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David Murray

Senior Research Associate & Facility Manager:
Geological Sciences
Phone: +1 401 863 3531

I am a senior research associate, facilities manager, and the director of the Environmental Chemistry Laboratory for Environmental Studies and Geological Sciences at Brown University. My research spans topics of global-scale studies of past climates recorded in ocean sediments, local-scale studies of water quality in Narragansett Bay, and studies of chemicals linked to environmental contamination.


I received a BS in Geology with Honors in 1978 from the University of Rhode Island, and a MS in 1983 and a PhD in 1987 in Geological Oceanography from Oregon State University. I came to Brown as a post-doc in 1986 with research interests in Cenozoic climate change with a focus on the evolution of the Indian Ocean monsoon system. After 12 years of grant-funded research projects, I became the manager for the technical and curricular programs in Environmental Science housed in MacMillan Hall. I still maintain an active research program serving as the Director of the Analytical Core for Brown's Superfund Research program and am a co-investigator with Warren Prell coordinating a field program for a study of hypoxia (low oxygen conditions) in Narragansett Bay.


My research focuses on both global-scale paleoceanography and local-scale estuarine oceanography. My paleoceanographic research seeks to understand the evolution of the Cenozoic climate-ocean system using chemical proxies to document these changes on interannual to orbital time scales. My estuarine oceanography research is focused nutrient loading to Narragansett Bay and links to summertime low oxygen conditions in the upper Bay. I also study the chemical inputs to the Bay and changes over time preserved in the Bay sediments. In my role as director of the Chemistry portion of the Analytical Core for Brown's Superfund Research Program, I am interested in innovative techniques to measure chemical contaminants in organisms and the environment.




2010 Environmental Achievement Award from Save The Bay


American Geophysical Union
Estuarine Research Federation


Using analytical chemistry to study environmental problems
General oceanography and estuarine oceanography

Funded Research

Active Grants:

NOAA/URI: Modeling Tools to Predict Hypoxia/Anoxia in Upper Narragansett Bay, collaborative project with the Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, University of Connecticut, Avery Point, and Brown University. This project is to study the interactions between nutrient loads, physical processes, and biological processes that are attributed to the development of summertime hypoxia in Upper Narragansett Bay and to develop predictive models of these conditions. My effort is to coordinate the spatial surveys and supervise data synthesis. For more details, go to INSOMNIACS.

NIH: Reuse in Rhode Island: A State-Based Approach to Complex Exposures, PI's: K. Boekelheide, A. Zhitkovich, E. Suuburg, A. Kane, M. Hixon, J. Calo, D. Murray, S. Sharma, R. Hurt, and P. Brown. Brown's Superfund Basic Research Program grant to study exposures and remediation of complex mixtures of toxic chemicals, Director of the Analytical Core (Core C). For more information, go to SUPERFUND.

Prior Grants:
EPA/URI: Advancing Nutrient TMDL Efforts for Upper Narragansett Bay Through Retrospective Analysis of Available Dissolved Oxygen Data and Application to ROMS Model. PI's August, Deacutis, Kiernan, Kincaid (URI), Murray, Prell (Brown). This project synthesized data collected during spatial surveys of dissolved oxygen, temperature, and salinity in Narragansett Bay since 1999, continue time series monitoring, and model circulation in upper Narragansett Bay to address water quality issues.

EP: Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Postdoctoral Program in Environmental Chemistry, co-Project director with M. Altabet. (UMass-Dartmouth) and R. Francois (WHOI). Funding for Post-Doc Matthew Higginson.

NSF: High resolution reconstruction of Arabian Sea denitrification and its forcing by productivity and hydrography, subcontract from Umass-Dartmouth, M. Altabet, co-PI. This project used microfossil and chemical proxies in marine sediments in the Arabian Sea to separate influences of productivity and hydrography on Arabian Sea denitrification and its linkage to global climate records over the past 60,000 years.

USSAC: Post cruise support for analysis of Leg 154 samples, Stable Isotopic and Geochemical Variations in Neogene Sediments from the Ceara Rise, co-operative project with L. Peterson (RSMAS).

NSF/OCE: Variability of the Monsoon and Biogenic Particle Flux in the Arabian Sea: Faunal and Isotopic Tracers, co-operative project with W. Prell (Brown) and W. Curry (WHOI).

NSF/OCE: Late Neogene Evolution of Monsoon Circulation in the Indian Ocean and its Relationship to Global Climatic and Oceanographic Change, co-operative project with L. Peterson (RSMAS).

NOAA: Interannual to Millennial-Scale Oceanographic Changes Recorded in Laminated Sediments from the Gulf of California.

USSAC: Post cruise support for analysis of Leg 138 samples, Detailed Paleoceanographic Records of the Past 2.5 myr from the Equatorial Pacific Site, co-operative project with J. Farrell (Brown).

NSF/OCE: Plio-Pleistocene Oceanography and Climatology of the Northeastern Indian Ocean: Implications for Monsoon Variability.

NSF/OCE,ATM: High-resolution Paleoenvironmental Study of the Cariaco Basin, Venezuela: Late Quaternary to the Present, co-operative project with J. Overpeck (L-DGO) and L. Peterson (RSMAS).

USSAC: Post cruise support for analysis of Leg 117 samples, Neogene Variations in the Accumulation of Calcium Carbonate, Opal, and Organic Carbon on the Owen Ridge, Northern Arabian Sea.

Web Links

Curriculum Vitae

Download David Murray's Curriculum Vitae in PDF Format