Dr Richard Murphy

Richard Murphy

My current role is in the Australian Centre for Field Robotics , working on remote sensing of minerals. I am collaborating with Ross Coleman on the ecology of epilithic biofilms and also supervise students in the EICC.


Qualifications and Employment History

Research Interest

Future Projects

Research Output

Qualifications and Employment History

Educational Attainments

1985-1988 (B.Sc. Hons) Anthropology and Geography University College London;
1989-1993 Ph.D. Geology/Geography, Postgraduate Research Institute for Sedimentology / Department of Geography, Reading University;

Employment History

  • 1993-1995, Higher Scientific Officer, Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
  • 1995-2000, Scientist, National Institute for Water and Atmosphere, New Zealand.
  • 2002, Research Fellow, Centre for Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities, University of Sydney.

Research Interest

Remote sensing from satellites and aircraft is the only way in which data can be gathered over large and inaccessible areas in a snapshot of time at local, regional and global scales. My earlier Ph.D. research on the use of imaging spectrometry to identify and map hydrothermal alteration associated with mineralisation in central and southern Spain and in Utah, USA. Using data gathered from aircraft (AVIRIS and GERIS instruments) I evaluated the effects of living and dead vegetation on our ability to map the geological substrata and developed methods to compensate for these effects. Other aspects of this work involved geobotanical mapping of various minerals in Wales by detecting spectral changes in the overlying pastureland and the development of a new technique to map silicification.

I was leader of the Ocean Colour Programme at the National Institute of Water and Atmosphere (NIWA) in New Zealand. The aim of this program was to develop new mathematical tools to map the distribution of chlorophyll in the New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone using data gathered from the SeaWiFS ocean colour sensor on the OrbView-2 satellite. These data enabled us, for the first time, to quantify changes in the distribution and abundance of phytoplankton over time and space in coastal and oceanic waters. I also worked with satellite-derived (AVHRR) sea-surface temperature data to derive statistical models relating information about catches of fish to thermal fronts.

Future Projects

My future work involves the use of remote sensing to quantify and map biological and geological components of intertidal habitats. Estuarine and coastal areas have great commercial and ecological significance. These complex, productive and highly dynamic environments perform multiple ecological functions including providing habitats for fish, birds, reptiles and other important fauna and act as reservoirs for sediment. Remote sensing of these areas will provide information to help determine how the structure of these habitats relates to their function at varying temporal and spatial scales. In addition, this will add to our understanding of how human disturbances affect the coastal zone.

Research Output

Ivesa, L., M. G. Chapman, A. J. Underwood and R. M. Murphy (In Press). "Differential patterns of distribution of limpets on intertidal seawalls: Experimental investigations of the roles of recruitment, survival and competition." Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Jackson, A. C., R. J. Murphy and A. J. Underwood (2009). "Patiriella exigua: grazing by a starfish in an overgrazed intertidal system." Marine Ecology Progress Series 376: 153-163.

Murphy, R.J., T. Tolhurst, M.G. Chapman & A.J. Underwood (2004). Estimation of surface chlorophyll on an exposed mudflat using digital colour-infrared (CIR) photography. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 59: 625-638.

Murphy, R.J., T.J. Tolhurst, M.G. Chapman & A.J. Underwood (2005). Estimation of surface chlorophyll-a on an emersed mudflat using field spectrometry: accuracy of ratios and derivative-based approaches. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 26: 1835-1859.

Murphy, R.J., T.J. Tolhurst, M.G. Chapman & A.J. Underwood (2005). Remote-sensing of benthic chlorophyll: should ground-truth data be expressed in units of area or mass? Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 316: 69-77.

Murphy, R. J. & A. J. Underwood (2006). Novel use of digital colour-infrared imagery to test hypotheses about grazing by intertidal herbivorous gastropods. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 330: 437-447.

Murphy, R. J., A. J. Underwood & M. H. Pinkerton (2006). Quantitative imaging to measure photosynthetic biomass on an intertidal rock-platform. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 321: 45-55.

Murphy, R.J., A.J. Underwood, M.H. Pinkerton & P. Range (2005). Field spectrometry: new methods to investigate epilithic micro-algae on rocky shores. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 325: 111-124.

Murphy, R. J, T.J. Tolhurst, M.G. Chapman and A.J. Underwood (In press) Spatial variation of chlorophyll on estuarine mudflats determined by field-based remote sensing. Marine Ecology Progress Series

Murphy, R. J., A. J. Underwood, T. J. Tolhurst & M. G. Chapman (In press). Field-based remote sensing for experimental intertidal ecology: case studies using hyperspatial and hyperspectral data for New South Wales Australia. Remote Sensing of Environment Special Issue

Pinkerton, M.H., K.M. Richardson, P.W. Boyd, M.P. Gall, J. Zeldis, M.D. Oliver & R.J. Murphy (2005). Intercomparison of colour band-ratio algorithms for chlorophyll concentration in the Subtropical Front east of New Zealand. Remote Sensing of Environment, 97: 382-402.

Richardson, K., M. Pinkerton, P. Boyd, M. Gall, J. Zeldis, M. Oliver & R. Murphy (2004). Validation of SeaWiFS data from around New Zealand. Journal of Space Research, 33: 1160-1167.

Underwood, A. J. & R. J. Murphy (2008). Unexpected patterns in facilitatory grazing of intertidal microalgae revealed by novel quantitative imaging. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 358: 85-94