Conducting multi-disciplinary research in the fields of geospatial science, ecology & conservation

Centre for Ecosystem Science  |  University of New South Wales

School of Biological Sciences  |  University of Queensland



Nick MurrayI am an Australia-based scientist with 15+ years experience working in a variety of academic, agency and private sector positions. At the moment I am a Research Associate at the Centre for Ecosystem Science, UNSW Australia, in Sydney.

In my research I focus on delivering the science necessary to inform large scale conservation decisions. I work at the interface of conservation biology, geography and ecology, and have ongoing research projects focused around monitoring change in ecosystems and wildlife populations.

Nicholas Murray CV

Current research

Ecosystem risk assessment

Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation threaten ecosystems worldwide. I work directly with the IUCN as a member of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems global team, which aims to assess the status of all ecosystems on earth. We are currently working with a range of governments, including Madagascar, China, Finland and Australia, to develop national red lists of threatened ecosystems. See more on these projects here and at the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems website.

Geospatial Science

I use remote sensing and large-scale spatial analyses to investigate the changing distributions of ecosystems. I have two major projects at the moment (1) developing methods for mapping coastal ecosystems with satellite data and (2) developing remote sensing software for managers, community groups, scientists and volunteers to implement their own remote sensing classifications on our purpose-built web interface. These two projects are funded by Google and use their enormous computing power and data archives to allow us to work on a global scale.

Conservation biology

I have projects relating to the status of species, ecosystems, synthesis of ecological data and risk assessment. Major recent projects include (1) identifying the drivers of declines of migratory shorebirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, (2) quantifying land cover change using remote sensing, and (3) thinking about how to best develop and use maps of threatening processes.



Google Scholar

Please see my Google Scholar page for PDFs, co-author list, article links and up-to-date citation metrics.

Journal articles

  1. Keith, D.A., Akçakaya, H.A., Murray, N.J. (in press) Towards robust predictions of risks to biodiversity: scaling range sizes to threats. Conservation Biology. doi:10.1111/cobi.12988.
  2. Pettorelli, N., Schulte to Buhne, H., Tulloch, A., Dubois, G., Macinnis-Ng, C., Queirós, A.M., Keith,D.A., Wegmann, M., Schrodt, F., Stellmes,M., Sonnenschein, R., Geller,G., Roy, S., Somers, B., Murray, N.J., Bland, L., Geijzendorffer, I., Kerr, J.T., Broszeit, S., Leitão, P.J., Duncan, C., El Serafy, G., He, K.S., Blanchard, J.L., Lucas, R., Mairota, P., Webb, T.J., Nicholson, E. (in press) Satellite remote sensing of ecosystem functions: opportunities, challenges and way forward. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation.
  3. Studds, C.E., Kendall, B.E., Murray, N.J., Wilson, H.B., Rogers, D.I., Clemens, R.S.*, Gosbell, K.B., Hassell, C.J., Jessop, R., Melville, D., Milton, D.A., Minton, C.D.T., Possingham, H.P., Riegen, A.C., Straw, P. Woehler, E.J., Fuller, R.A. (2017) Reliance on the Yellow Sea predicts population collapse in a migratory flyway. Nature Communications. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14895.
  4. Murray, N. J., Keith, D. A., Bland, L. M., Nicholson, E., Regan, T. J., Rodríguez, J. P. and Bedward, M. (2017), The use of range size to assess risks to biodiversity from stochastic threats. Diversity & Distributions. doi:10.1111/ddi.12533.
  5. Clemens, R.S., Rogers, D.I., Hansen, B.D., Gosbell, K.B., Minton, C.D.T., Straw, P., Bamford, M., Woehler, E.J., Milton, D.A., Weston, M.A., Venables, B., Weller, D., Hassell, C.J., Rutherford, B., Onton, K., Herrod, A., Studds, C.E., Choi, C−Y, Dhanjal-Adams, K.L., Murray, N.J., Skilleter, G.A., Fuller, R.A. (2016) Continental-scale decreases in shorebird populations in Australia. Emu, 116(2): 119-135.
  6. Dhanjal-Adams, K.L., Hanson, J.O., Murray, N.J., Phinn, S.R., Wingate, V.R., Mustin, K., Lee, J.R., Allan, J.R., Cappadonna, J.L., Studds, C.E., Clemens, R.S., Roelfsema, C.M., Fuller, R.A. (2016) Distribution, extent and protection of intertidal habitats in Australia. Emu, 116(2): 208-214.
  7. Murray, N.J., Ma, Z. & Fuller, R.A. (2015) Tidal flats of the Yellow Sea: A review of ecosystem status and anthropogenic threats. Austral Ecology, 40(4):472-481.
  8. Rodriguez, J.P., Keith, D.A., Rodriguez-Clark, K., Murray, N. J., Nicholson, E., Regan, T., Miller, R., Bland, L.M. Barrow, E., Boe, K., Brooks, T., Oliviera-Miranda, M.A., Spalding, M. & Wit, P. (2015) A practical guide to the application of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems criteria. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370:20140003.
  9. Murray, N.J., & Fuller, R.A. (2015) Protecting habitat for migratory shorebirds in East Asia. Journal of Ornithology, 156: S217-S225.
  10. Tulloch, V.J., Possingham, H.P., Visconti, P., Halpern, B., Watson, J., Evans, M., Auerbach, N.A., Barnes, M., Beger, M., Chadès, I., Giakoumi, S., McDonald-Madden, E., Murray, N.J., Ringma, J. & Tulloch, A. (2015) Why do we map threats? Linking threat mapping with actions to make efficient decisions for biodiversity conservation. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 13(2): 267-272.
    ** Highly cited paper: Top 1% of Environment/Ecology in ISI Web of Science
  11. Murray, N.J., Clemens, R., Phinn, S.R., Possingham, H.P. & Fuller, R.A. (2015) Threats to the Yellow Sea’s Tidal Wetlands. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, 96:346–348.
  12. Keith, D.A., Rodriguez, J.P., Brooks, T.M., Burgman, M.A., Barrow, E.G., Boe, K., Comer, P.J., Franklin, J., Link, J., McCarthy, M.A., Miller, R.M., Murray, N.J., Nel, J.L., Nicholson, E., Oliviera-Miranda, M.A., Regan, T.A., Rodriguez-Clark, K.M., Rouget, M, & Spalding, M (2015) The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems: motivations, challenges and applications. Conservation Letters, 8:214-226.
  13. Murray, N.J., Clemens, R., Phinn, S.R., Possingham, H.P. & Fuller, R.A. (2014) Tracking the rapid loss of tidal wetlands in the Yellow Sea. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 12:267-272.
    ** Included in most cited list for FREE over the past 5 years
  14. Iwamura, T., Possingham, H. P., Chades, I., Minton, C., Murray, N. J., Rogers, D., Treml, E. & Fuller, R. A. (2013) Migratory connectivity magnifies the consequences of habitat loss from sea-level rise for shorebird populations. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 280: 20130325.
  15. Murray, N.J., Phinn, S. R., Clemens, R. S., Roelfsema, C. M. & Fuller, R. A. (2012) Continental scale mapping of tidal flats across East Asia using the Landsat Archive. Remote Sensing, 4, 3417-3426.
  16. Murray, N.J. & Fuller, R.A. (2012) Coordinated effort to maintain migration network. Oryx, 46, 479-448.
  17. Murray, N.J. & Shaw, P.P. (2010) Foraging behaviour and success of the Australian White Ibis Threskiornis molucca at an urban environment. Notornis, 56 (4): 201–205.
  18. Murray, N.J. & Trebilco, R.T. (2008) An influx of Australian Shelduck Tadorna tadornoides on Macquarie Island. Australian Field Ornithology, 25(1): 40 -41.
  19. Murray, N.J. & Shaw, P.P. (2006) Breeding biology of the Australian White Ibis Threskiornis molucca at an urban breeding colony, South-east Queensland. Corella, 32(2): 41-45.

Books and Reports (selected)

  1. Bland, L.M., Keith, D.A., Miller, R.M., Murray, N.J., Rodriguez, J.P. (2016) Guidelines for the application of IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Categories and Criteria, Version 1.1. (eds) IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. (translated into Spanish and French). ISBN: 978-2-8317-1769-2
  2. Bland, L.M., Keith, D.A., Miller, R.M., Murray, N.J., Rodriguez, J.P. (2016) Guidelines for the application of IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Categories and Criteria, Version 1.0. (eds) IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. (translated into Spanish and French). ISBN: 978-2-8317-1769-2
  3. Murray, N.J., Miller, R.M., Zager, I., Keith, D.A., Bland, L.M., Esteves, R., Oliveira-Miranda, M.A., Rodríguez, J.P. (2016) Introduction to the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Categories and Criteria: course manual. Downloadable from
  4. MacKinnon, J., Verkuil, Y. I. & Murray, N.J. (2012) IUCN situation analysis on East and Southeast Asian intertidal habitats, with particular reference to the Yellow Sea (including the Bohai Sea). IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. (translated into Korean, Russian and Chinese). ISBN: 978-2-8317-1255-0

Book Chapters

  1. Murray, N.J. (in press) The role of remote sensing in the conservation of East Asia’s coastal wetlands. In: Satellite Remote Sensing for Conservation Action – Case Studies from Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystems. Cambridge University Press. (Invited submission, publication due late 2017).


  1. Keith, D.A., Akçakaya, H.A., Murray, N.J. (in press) Supplementary material for: Towards robust predictions of risks to biodiversity: scaling range sizes to threats. doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.5139505
  2. Murray, N.J., Keith, D.A., Bland, L.M., Nicholson, E., Regan, T.M., Rodriguez, J.P., Bedward, M. (2017) Simulated ecosystem distributions from: The use of range size to assess risks to biodiversity from stochastic threats. doi:10.6084/m9.fishare.4648939.v1
  3. Murray, N.J. (2017) Global 10 x 10-km grids suitable for use in IUCN Red List of Ecosystems assessments. doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.4653439
  4. Dhanjal-Adams K. L., Hanson J. O., Murray N. J., Phinn S. R., Wingate V. R, Mustin K., Lee J. R., Allan J. R., Cappadonna J. L., Studds C. E., Clemens R. S., Roelfsema C. M., Fuller R. A. (2015) Mapped distribution of intertidal habitats in Australia between 1999 and 2014. Pangaea.
  5. Murray, N.J., Wingate, V.R. & Fuller, R.A. (2014) Mapped distribution of tidal flats across China, Manchuria and Korea (1952-1964). Pangaea.


  1. Lee, C., Murray N.J. (2017) Redlistr: Tools for the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems and Species. R package version 1.0.0.
  2. Cornwell W., Lyons M., Murray N.J. (2016) Earthtones: derive a colour palette from a particular location on Earth. R package version 0.1.0.

Magazines and Book Reviews

  1. Murray N.J. (2015) The tragedy of disappearing tidal flats. Australasian Science. 36(1): 48.
  2. Dhanjal-Adams K.L.*, Murray, N.J. & Fuller, R.A. (2015) Mapping intertidal habitats and their protection in Australia. Wetlands Australia. 27: 59.
  3. Murray N.J. (2014) Between a rock and a hard place: the tragedy of disappearing tidal flats. Decision Point.
  4. Murray N.J. (2011) Dark days for summer birds. Wildlife Australia.
  5. Murray N.J. (2008) Ten per cent: Albatrosses and the importance of Macquarie Island. Wildlife Australia.
  6. Murray N.J. (2008) Book review – Albatross: Their World, Their Ways. Wildlife Australia.
  7. Murray N.J. (2005) Book review – Herons, Egrets and Bitterns of Australia. Corella. 29, 74.


Note: teaching is not a core component of my current or previous positions. All teaching and supervision has been conducted in addition to my research-only activities.



  • Conservation Management, 3rd year undergraduate (2014 – )
  • Marine and Aquatic Ecology, 3rd year undergraduate (2015 – )
  • Remote Sensing, 2nd year undergraduate (2015 – )
  • Vertebrate Zoology, 2nd year undergraduate (2015 -)

Short-courses / Workshops

  • Designed and delivered 2-day training course on risk assessment and computing for postgraduate students, Beijing Normal University (~25 participants, 2016)
  • Developed and delivered a 3-day training course on ecosystem risk assessment to academic and government scientists, Chinese Academy of Sciences (30 participants, November 2015)
  • Member of the UNSW Environmental Computing group: teaching R, Python and JavaScript to undergraduate students (2016 – )


  • PhD: Calvin Lee, Deakin University, Remote sensing ecosystem dynamics (2017 – )
  • Honours: Libby Timmis, UNSW, Spatial distribution of flying foxes (2017)
  • Honours: Fiona Robinson, UNSW, Biogeography of global forest loss (2016) first class + university medal
  • Staff: Two computer programmers in remote sensing (2016 – ongoing)
  • Intern: Long-term intern in ecosystem risk assessment (2015)
  • Intern: Two long-term interns in remote sensing and GIS (2011-2014)

Field trips

  • Masters: Conservation in Action. Format: 2 week field trip, UQ (2011, 2012)
  • Undergraduate: Ecology Field Studies. Format: 1 week field trip, UQ (April 2011)
  • Undergraduate: Australia’s Terrestrial Environment. Format: 1 week field trip, UQ (April 2011)