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Dawn Murray

Antioch University Online, Santa Barbara

Dawn A. Murray, PhD, received her PhD in Ocean Sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz, examining the effects of climate change on intertidal plant and animal communities. Dawn worked at the Monterey Bay Aquarium for five years while researching deep-sea habitats of jellies using remotely operated submersibles for her Master of Science degree. Additionally, she co-created citizen science programs for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Society, LiMPETS. She has numerous publications and international conference presentations and has been invited to consult as an ecologist, educator, and reviewer for many panels.

Dawn is the Chair of the Undergraduate Studies Department (video, new window) and oversees the Environmental Studies courses at Antioch University Santa Barbara, teaching natural history, marine biology, environmental justice, and field courses. Dawn has been an active Board Member for the Tribal Trust Foundation involved in preserving global indigenous cultures and habitats. She is passionate about protecting marine life and inspiring conservation initiatives for a sustainable future. Dawn has led short study abroad ecological and cultural conservation trips to Galapagos and Bhutan (video, new window) as well.

Educational History

PhD, Ocean Sciences, 2005
MS, Marine Science, 1999
BA, Biology, 1994
University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

Stanford University, Hopkins Marine Station, Pacific Grove, CA
Physiological Ecology and Biomechanics Program

University of Washington, Friday Harbor Laboratory, Friday Harbor, WA
Invertebrate Zoology Program

Teaching Statement

My commitment to interactive teaching is woven into the fabric of my teaching philosophy. I am sensitive to cultural differences and constantly innovating and adapting my teaching methods to meet students’ needs and various learning styles. I incorporate current research and primary literature into classes and aim to ignite curiosity and a passion for life-long learning with a very active approach. I am passionate about teaching and learning, interacting with students and combining practical examples, hands-on experiences, activism, and current events.
A marine biologist by training, my work has centered around biology, ecology, and earth systems science – interactions on a microscopic and global scale. My goal is to facilitate undergraduate and graduate students to engage in their learning – conceptualizing, analyzing, and synthesizing scientific information. I focus on developing analytical skills and giving students time to think logically about environmental problems while weaving in human factors and adaptive strategies. Student voice is important to me as well and student feedback on my teaching. I adapt my style and level for the groups I am working with and respect and honor the learning process.

Medicinal plants distribution and abundance, reducing the effects of climate change, environmental policy and advocacy, marine ecological trends

  • Murray, D. (2013) Ecological and cultural Curriculum for the Yucatan Peninsula, Online TTF Website
  • Murray. D.A., B. Savage, G. Kvistad. (2012) Tulum, Mexico: A case study modeling collaboration for access to clean water for indigenous peoples. International Environmental Justice: Competing Claims and Perspectives. Eds. F. Gordon and G. Freeland, ILM Publications.
  • Osborn, D.A., M.W. Silver, S.M. Bros, C.G. Castro, and F.P. Chavez (2007) The habitat of mesopelagic scyphomedusae in Monterey Bay, CA, Deep-Sea Research Part I (54), pp. 1241-1255.
  • Osborn, D. A., J. S. Pearse, and C. A. Roe (2007) LiMPETS: Long-Term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students. Community-Based Coastal Observing in Alaska: Aleutian Life Forum 2006. Editor – Reid Brewer, Alaska Sea Grant, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
  • Osborn, Dawn A. (2005). Rocky Intertidal Community Structure on Different Substrates. California Sea Grant College Program. UC San Diego: California Sea Grant College Program. Retrieved from:

Biodiversity and Conservation in the Galapagos, Mountain Ecosystem Restoration (2018); Living Abroad for a Year– Learning the Culture of Conservation and Activism in Bhutan and Costa Rica (2018); Freshwater Ecosystem Conservation in the Himalayas, Searching for the Endangered White Bellied Heron in Asia (2017) , Animal/Plant Conservation and Genetic Resources in Bhutan (2017);Ecological Conservation in Bhutan, Migrating Whales, Assisting Injured Marine Mammals (2015); Marine Conservation, Mbuti: Children of the Forest, Global Advocacy and Leadership (2014)

Distinguished Service Award; Excellence in Teaching Award; Teacher-of-the-Year Award; Teacher-of-the-Year Nominations; PADI Foundation Diver Recognition; American Association of University Women Research Grant; Center for Dynamics and Evolution of the Land-Sea Interface Graduate Research Award; University of California Marine Council Research Grant from the Office of the President; Louis Sloss Fellowship

Member of Society for Conservation Biology; Sierra Club 15- year member

Core Faculty,

Program Director,

BS in Environmental Studies, Sustainability, and Sciences


Courses Taught

Global Environmental Studies, , Earth Systems and Climate Change, Exhibit Design and Interpretation, Culture and Ecology, Population Growth and Global Poverty, Conservation Biology, Environmental Ethics, Marine Policy, Marine Ecology, Invertebrate Zoology, Deep Sea Ecology, Biogeography, Community Ecology, Critical Thinking, Environmental Management, Environmental Justice and Advocacy, Ecological Restoration, Sustainable Communities, Natural History, Sustainable Business, Public Speaking, Research Methods, Biodiversity, Rainforest Ecology, Climate Change, Marine Conservation, Intertidal Ecology, Climate Change Resilience, Protecting Indigenous Habitats and Activism, Biological Oceanography, Environmental Processes in Lakes and Oceans, Environmental Geology, Ecological Conservation

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