Dr Murray Brown

Dr Murray Brown

Associate Professor in Marine Biology

School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)


Director, Marine Science & Engineering Doctoral Training Centre 

Postgraduate Research Coordinator (Marine Science), School of Marine Science & Engineering  

Internationalisation Tutor (Marine Biology Subject Group)

Research Tutor and Coordinator, School of Biological Sciences (2001 - 2009).

MPhil/PhD Research Training Pathway Leader, Faculty of Science (since 2002).

New Route PhD Programme Contact, Faculty of Science (since 2004). 

Resources Coordinator, School of Biological Sciences (2003).

School Research and Scholarship committee (since 2001).

BSc Marine Biology and Oceanography Programme Leader (2000-2003).

BSc Marine Biology Programme Leader (2000 – 2003).

Member of Science Faculty Postgraduate Programmes Committee (since 1999).

Various Departmental committee and administrative duties (1994 –2002).


Associate Professor (Reader) School of Marine Science and Engineering, Plymouth University  

Reader, School of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth 

Principal Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth (2000- 06).

Senior Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth (1994-2000).

Honorary Research Professor, Institute of marine Biology , Shantou University, China (2004-2010) 

Visiting Research Fellow, Institute for Marine Studies, University of Western Brittany, Brest, France (1990-1991.

Lecturer, Botany Department, University of Otago, New Zealand (1986-1994).

Assistant Lecturer, Botany Department, University of Otago, New Zealand (1983-1986).

Ph.D. (Plant Biology) University of Birmingham (1983).

B.Sc (Hons) Botany University of St. Andrews (1979).

Professional membership

Member of the British Phycological Society

Member of the American Phycological Society

Member of the International Phycological Society

Member of the Asia-Pacific Society for Applied Phycology

Roles on external bodies

Associate Editor - Journal of Applied Phycology

Editorial Board - Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health

International Advisory Board - Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences

Korean Society of Environmental Risk Assessment and Health Science - International Advisory Board Member 

British Phycological Society – Council Member and Honorary Membership Secretary

Link Aquaculture - Project Advisor/Monitoring Officer

DFID/British Council Higher Education Links Scheme – Research Projects Advisor

International Science Foundation -Project Advisor

Merit referee/scientific advisor for NERC, BBSRC, Leverhulme Trust, Israel Science Foundation, EU Framework programmes, United States National Science Foundation, Australian Antarctic Research Programme.

Peer-reviewer for major international marine, botanical and environmental science journals including: J of Phycology, Marine Ecology Progress Series, Phycologia. European J of Phycology, Botanica Marina, Phycological Research, Marine Biology, Marine Environmental Research, New Phytologist, Plant Cell and Environment, J of Experimental Botany, Environmental Pollution, Science of the Total Environment, Environment International.

Teaching interests

Marine Botany

The Biology, Ecology and Physiology of Marine Algae

Pollution Biology and Ecotoxicology

Marine Aquaculture

Staff serving as external examiners

MPhil/PhD examiner


Univeristy of Portsmouth

University of Plymouth


University of Stockholm, Sweden

NUI, Galway, Ireland

University of the Algarve, Faro, Portugal

University of Bologna, Italy 

University of Western Brittany, Brest, France

Southern Africa

University of Witswaterand, Johannesburg

University of Cape Town

University of Namibia


University of Malaya


University of Otago

University of Auckland

Victoria University, Wellington

Monash University, Melbourne

University of Adelaide

Research interests

Algal and aquatic plant ecotoxicology.

The mechanistic basis for responses to environmental stresses (anthropogenic and natural) in marine algae and seagrasses, with particular emphasis on physiological and cellular processes.

Seaweed technology and integrated aquaculture.

The environmental physiology of invasive seaweeds.

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Completions: 25 PhD, 13 MPhil, >30 Master's  

Current:  4 PhD, 5 MRes/MSc students 

A Selection of Refereed Journal Articles

Recent Publications 

Park J, Yoon J-H, Depuy S, Oh J-W, Brown MT, Han T (2016) The sensitivity of an hydroponic lettuce root   elongation bioassay to metals, phenol and wastewaters. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 126: 147-53.

Papathanasiou V, Orfanidis S, Brown MT (2016) Cymodocea nodosa metrics as bioindicators of anthropogenic stress in N. Aegean, Greek coastal waters. Ecological Indicators 63: 61-70.

Roncarati F, Saez CA, Greco M, Gledhill M, Bitonti B, Brown MT (2015)  Response differences between Ectocarpus siliculosus populations to copper stress involve cellular exclusion and induction of the phytochelatin biosynthetic pathway. Aquatic Toxicology 159: 167-75.

Saez CA, Roncarati F, Moenne A, Moody AJ, Brown MT (2015) Copper-induced intra-specific oxidative damage and antioxidant responses in strains of the brown alga Ectocarpus siliculosus with different pollution histories. Aquatic Toxicology 159: 81-89.  

Saez CA, Gonzalez A, Contreras RA, Moody AJ, Moenne A, Brown MT (2015) A novel field transplantation technique reveals intra-specific metal induced oxidative responses in strains of Ectocarpus siliculosus with different pollution histories. Environmental Pollution 199: 130-38.

Kiim Y-J, Han Y-S, Kim E, Jung J, Kim S-H, Yoo S-J, Shin G-S, Oh J-J, Park A, Choi H, Kim M-S, Brown MT, Han T (2015) Application of the Ulva pertusa assay for a toxicity identification evaluation and reduction of effluent from a wastewater treatment plant. Frontiers in Environmental Science 3:2. doi:10.3389/fenvs. 2015.00002

Papathanasiou V, Orfanidis S, Brown MT (2015) Intra-specific responses of Cymodocea nodosa to macro-nutrients, irradiance and copper exposure. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 469: 113-122.

Ramesh K, Berry S, Brown MT (2015) Accumulation of silver by Fucus spp. (Phaeophyceae) and its toxicity to Fucus ceranoides under different salinity regimes. Ecotoxicology DOI 10.1007/s10646-015-1495-8

Responses to Pollutants (toxicity and resistance)

Li M,  Hu C, Xu Y, Gao X, Xu Y, Qian X, Brown MT, Cui Y (2009) Genotoxicity of organic pollutants in source of drinking on microalga Euglena gracilis.  Ecotoxicology 18, 669-676

Gammon M, Turner, A   Brown MT (2009) Accumulation of Cu and Zn in discarded antifouling paint particles by the marine gastropod, Littorina littorea.  Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 84, 447-452

Turner A, Pollock H, Brown MT (2009) Accumulation of Cu and Zn from antifouling paint particles by the marine macroalga Ulva lactuca. Environmental Pollution 157, 2314-2319

Turner A, Barrett M, Brown MT (2009) Processing of antifouling paint particles by Mytilus edulis. Environmental Pollution 157, 215-220

Han T, Kong  JA,  Kang HG, Kim SJ, Jin GS, Choi H, Brown MT (2011) Sensitivity of spore germination and germ tube elongation of Saccharina japonica to metal exposure. Ecotoxicology 20, 2056 - 2068.

Vonlanthen  S, Brown MT, Turner A. (2011) Toxicity of the of the amphoteric surfactant, cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) to the marine macroalga Ulva lactuca. Ecotoxicology 20: 202-207.

Masakorala K, Turner A, Brown MT (2011) Toxicity of synthetic surfactants to the marine macroalga, Ulva lactuca. Water Air Soil Pollution 218, 283-91.

Turner A, Brice D, Brown MT (in press) Interactions of silver nanoparticles with the marine macroalga, Ulva lactuca.Ecotoxicology 

Pawlik-Skowronska B, Pirszel J, Brown MT (2007) Concentrations of phytochelatins and glutathione found in natural assemblages of seaweeds depend on species and metal concentrations of the habitat. Aquatic Toxicology 83, 190-99.

Turner A, Lewis M, Brown MT (2007) Uptake of platinum group elements by the marine macroalga, Ulva lactuca Marine Chemistry 105, 271-80.

Devilla RA, Brown MT, Donkin M, Readman JW (2005) The effects of a PSII inhibitor on phytoplankton community structure as assessed by HPLC pigment analyses, microscopy and flow cytometry Aquatic Toxicology 71, 25-38.

Devilla RA, Brown MT, Donkin M, Readman JW (2005) Impact of antifouling booster biocides on single microalgal species and on a natural marine phytoplankton community. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 286, 1-12.

Chesworth JC, Donkin ME, Brown MT (2004) The interactive effects of the antifouling herbicides Irgarol 1051 and Diuron on the seagrass Zostera marina (L.) Aquatic Toxicology 66, 293-305.

Brown MT & Newman JE (2003) Physiological responses of Gracilariopsis longissima to sub-lethal copper concentrations. Aquatic Toxicology 64, 201-213.

Nielson H, Brown MT, Brownlee C (2003) Cellular responses of developing Fucus serratus embryos exposed to elevated concentrations of Cu2+. Plant Cell and Environment 26, 1737-1747.

Nielson H, Brownlee C, Brown MT (2003) Inter-population differences in inherited copper tolerance involves photosynthetic adaptation and exclusion mechanisms in Fucus serratus. New Phytologist 160, 157-165.


Park A, Kim Y-J, Choi E-M, BrownMT, Han T (2013) A novel bioassayusing root re-growth in Lemna

Aquatic Toxicology 140-141: 415-424.

Han T, Kong J-E, Brown MT (2009) Aquatic toxicity tests of Ulva pertusa Kjellman  (Ulvales, Chlorophyta) using spore germination and gametophyte growth. European J Phycology 44, 257-363.

Varma R, Turner A, Brown MT (2011) Bioaccumulation of metals by Fucus ceranoides in estuaries of South West England. Marine Pollution Bulletin 62, 2557-2562.

Han T, Han T-S, Park CY, Jun YS, Brown MT (2008) Spore release by the green alga Ulva: a   quantitative assay to evaluate aquatic toxicants. Environmental Pollution 153, 699-705.

Han YS, Brown MT, Park GS, Han T (2007) Evaluating aquatic toxicity by visual inspection of thallus color in the green macroalga Ulva: testing a novel bioassay. Environmental Science and Technology. 41, 3667-71.

Nielsen HD, Burridge TR, Brownlee C, Brown MT (2005) Prior exposure to metal contamination influences the results of toxicity tests of Fucus serratus embryos. Marine Pollution Bulletin 50, 1675-1680.

Phang S-M, Brown MT (2004) Biomonitoring of Tropical Coastal Ecosystems. 183 pp. University of Malaya Maritime Research Centre.

Sawidis T, Heinrich G & Brown MT (2003) Cesium-137 concentrations in marine macroalgae from different biotopes in the Aegean Sea (Greece). Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 54, 249-254.

Ismail M, Phang S-M, Tong S-L, Brown MT (2002) A modified toxicity testing method using tropical marine microalgae. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 75, 145-54.

Sawidis T, Brown MT, Zachariadis G, Sratis I (2001) Trace metal concentrations in marine macroalgae from different biotopes in the Aegean Sea. Environment International 27, 43-47.

Padinha C, Santos R, Brown MT (2000) Evaluating environmental contamination in Ria Formosa (Portugal) using stress indexes of Spartina maritima. Marine Environmental Research 49, 67-78.

Brown MT, Hodgkinson WH, Hurd CL (1999) Spatial and temporal variations in the copper and zinc concentrations of two green seaweeds from Otago Harbour, New Zealand. Marine Environmental Research 47, 175-184.

Environmental Stress Biology

Gao K, Yu H, Brown MT (2007) Solar PAR and UV radiation affects the physiology and morphology of the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. PCC 7120. J Photochemistry & Photobiology B: Biology 89, 117-24.  

Coelho SM, Taylor AR, Ryan KP, Sousa-Pinto I, Brown MT, & Brownlee C (2002) Spatio-temporal patterning of reactive oxygen production and Ca2+ wave propagation in Fucus Rhizoid cells. Plant Cell 14, 2369-2381.

Coelho S, Rijstenbil JW, Sousa-Pinto I, Brown MT (2001) Cellular responses to elevated light levels in Fucus spiralis embryos during the first days after fertilisation. Plant Cell and Environment 24, 801-810.

Coelho S, Brown MT, Rijstenbil JW (2000) Impact of anthropogenic stress on the early development stages of seaweeds. J Aquatic Ecosystem Stress and Recovery 7, 317 –333.

Reports & invited lectures

Invited/Plenary lectures

The stress signalling response pathway in Fucus embryos exposed to copper October 2003, 5th Asia-Pacific conference on Algal Biotechnology, Qingdao, China.

Early development of Fucus embryos is affected by exposure to elevated copper. May 2002 Asia-Pacific Conference on Marine Science and Technology, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Biological monitoring of aquatic pollution. April 2000, Monitoring of Tropical Coastal Ecosystems: a Pan-Malaysian workshop. University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia.

Techniques for the biomonitoring of marine ecosystems: an overview. May 2002, 2nd Workshop on Biomonitoring of Tropical Coastal Ecosystems/ National Network on Biomonitoring Tropical Marine Ecosystems, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Seaweeds and pollution: effects and responses at different levels of biological organisation. April 1999, 16th International Seaweed Symposium, Cebu, Philippines.

Using seaweeds as biomonitors of trace metal pollution: active versus passive approaches. April 1999, Institute of Postgraduate Studies and Research, University of Malaya.


Lowe D, Joint, McFadzen I, Donkin M, Gibbs S, Cheung V, Brown MT, Jha A, Cummins C (1999) Assessment of the impact of ozone depletion on aquatic ecosystems. Commissioned by Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions (DETR) 40 pp.