Dawn Murray, PhD

Antioch University ,
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Dawn A. Murray, PhD, is a Professor in the Environmental Studies Department at Antioch University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses covering diverse topics, including conservation biology, earth systems, climate change, applied ecology, and marine science. Dawn is the Director of the BS in Environmental Studies, Sustainability, and Sciences Program. In addition, she is an advisor in the MS ES Conservation Biology concentration. She is also working with doctoral students in the PhD Program. Her research focuses on participatory conservation and co-designing methods that equitably integrate local communities in conservation solutions.

Dawn is passionate about protecting global ecosystems and promoting local conservation initiatives for a sustainable future. She honors local and Indigenous Ecological Knowledge when co-designing conservation projects, including documenting the effects of climate change in rural areas. In addition, Dawn takes students on short, ecocultural trips, most recently to Galapagos and Bhutan, for experiential learning in the field with service components. Dawn is an advisor for the Tribal Trust Foundation, a nonprofit working with Indigenous groups globally. She is the former Chair of the Undergraduate Studies Department at Antioch Santa Barbara and oversaw the interdisciplinary liberal studies curriculum while teaching natural history, marine biology, environmental justice, and field courses.

Dawn 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 while researching deep-sea habitats of jellies using remotely operated submersibles for her Master of Science degree. Additionally, she co-created a citizen science program for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Society, LiMPETS, and serves as an advisor today. Dawn served as a science curriculum reviewer for the UC Climate Stewards Handbook. Her collaborative work with the Monpa People and book on Indigenous Monpa Plant Medicine describes the wisdom of these first inhabitants of Bhutan. She has numerous publications and international conference presentations and has been invited to consult as an ecologist, educator, and reviewer for many panels.

Program Director

BS-Environmental Studies, Sustainability, & Sciences

Core Faculty

Environmental Studies, Sustainability, and Sciences

  • 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

My commitment to interactive teaching is woven into the fabric of my philosophy. My courses, whether online or in-person, are inquiry based. I am sensitive to cultural differences and constantly innovating/adapting my teaching methods to meet students’ needs and various learning styles. I incorporate current research into classes and aim to ignite curiosity and a passion for life-long learning with advocacy exercises. I am energized by teaching and learning, interacting with students, and hands-on experiences. 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 learning – conceptualizing, analyzing, and synthesizing scientific information. I focus on student analytical skills when studying environmental issues – examining global systems, human factors, adaptive strategies, and ecological resilience. Student voice and feedback is imperative – I respect and honor the co-learning process.

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

  • Murray, Dawn A. (2023) Monpa Medicinal Plant Medicine, DSB Publications, Thimphu, Bhutan. 
  • 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: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/44w4c14v
  • Participatory Ocean Conservation (2023)
  • Book Launch Talk on Monpa Plants (2022)
  • A Virtual Visit to Monpaland (2021)
  • Environment California Panelist for Chumash National Marine Sanctuary Designation (2021)
  • Environmental Justice:  Lessons Learned from Indigenous People in the Himalayas (2021)
  • Indigenous Ecological Knowledge (2020)
  • Indigenous Medicinal Plant Conservation in Bhutan (2019)
  • 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
  • The University of California Marine Council Research Grant from the Office of the President
  • Louis Sloss Fellowship
  • Member of the Society for Conservation Biology
  • Sierra Club 15-year member
  • Western Society of Naturalists
  • Society for Conservation Biology
  • Los Padres Forest Watch
  • Conservation International
  • Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences
  • Global Council for Science and the Environment

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