Dr Nicholas Murray is an Australia-based scientist with 15+ years experience working in a variety of academic, agency and private sector positions. After positions at the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science (UQ), the Remote Sensing Research Centre (UQ) and the Centre for Ecosystem Science (UNSW), he commenced as a Senior Research Fellow at James Cook University in late 2019. He is currently an Australian Research Council DECRA fellow based in the College of Science and Engineering at James Cook University. 

Nick's research focuses on delivering the science necessary to inform large scale environmental management and conservation. He works the interface of ecology, geospatial science and geography, and has ongoing research projects focused around quantifying change in ecosystems and wildlife populations. He has published extensively in the scientific literature on ecosystem dynamics, earth observation, bird ecology and conservation. 

Nick has a particular interest in developing free, open-source analyses, apps and datasets from sensors to support environmental conservation. His work has been recognised with awards including the Eureka Prize (as part of a global conservation team), the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management and the Australian Academy of Science ASPIRE Prize for innovation. He is an active member of IUCN's Red List of Ecosystem's thematic group and serves as an Associate Editor for Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation.

For more on my current research and other information, please visit my personal website: https://www.murrayensis.org


  • Dynamics and conservation of coastal ecosystems
  • Assessing risks to ecosystems at local to global scales
  • Advancing the analysis of earth observation data at the global scale
  • Ecology and conservation of migratory species
  • Geospatial software development to support conservation
  • Developing spatial and time-series datasets to support good conservation decision making
  • 2019 to present - ARC DECRA Fellow, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2016 to 2019 - Senior Research Fellow, University of New South Wales (Sydney)
  • 2016 to 2017 - Senior Research Fellow, University of Queensland (Brisbane)
  • 2014 to 2016 - Research Fellow, University of New South Wales (Sydney)
  • 2014 - Visiting Fellow, University of Cambridge (Cambridge, UK)
  • 2013 to 2014 - Visiting Fellow, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institue (Washington DC, USA)
Research Disciplines
  • 2019 - Shortlisted (top six) Robert May Prize, best paper by an early career researcher in 2018 in Methods in Ecology and Evolution (https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.13043)
  • 2019 - Australia’s nominee for the APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE Prize)
  • 2016 - IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management Young Professional Award
  • 2015 - Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Environmental Research. The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Team, UNSW, led by Professor David Keith.
  • 2015 - Future Leader: World Forum on Ecosystem Governance, Beijing China
  • 2014 - Finalist at the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes (Eureka Prize for Environmental Research). The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Team, UNSW, led by Professor David Keith
  • 2019 to 2022 - Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA), Assessing risks to coastal ecosystems with new earth observation models, $417,000
  • 2012 to 2013 - Queensland - Smithsonian Fellowship
  • 2019 to 2024 - Chief Investigator, ARC Linkage, A global standard for the status of Wetlands of International Importance, $779,000
  • 2019 to 2023 - Chief Investigator, ARC Linkage, Ecosystem risk assessment, $416,000
  • 2019 to 2022 - Chief Investigator, Australian Antarctic Science grant, Risks to Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems, $165,000

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 35+ research outputs authored by Dr Nicholas Murray from 2013 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research - Fisheries Program - Small Research Activity

Spatially integrated Portfolio Approach to support livelihoods

Indicative Funding
$248,458 over 2 years
The Integrated Livelihoods Approach (ILA) provides an approach to diagnose and help navigate interrelated and cumulative impacts, trade-offs and co-benefits of interacting livelihood activities occurring in spatially defined coastal areas. Participatory and interdisciplinary research, integrated governance, negotiation, trust-building, ongoing conflict management, and cross-sectoral and political engagement are central to the ILA. This project will establish the mechanisms for achieving the strengthened networks, integrated governance and policy, and improved planning required to implement an ILA in Western Province, Solomon Islands, with the potential to scale-up to other locations.
Amy Diedrich, Jacqueline Lau, Tiffany Morrison, Nicholas Murray, Stephanie Duce, Claire Holland and Faye Siota (College of Science & Engineering, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, College of Business, Law & Governance and WorldFish Solomon Islands)
Sustainable livelihoods; Solomon Islands; Pacific Islands; Participatory research approach; Natural Resource Management

Australian Research Council - Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

Assessing risks to coastal ecosystems with new earth observation models

Indicative Funding
$419,718 over 3 years
This project aims to quantify and diagnose the causes of declines in the world's coastal wetland ecosystems. Unprecedented rates of loss have been reported in many coastal ecosystems, but there is a lack of knowledge regarding their distribution, status and trajectory at the global scale. The projuect will integrate earth observation, machine-learning and ecosystem risk assessment methods to deliver new high-resolution time-series data, quantitative knowledge on the influence of social, economic and environmental factors on ecosystem loss, and predictions of different future states of coastal ecosystems. Key benefits include an improved ability to monitor and manage coastal ecosystems in Australia and globally.
Nicholas Murray (College of Science & Engineering)
Remote Sensing; saltmarsh; coastal ecosystems; Mangroves; ecosystem risk assessment; Ridal mudflats

International Union for the Conservation of Nature - Contract Research

IUCN Maldives Ecosystems.

Indicative Funding
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Maldives requires an expert to assist in the development of an ecosystem classification scheme for the terrestrial and marine ecosystems of Maldives. This project will conduct the necessary research and leadership to develop a list of terrestrial and marine ecosystems for Maldives, building on considerable recent work to develop an international Global Ecosystem Typology. The outcomes will support conservation planning, natural resource management and environmental legislation development in the Maldives, and contribute new knowledge about the diversity and distribution of Maldive?s ecosystems.
Nicholas Murray (College of Science & Engineering)
Ecosystem science; Earth Observation; Conservation; Coastal ecosystems; Classification; Environmental modelling

Northwest Pacific Action Plan - Contract Research

Mapping of tidal flats and salt marshes in the NOWPAP region.

Indicative Funding
$11,345 over 1 year (administered by Northwest Pacific Action Plan)
The main objective of this activity is to map the distribution of tidal flats/salt marshes in the NOWPAP region with their historical change in the past decades. To map tidal flats/salt marshes in the NOWPAP region, mapping tool developed by Murray et al. (2019), namely Global Intertidal Change (hereinafter referred to as ?GIC?) is used. GIC is the only available tool for regional mapping of tidal flats. However, GIC is developed for the global mapping and there are some limitation for the detection of tidal flats when used at regional scale. Therefore, this project will develop a bespoke regional model of the distribution of tidal flats/salt marshes in the NOWPAP region.
Nicholas Murray (College of Science & Engineering)
Remote sensing; Earth Observation; Conservation; Coastal ecosystems; Space science; Environmental modelling

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Saving a cryptic tropical species: combining spatial and reproductive sciences to determine the future of the endangered pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • A Novel Integrated Analytical Framework for Sustainable Livelihoods Development: Addressing Multidimensional Vulnerability to Develop, Assess and Adapt Livelihood Strategies Considering Global Change (PhD , External Advisor)
  • Identifying key indicators to quantify ecological recovery and adaptation of coral reefs across space and time (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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