Nicholas J Murray

Nicholas J Murray
James Cook University · Faculty of Science and Engineering

BSc (Flinders), BSc Hons (Griffith) , PhD (UQ)

About

91
Publications
56,992
Reads
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4,166
Citations
Citations since 2017
66 Research Items
3709 Citations
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Introduction
I am an Australia-based scientist with 15+ years experience working in a variety of academic, agency and private sector positions. After positions at the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science (UQ), the Remote Sensing Research Centre (UQ) and the Centre for Ecosystem Science (UNSW), I commenced as a Senior Research Fellow at James Cook University in late 2019. I am a Australian Research Council DECRA fellow based in the College of Science and Engineering at James Cook University.
Education
October 2010 - April 2014
The University of Queensland
Field of study
  • Conservation Biology
February 2004 - February 2005
Griffith University
Field of study
  • Ecology
February 1998 - December 2001
Flinders University
Field of study
  • Environmental Science

Publications

Publications (91)
Article
Full-text available
Biodiversity offsets aim to counterbalance the residual impacts of development on species and ecosystems. Guidance documents explicitly recommend that biodiversity offset actions be located close to the location of impact because of higher potential for similar ecological conditions, but allowing greater spatial flexibility has been proposed. We ex...
Article
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As the United Nations develops a post-2020 global biodiversity framework for the Convention on Biological Diversity, attention is focusing on how new goals and targets for ecosystem conservation might serve its vision of ‘living in harmony with nature’1,2. Advancing dual imperatives to conserve biodiversity and sustain ecosystem services requires r...
Article
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Assessments of the status of tidal flats, one of the most extensive coastal ecosystems, have been hampered by a lack of data on their global distribution and change. Here we present globally consistent, spatially-explicit data of the occurrence of tidal flats, defined as sand, rock or mud flats that undergo regular tidal inundation. More than 1.3 m...
Article
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A globally relevant and standardized taxonomy and framework for consistently describing land cover change based on evidence is presented, which makes use of structured land cover taxonomies and is underpinned by the Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework. The Global Change Taxonomy currently lists 246 classes based on the notation...
Article
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Mangroves are a globally important ecosystem that provides a wide range of ecosystem system services, such as carbon capture and storage, coastal protection and fisheries enhancement. Mangroves have significantly reduced in global extent over the last 50 years, primarily as a result of deforestation caused by the expansion of agriculture and aquacu...
Article
Tidal wetlands are expected to respond dynamically to global environmental change, but the extent to which wetland losses have been offset by gains remains poorly understood. We developed a global analysis of satellite data to simultaneously monitor change in three highly interconnected intertidal ecosystem types—tidal flats, tidal marshes, and man...
Article
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Coastal wetlands around the world have been degraded by human activities. Global declines in the extent of important habitats including mangroves, salt marsh and tidal flats necessitate mitigation and restoration efforts, however some well‐meaning management actions, particularly mangrove afforestation and breakwater construction, can inadvertently...
Article
Despite substantial conservation efforts, the loss of ecosystems continues globally, along with related declines in species and nature’s contributions to people. An effective ecosystem goal, supported by clear milestones, targets and indicators, is urgently needed for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and beyond to support biodiversity co...
Article
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Coral reef management and conservation stand to benefit from improved high-resolution global mapping. Yet classifications underpinning large-scale reef mapping to date are typically poorly defined, not shared or region-specific, limiting end-users’ ability to interpret outputs. Here we present Reef Cover , a coral reef geomorphic zone classificatio...
Article
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Despite genuine attempts, the history of marine and coastal ecosystem management is littered with examples of poor environmental, social and financial outcomes. Marine ecosystems are largely populated by species with open populations, and feature ecological processes that are driven by multiple, interwoven, dynamic causes and effects. This complexi...
Article
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Anthropogenic and natural disturbances can cause degradation of ecosystems, reducing their capacity to sustain biodiversity and provide ecosystem services. Understanding the extent of ecosystem degradation is critical for estimating risks to ecosystems, yet there are few existing methods to map degradation at the ecosystem scale and none using free...
Article
Evolving capabilities in environmental data collection, sharing, and processing, are enabling unprecedented use of data from a wide range of sources. Yet data freshness, an important quality dimension associated with the age of data, is a poorly reported aspect of data quality that can lead to additional uncertainty in research findings.
Article
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Our ability to completely and repeatedly map natural environments at a global scale have increased significantly over the past decade. These advances are from delivery of a range of on-line global satellite image archives and global-scale processing capabilities, along with improved spatial and temporal resolution satellite imagery. The ability to...
Article
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The Ramsar Convention (or the Convention on Wetlands), signed in 1971, was one of the first international conservation agreements, promoting global wise use of wetlands. It has three primary objectives: national designation and management of wetlands of international importance; general wise use of wetlands; and international cooperation. We examin...
Article
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Quantifying ecological condition, notably the extent of forest degradation is important for understanding and designing measures to protect biodiversity and enhancing the capacity of forests to deliver ecosystem services. Conservation planning, particularly the prioritization of management interventions for forests, is often lacking spatial data on...
Article
Many migratory shorebird species are undergoing severe population declines due to habitat loss. Selecting sites for protection along migratory shorebird flyways requires accounting for connectivity between sites and representing all migratory cycle stages within a protected area network. Site protection decisions often additionally account for the...
Article
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The East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF) is the most threatened flyway worldwide, encompassing the greatest number of threatened migratory bird species of all flyways on Earth [1]. This is largely attributed to pronounced human-bird conflicts in Asia, leading to elevated rates of habitat loss, degradation, and illegal hunting [2,3]. During the las...
Article
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A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-20999-7.
Article
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China's coastal wetlands are critically important to shorebirds. Substantial loss of tidal flats, shorebirds' primary foraging grounds, has occurred from land claim and other processes, and is driving population declines in multiple species. Smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora was intentionally introduced to the coast of China in 1979 to promote...
Article
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Conservation relies upon a primary understanding of changes in a species’ population size, distribution, and habitat use. Bats represent about one in five mammal species in the world, but understanding for most species is poor. For flying-foxes, specifically the 66 Pteropus species globally, 31 are classified as threatened (Vulnerable, Endangered,...
Article
Full-text available
Many global environmental agendas, including halting biodiversity loss, reversing land degradation, and limiting climate change, depend upon retaining forests with high ecological integrity, yet the scale and degree of forest modification remain poorly quantified and mapped. By integrating data on observed and inferred human pressures and an index...
Article
Full-text available
Coral reef research and management efforts can be improved when supported by reef maps providing local-scale details across global extents. However, such maps are difficult to generate due to the broad geographic range of coral reefs, the complexities of relating satellite imagery to geomorphic or ecological realities, and other challenges. However...
Article
Myanmar is highly biodiverse, with more than 16,000 plant, 314 mammal, 1131 bird, 293 reptile, and 139 amphibian species. Supporting this biodiversity is a variety of natural ecosystems—mostly undescribed—including tropical and subtropical forests, savannas, seasonally inundated wetlands, extensive shoreline and tidal systems, and alpine ecosystems...
Article
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Tidal flats are a globally distributed coastal ecosystem important for supporting biodiversity and ecosystem services. Local to continental-scale studies have documented rapid loss of tidal habitat driven by human impacts, but assessments of progress in their conservation are lacking. We analysed human pressure on tidal flats, and measured their re...
Preprint
Full-text available
Coral reef management and conservation stand to benefit from improved high-resolution global mapping. Yet classifications employed in large-scale reef mapping to date are typically poorly defined, not shared or region-specific. Here we present Reef Cover , a new coral reef geomorphic zone classification, developed to support global-scale coral reef...
Article
Full-text available
Mangrove forests provide many ecosystem services but are among the world's most threatened ecosystems. Mangroves vary substantially according to their geomorphic and sedimentary setting; while several conceptual frameworks describe these settings, their spatial distribution has not been quantified. Here, we present a new global mangrove biophysical...
Book
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The Myanmar National Ecosystem Assessment contributes to the GEF funded Strengthening Sustainability of Protected Area Management in Myanmar project. To support the Myanmar National Ecosystem Assessment, Myanmar’s terrestrial ecosystems were assessed under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Ecosystems Categori...
Preprint
Full-text available
Myanmar is highly biodiverse, with more than 16,000 plant, 314 mammal, 1131 bird, 293 reptile, and 139 amphibian species. Supporting this biodiversity is a variety of natural ecosystems-mostly undescribed-including tropical and subtropical forests, savannas, seasonally inundated wetlands, extensive shoreline and tidal systems, and alpine ecosystems...
Article
Full-text available
Mangrove forests are found on sheltered coastlines in tropical, subtropical, and some warm temperate regions. These forests support unique biodiversity and provide a range of benefits to coastal communities, but as a result of large-scale conversion for aquaculture, agriculture, and urbanization, mangroves are considered increasingly threatened eco...
Article
Quantifying trends in ecosystem extent is essential to understanding the status of ecosystems. Estimates of ecosystem loss are widely used to track progress toward conservation targets, monitor deforestation, and identify ecosystems undergoing rapid change. Satellite remote sensing has become an important source of information for estimating these...
Preprint
Full-text available
Measuring forest degradation is important for understanding and designing measures to protect biodiversity and the capacity of forests to deliver ecosystem services. Conservation planning, particularly the prioritization of management interventions for forests, is often lacking spatial data on ecological condition, and it is often overlooked within...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many global environmental agendas, including halting biodiversity loss, reversing land degradation, and limiting climate change, depend upon retaining forests with high ecological integrity, yet the scale and degree of forest modification remains poorly quantified and mapped. By integrating data on direct and indirect forest pressures and lost fore...
Article
Full-text available
Coral reefs are among the most diverse and iconic ecosystems on Earth, but a range of anthropogenic pressures are threatening their persistence. Owing to their remoteness, broad spatial coverage and cross‐jurisdictional locations, there are no high‐resolution remotely sensed maps available at the global scale. Here we present a framework that is ca...
Article
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Aim Understanding the processes driving population declines in migratory species can be challenging. Not only are monitoring data spatially and temporally sparse, but conditions in one location can carry over to indirectly (and disproportionately) affect the population in another location. Here, we explore whether remote factors can sequentially, a...
Preprint
Drones are rapidly becoming part of environmental monitoring and management applications. They provide an opportunity to improve a number of activities related to monitoring population dynamics of aggregations of wildlife. Bird surveys using drones have attracted particular attention, with a range of potential metrics able to be derived from high r...
Article
Recent advances in drone technology have rapidly led to their use for monitoring and managing wildlife populations but a broad and generalised framework for their application to complex wildlife aggregations is still lacking We present a generalised semi‐automated approach where machine learning can map targets of interest in drone imagery, support...
Article
Full-text available
Increasing human populations around the global coastline have caused extensive loss, degradation and fragmentation of coastal ecosystems, threatening the delivery of important ecosystem services¹. As a result, alarming losses of mangrove, coral reef, seagrass, kelp forest and coastal marsh ecosystems have occurred1–6. However, owing to the difficul...
Article
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Migratory species can travel tens of thousands of kilometers each year, spending different parts of their annual cycle in geographically distinct locations. Understanding the drivers of population change is vital for conserving migratory species, yet the challenge of collecting data over entire geographic ranges has hindered attempts to identify th...
Article
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1.Recent assessments of progress towards global conservation targets have revealed a paucity of indicators suitable for assessing the changing state of ecosystems. Moreover, land managers and planners are often unable to gain timely access to maps they need to support their routine decision‐making. This deficiency is partly due to a lack of suitabl...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recent assessments of progress towards global conservation targets have revealed a paucity of indicators suitable for assessing the changing state of ecosystems. Moreover, land managers and planners are often unable to gain timely access to maps they need to support their routine decision-making. This deficiency is partly due to a lack of suitable...
Article
Full-text available
Ongoing ecosystem degradation and transformation are key threats to biodiversity. Measuring ecosystem change towards collapse relies on monitoring indicators that quantify key ecological processes. Yet little guidance is available on selecting and implementing indicators for ecosystem risk assessment. Here, we reviewed indicator use in ecological s...
Article
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The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Ecosystems is a powerful tool for classifying threatened ecosystems, informing ecosystem management, and assessing the risk of ecosystem collapse (that is, the endpoint of ecosystem degradation). These risk assessments require explicit definitions of ecosystem collapse, which are...
Article
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Coastal armouring and the reclamation of intertidal areas through the use of seawalls and other artificial structures has been practiced for thousands of years, but its recent expansion in China and elsewhere in Asia has been unprecedented in its rate and intensity. One result has been the recent loss of nearly two-thirds of tidal flats in the Yell...
Article
The current set of global conservation targets requires methods for monitoring the changing status of ecosystems. Protocols for ecosystem risk assessment are uniquely suited to this task, providing objective syntheses of a wide range of data to estimate the likelihood of ecosystem collapse. Satellite remote sensing can deliver ecologically relevant...
Article
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Effective ecosystem risk assessment relies on a conceptual understanding of ecosystem dynamics and the synthesis of multiple lines of evidence. Risk assessment protocols and ecosystem models integrate limited observational data with threat scenarios, making them valuable tools for monitoring ecosystem status and diagnosing key mechanisms of decline...
Article
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Societal, economic and scientific interests in knowing where biodiversity is, how it is faring and what can be done to efficiently mitigate further biodiversity loss and the associated loss of ecosystem services are at an all-time high. So far, however, biodiversity monitoring has primarily focused on structural and compositional features of ecosys...
Article
Full-text available
Assessments of risk to biodiversity often rely on spatial distributions of species and ecosystems. Range size metrics used extensively in these assessments, such as Area of Occupancy (AOO), are sensitive to measurement scale, prompting proposals to measure them at finer scales, or a variery of different scales based on the shape of the distribution...
Article
Migratory animals are threatened by human-induced global change. However, little is known about how stopover habitat, essential for refuelling during migration, affects the population dynamics of migratory species. Using 20 years of continent-wide citizen science data, we assess population trends of ten shorebird taxa that refuel on Yellow Sea tida...
Article
Full-text available
Aim: Stochastic threats such as disease outbreak, pollution events, fire, tsunami and drought can cause rapid species extinction and ecosystem collapse. The ability of a species or ecosystem to persist after a stochastic threat is strongly related to the extent and spatial pattern of its geographical distribution. Consequently, protocols for assess...
Article
Full-text available
Migratory animals are threatened by human-induced global change. However, little is known about how stopover habitat, essential for refuelling during migration, affects the population dynamics of migratory species. Using 20 years of continent-wide citizen science data, we assess population trends of ten shorebird taxa that refuel on Yellow Sea tida...
Article
Full-text available
Migratory animals are threatened by human-induced global change. However, little is known about how stopover habitat, essential for refuelling during migration, affects the population dynamics of migratory species. Using 20 years of continent-wide citizen science data, we assess population trends of ten shorebird taxa that refuel on Yellow Sea tida...
Code
A toolbox created by members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Ecosystems Committee for Scientific Standards. Primarily, it is a set of tools suitable for calculating the metrics required for making assessments of species and ecosystems against the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and the IUCN Red List of E...
Book
Full-text available
The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems is a global framework for monitoring the status of ecosystems. It is part of the growing toolbox for assessing risks to biodiversity and aims to support conservation, resource use, and management decisions by identifying ecosystems most at risk of biodiversity loss. By targeting a level of biological organisation abo...