Keywords: microbial ecology, genomics, extreme environments, Antarctic, polar, biogeochemistry, microbial diversity, astrobiology, biological oceanography, adaptation
Dr. Murray is a molecular microbial ecologist with research interests centered around a common theme of utilizing molecular biological and genomic approaches to describe the diversity of life, understand the evolutionary history, ecological roles, and physiological capacity and capabilities of microorganisms that inhabit environments (or other organisms) several of which are considered to be at the extremes of where life exists. Dr. Murray has had long term interests in developing technologies to study microorganisms in the natural environment. Recent work has been dedicated to developing environmental genomics technologies for studying gene expression in organisms sampled directly from the environment, thereby circumventing the need for cultivation. Her research is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing upon oceanography, geosciences, computational biology, and chemistry. She collaborates with a number of scientists with expertise in these fields.
Dr. Murray’s research has taken her and members of her research group to the Antarctic Peninsula and the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica, deep sea hydrothermal vents of the East Pacific Rise, and Yellowstone National Park to study the microorganisms inhabiting these diverse, and extreme ecosystems. She has also worked locally in Lake Tahoe to characterize the diversity of organisms throughout the water column and in different periods of stratification through the year.
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