Dr. Murray focuses her expertise on global ecosystem conservation. She has taught Environmental & Marine Science for decades. She worked at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and using the submersibles at MBARI (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute), she examined deep-sea jelly habitat. She then studied the effects of rock type on community development in the intertidal zone. With a passion for empowering communities, Dr. Murray co-created a community science program for NOAA, LiMPETS, monitoring marine sanctuaries' rocky intertidal and sandy beaches. She continues to serve as a science advisor, bringing her wealth of knowledge to the table. She works to make science and data collection accessible and equitable. 

Dr. Murray leads study abroad courses collaborating with partners around the world. She spent a year teaching biodiversity and conservation management in Bhutan and ecology at the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde, Costa Rica. She focuses on participatory conservation projects where she is invited to collaborate. She has supported Indigenous cultures worldwide from the Maya in Tulum to the Shuar of Ecuador and the Monpas in Bhutan. With the Monpas, the first people in Bhutan, she worked with a local healer and the community to document medicinal plants. She engages in climate change resilience, climate action, and conservation planning as well. 

Dr. Murray is an advisor to the Northern Chumash Tribal Council (NCTC) supporting Chumash cultural values, wisdom, and traditions in marine and land management practices. Dr. Murray is co-creating a curriculum based on Chumash values and supporting the designation of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary. When designated, this will be the first Tribally nominated Sanctuary in the United States. Dawn works to promote conservation initiatives, writes curriculum, and advocates for a sustainable future, Indigenous Voices, and biodiversity management. 


Conservation planning, participatory conservation, environmental science, marine ecology/policy, climate science, oceanography, curriculum design


Ph.D., Ocean Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz 

M. S., Marine Science, University of California Santa Cruz

B.A., Biology, University of California Santa Cruz