Murray Roberts is Professor of Applied Marine Biology & Ecology at the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences and Chair of the Joint Working Group between St Abbs Marine Station and the University of Edinburgh. He leads the Changing Oceans research group and coordinates the European Horizon 2020 ATLAS and iAtlantic projects. He studies structural habitats in the deep ocean, notably those formed by cold-water corals, to enhance plans for their long-term management and conservation.
His previous roles include Reader and then Professor of Marine Biology and Director of the Centre for Marine Biodiversity & Biotechnology at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh (2009-16) where he coordinated the development of the Lyell Centre (2012-15). Before working in Edinburgh Murray was based at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (1997-2009) with a period as Marie Curie Fellow at the Center for Marine Science, University North Carolina Wilmington in the USA (2007-09).
Murray studied Biology at the University of York before completing a PhD at the University of Glasgow examining nitrogen cycling in the Anemonia viridis symbiosis. Since 1997 his work on cold-water corals and deep-sea biology has taken him to sites off the UK, Norway, Ireland, the SE United States and Cape Verde off West Africa. Murray is senior author of the ‘Cold-water Corals’, the first book covering the biology and geology of these important deep-sea habitats, a contributing author to the 2014 and 2019 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Reports and co-lead editor of a 2014 United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity report on ocean acidification. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. He has led or participated in 23 offshore research cruises, published >100 peer-reviewed publications and has raised £21.89M in research grants since July 1999.
Murray’s wider roles include: Contributing Author to the 2019 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Oceans & Cryosphere Report Chapter 5 ‘Changing Ocean, Marine Ecosystems, and Dependent Communities’; Contributing Author to the 2014 IPCC 5th Assessment Report Chapter 6 ‘Ocean Systems’; Contributing Author the 1st and 2nd cycles of the UN World Ocean Assessment; Member of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Expert Group on ocean acidification; Member of the Expert Panel United Nations Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socio-economic Aspects; Member of the Pool of Experts of the Regular Process United Nations World Ocean Assessment; Member of the ICES Advice Drafting Group on Ecologically & Biologically Significant Areas (NE Atlantic); Founding member of the ICES Working Group on Deep-water Ecology.