CNCS Center for Nonlinear and Complex Systems
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A. Brad Murray, Professor in the Division of Earth & Ocean Sciences and CNCS: Center for nonlinear and complex systems and Director of Graduate Studies

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 (Fall 2020):

    Grainger 2112, Th 09:00 AM-10:00 AM; Grainger 2102, F 12:00 PM-01:00 PM

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. Dong, X; Cohen, MJ; Martin, JB; McLaughlin, DL; Murray, AB; Ward, ND; Flint, MK; Heffernan, JB, Ecohydrologic processes and soil thickness feedbacks control limestone-weathering rates in a karst landscape, Chemical Geology, vol. 527 (November, 2019), Elsevier BV [doi]  [abs]
  2. Chamberlin, CA; Bianchi, TS; Brown, AL; Cohen, MJ; Dong, X; Flint, MK; Martin, JB; McLaughlin, DL; Murray, AB; Pain, A; Quintero, CJ; Ward, ND; Zhang, X; Heffernan, JB, Mass balance implies Holocene development of a low-relief karst patterned landscape, Chemical Geology, vol. 527 (November, 2019), Elsevier BV [doi]  [abs]
  3. Lauzon, R; Murray, AB, Comparing the Cohesive Effects of Mud and Vegetation on Delta Evolution, Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 45 no. 19 (October, 2018), pp. 10-445, American Geophysical Union (AGU) [doi]  [abs]
  4. Moore, LJ; Murray, AB, Barrier dynamics and response to changing climate (February, 2018), pp. 1-395, Springer International Publishing, ISBN 9783319680842 [doi]  [abs]
  5. Antolínez, JAA; Murray, AB; Méndez, FJ; Moore, LJ; Farley, G; Wood, J, Downscaling Changing Coastlines in a Changing Climate: The Hybrid Approach, Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, vol. 123 no. 2 (February, 2018), pp. 229-251, American Geophysical Union (AGU) [doi]  [abs]