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.

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.


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

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 (Open Access)


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).