Dr Thomas Murphy

Dr Thomas Murphy

Industrial Research Fellow - Green Wall - Low Carbon Devon

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)



Early career researcher interested in the use of nature-based solutions to tackle local and global environmental issues. I am the Livingwalls Industrial Research Fellow for the Low Carbon Devon project https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/sustainability-hub-low-carbon-devon


PhD - Optimising oak woodland establishment into UK upland pastures in the context of climate change; and the role of oak woodland in soil hydrological recovery for natural flood management - University of Plymouth & UK Environment Agency. 

Bsc - Environmental science (Hons) with extended year - Using a novel methodology to determine the environmental mechanisms governing the performance of native trees at an establishing woodland (dissertation) - University of Plymouth.

Professional membership

British Society of Soil Science (BSSS)

British Ecological Society (BES)



Teaching interests

I have demonstrated on multiple modules within the Environmental Sciences Bsc program and Environmental Consultancy Msc. 



Research interests

I am an early career scientist, with an interest in all aspects of plant science and the application of nature-based solutions (NbS) to climate change. Whilst I have a particular passion for tree and restoration ecology, my career aims more broadly are to further the effectiveness of nature-based/green engineering interventions through improved understanding of plant-environment interactions. My PhD looked at the impact of oak woodland establishment on soil de-compaction in UK uplands pasture and the physical and management constraints to oak expansion.

Grants & contracts

Creative Associates 2021 - 'Trees for Climate: an emergency Help-guide' - https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/institutes/sustainable-earth/creative-associates




Murphy TR, Hanley ME, Ellis JE, Lunt PH (2020) Native woodland establishment improves soil hydrological functioning in UK upland pastoral catchments. Land Degradation & Developmenthttps://doi.org/10.1002/ldr.3762 (Open Access)

Murphy TR, Hanley ME, Ellis JE, Lunt PH (2019) Deviation between projected and observed precipitation trends greater with altitude. Climate Research 79: 77-89. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01583


Murphy TR, Hanley ME, Ellis JS, Lunt PH (2020) Lessons for woodland establishment - Nature-based Solutions (NbS) Conference - Digital Dialogues

Other Publications

Popular Science:

Murphy TR (2020) Ten year woodland surveys - Moor Trees Newsletter, Autumn edition, pp 5 (edited by Wisbey, N).

Murphy TR (2018) Wistmans wood – examing the response of oak trees to climate in a special woodland. Moor Trees Newsletter, Spring edition, pp 5.

Murphy TR (2015) Research on tree stress at Howton Down. Moor Trees Newsletter, Autumn edition, pp 4.



Reports & invited lectures

Murphy TR (2021) Optimising Greenwalls - Biodiversity & Carbon Sequestration - Future Plymouth 2030 webinar - https://www.futureplymouth2030.co.uk/webinars/7-biodiversity-carbon-sequestration

Murphy TR (2020) Moor Trees woodland surveys - Key note speech at Moor Trees Annual General Meeting - online.

Murphy TR (2020) Why plant trees? - Plymouth Tree Partnership (PTP). Sustainability Hub, Kirkby Lodge, Plymouth, UK.

Murphy TR (2019) Slowing the flow - conference speech. British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) Early Career Researcher (ECR) conference, Sheffield, UK. - Prize for best talk.

Murphy TR (2018) At the limits of growth? – Evidence for impacts of recent cimate change on the growth of Quercus robur in relic upland Atlantic oak woodland, Wistmans Wood, Dartmoor National Park. Journal of Ecosystem & Ecography 8: 45. World conference on Ecology, Berlin, Germany. doi:10.4172/2157-7625-C1-032.

Murphy TR (2016) Woodland & climate change - Key note speech at Moor Trees Annual General Meeting, Woodah farm, Devon, UK

Conferences organised

Natural Flood Management day (14th July 2019) - Bringing climate change and natural flood management science to local stakeholders and hearing from flood affected residents. Venue - Buckfastleigh Town Hall - Support from Buckfastleigh Flood Action Group and UK Environment Agency.

Other academic activities

Woodland on Dartmoor (19th August 2018) - The potential benefits of woodland for Natural Flood Management. Venue - Dendles Waste - field trip to discuss climate change and land management in UK uplands - Support from Moor Trees (Moortrees.org).