environmental contaminant exposure during key life stages affects a bird's fitness.  I use a variety of field, lab and captive studies to link exposure and effects from the cellular level to the whole organism.

News and Media

Selected Publications

Stanton, R., Morrissey, C.A., and Clark, R.G.  2016.  Tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) foraging responses to agricultural land use and insect prey abundance.  Canadian Journal of Zoology, 94(9): 637-642.  https://doi.org/10.1139/cjz-2015-0238

Cavallaro, M.C., Morrissey, C.A., Headley, J.V., Peru, K., and Liber, K.  2016.  Comparative chronic toxicity of imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam to Chironomus dilutus and estimation of toxic equivalency factors. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 36(2): 372-382. https://doi.org/10.1002/etc.3536

Main, A.R., Michel, N.L., Cavallaro, M.C., Headley, J.V., Peru, K.M. and Morrissey, C.A.  2016.  Snowmelt transport of neonicotinoid insecticides to Canadian Prairie wetlands. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 215: 76–84.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2015.09.011

Michel, N.L., Smith, A., Clark, R.G., Hobson, K.A., and Morrissey, C.A.  2016.  Differences in spatial synchrony and interspecific concordance inform guild-level population trends for aerial insectivorous birds. Ecography, 39(8): 774-786.  https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.01798

Main, A.R., Michel, N.L., Headley, J.V., Peru, K.M. and Morrissey, C.A.  2015.  Ecological and Landscape Drivers of Neonicotinoid Insecticide Detections and Concentrations in Canada’s Prairie Wetlands.  Environmental Science and Technology, 49(14): 8367–8376.  https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.5b01287

Morrissey, C.A., Devries, J., Mineau, P., Sanchez-Bayo, F., Liess, M., Cavallaro, M., and Liber, K.  2015.  Neonicotinoid contamination of surface waters and relative risks to aquatic invertebrates: a review. Environment International, 74: 291-303.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2014.10.024

Zahara, A.R.D., Michel, N.L., Flahr, L.M., Ejack, L.E., and Morrissey, C.A.  2015.  Latent cognitive effects from low-level PCB exposure in juvenile European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 34(11): 2513-2522.  https://doi.org/10.1002/etc.3084

Green, D.J., Whitehorne, I.B.J., Middleton, H.A., and Morrissey, C.A.  2015.  Do American dippers obtain a survival benefit from altitudinal migration?  PLoS ONE, 10(4): e0125734. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0125734

Flahr, L.M., Michel, N.L., Zahara A.R.D., Jones, P.D., and Morrissey, C.A.  2015.  Developmental exposure to Aroclor 1254 alters migratory behaviour in juvenile European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).  Environmental Science and Technology, 49(10): 6274-6283. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.5b01185

Delso, N. and 29 others alphabetically (incl. Morrissey, C.A.).  2014.  Systemic insecticides (neonicotinoids and fipronil): trends, uses, mode of action and metabolites. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 22(1): 5-34.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-014-3470-y

Courses Taught

  • BIOL 121 - Diversity of Life
  • BIOL 410 - Current Issues in Environmental Biology
  • BIOL 475 - Ecological Toxicology
  • BIOL 875 - Ecotoxicology: Theory and Practice
  • ENVS 806 - Field skills in Environment and Sustainability