A. Brad Murray

A. Brad Murray


Director of Graduate Studies (Earth & Ocean Sciences)

Primary Appointment

Earth & Ocean Sciences Division

I am interested in many surface processes and patterns, including rivers and a range of desert, arctic, and alpine phenomena. My recent efforts have focused on coastal and nearshore processes. The nearshore environment is a spatially extended system that exhibits complex, dynamic spatial patterns, including the arrangement of bars and channels, waves, and often an array of alongshore and cross-shore currents. I approach such systems with the perspective and techniques developed in the study of nonlinear dynamics and complex systems, looking for possibly simple, large-scale interactions that could explain complex behaviors. I use relatively simple, cellular-automata-like models to test such hypotheses. (click here for recent abstracts) Recently I have been applying these methods to beach and surf-zone problems, but I am expanding my focus onshore and offshore, to include studies of storm-driven currents and sediment transport kilometers from shore, as well as the formation and evolution of shoreline-scale features such as cuspate forelands and capes, cuspate spits, and 'sand waves'. Another aspect of my research involves comparing field or laboratory observations with models of complex systems, for which linear statistics concerning the system's behavior may not sensitively reflect the interactions that produced them. I apply and develop nonlinear data analysis techniques to sensitively test how realistic model interactions are. I also advocate using different model-testing strategies for maximally-realistic simulations and highly simplified models. (See model testing for more information.)

In The News


Lauzon, R, and Murray, AB. "Comparing the Cohesive Effects of Mud and Vegetation on Delta Evolution." Geophysical Research Letters 45, no. 19 (October 16, 2018): 10-445.
Lauzon, R, Murray, AB, Moore, LJ, Walters, DC, Kirwan, ML, and Fagherazzi, S. "Effects of Marsh Edge Erosion in Coupled Barrier Island-Marsh Systems and Geometric Constraints on Marsh Evolution." Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 123, no. 6 (June 2018): 1218-1234.
Moore, LJ, and Murray, AB. Barrier dynamics and response to changing climate. February 15, 2018.
Murray, AB, and Moore, LJ. "Geometric constraints on long-term barrier migration: From simple to surprising." In Barrier Dynamics and Response to Changing Climate, 211-241. February 15, 2018.
Moore, LJ, Goldstein, EB, Vinent, OD, Walters, D, Kirwan, M, Lauzon, R, Murray, AB, and Ruggiero, P. "The role of ecomorphodynamic feedbacks and landscape couplings in influencing the response of barriers to changing climate." In Barrier Dynamics and Response to Changing Climate, 305-336. February 15, 2018.

Recent Grants


EOS 715: Introduction to Coastal Environmental Change Processes (EOS 715: Introduction to Coastal Environmental Change Processes)
EOS 567: Analyzing Time and Space Series (EOS 567: Analyzing Time and Space Series)
ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects (ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects)
EOS 316A: Beach and Island Geological Processes (EOS 316A: Beach and Island Geological Processes)
EOS 394: Research Independent Study (EOS 394: Research Independent Study)

Contact Information

Box 90230
Durham, NC 27708-0230
334 Old Chem Bldg
Durham, NC 27708


Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (1995)
M.S., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (1990)
B.A., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (1986)
BIS, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (1986)

Additional Resources