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A. Brad Murray, Professor of Geomorphology and Coastal Processes

A. Brad Murray

Murray, a geomorphologist, studies how Earth-surface environments are shaped, and how they change over time, especially in response to changing forcing. He has addressed phenomena in desert, artic, alpine, and riverine environments, although most of his recent research focuses on coastal environments. Much of his research addresses couplings between physical and ecological processes, and couplings between natural and human dynamics. Murray approaches natural systems, and human/natural coupled systems, with the perspective and techniques developed in the study of nonlinear dynamics and complex systems, looking for possibly simple, emergent interactions that could explain apparently complicated behaviors. He develops and uses relatively simple, numerical models to test such hypotheses, and uses observations in developing hypotheses and testing models (using strategies and types of model predictions most effective for testing the usefulness of the type of model in question, in specific scientific contexts). Murray’s most recent research falls under three umbrellas, investigating: 1) how changes in the size and shape of river deltas can be driven by couplings between river processes, coastal processes, and sea-level rise, and by couplings between physical and ecological processes; 2) how coastlines (sandy and rocky) are shaped and reshaped over time, including the effects of changing storm climates; 3) how coastal barriers and back-barrier marshes and bays respond to changing rates of sea-level rise and storm impacts. Some of the research under each of these umbrellas addresses couplings between human actions and landscape/ecosystem evolution.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  A318 LSRC, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 681-5069
Email Address: send me a message

Teaching (Spring 2023):

    Grainger 2102, WF 10:15 AM-11:30 AM
    (also cross-listed as EOS 315.01)
    Grainger 2102, WF 10:15 AM-11:30 AM
    (also cross-listed as EOS 715.01)
    LSRC A158, WF 12:00 PM-01:15 PM
    (also cross-listed as EOS 785S.01)

Ph.D.University of Minnesota, Twin Cities1995
M.S.University of Minnesota, Twin Cities1990
B.A.University of Minnesota, Twin Cities1986
BISUniversity of Minnesota, Twin Cities1986

earth surface processes
shorelines and coastal geology
Research Interests: coastal, river, and landscape processes and pattern formation using relatively simple computer models to test hypotheses arising from field observations.


Biological Evolution • Biomass • Computer Simulation • Ecosystem • Erosion • Geologic Sediments • Geomorphology • Machine learning • Models, Theoretical • Plant Development • Ripples • Time Factors • Water Movements • Wetlands

Curriculum Vitae
Postdocs Mentored

  • Eli Lazarus (2005 - present)  
Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Moore, LJ; Murray, AB, Islands on the move, Nature Geoscience, vol. 15 no. 8 (August, 2022), pp. 602-603 [doi]
  2. Hu, N; Murray, AB; Ratliff, KM; Little, Z; Hutton, EWH, Wave-Climate Asymmetry Influence on Delta Evolution and River Dynamics, Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 49 no. 9 (May, 2022) [doi]  [abs]
  3. Lauzon, R; Murray, AB, Discharge Determines Avulsion Regime in Model Experiments With Vegetated and Unvegetated Deltas, Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, vol. 127 no. 2 (February, 2022) [doi]  [abs]
  4. Bamunawala, J; van der Spek, A; Dastgheib, A; Murray, AB; Ranasinghe, R, An Integrated, Probabilistic Modeling Approach to Assess the Evolution of Barrier-Island Systems Over the Twenty-First Century, Frontiers in Marine Science, vol. 8 (November, 2021) [doi]  [abs]
  5. Reeves, IRB; Moore, LJ; Murray, AB; Anarde, KA; Goldstein, EB, Dune Dynamics Drive Discontinuous Barrier Retreat, Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 48 no. 13 (July, 2021) [doi]  [abs]