Desneiges (Deni) Murray

Deni Murray Photo

Research Topic

The response of atmospheric nitrogen deposition to global change: effects on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems 


The exchange of N between the atmosphere and biosphere through precipitation represents the largest flux of N to ecosystems. Movement of water and the form of wet deposition N are changing due to anthropogenic and climate change pressures. I am interested in addressing questions like (1) What are the long-term and seasonal trends in N wet deposition? (2) Are nitrogen deposition inputs and watershed outputs synchronized? (3) What is the spatial variability in wet deposition organic matter concentrations, composition, and sources? This work integrates a range of themes, including atmospheric and aquatic chemistry, hydrology, stream ecology, analytical chemistry, and data science. Research addressing these questions helps to describe how different aspects of global change are influencing the cycling of nitrogen across the land-atmosphere interface.

Awards and Activities

Grants & Fellowships
  • 2022 NASA FINESST Fellowship Recipient, $150,000
  • 2023 Andean-Amazonian Watershed Experience Fellowship, $6,000
  • 2022 CUAHSI Hydroinformatics Innovation Fellowship, $5,000
  • 2018 Extension Water Initiative Grant, J. Brahney (PI), B. Neilson, D. Murray, $21,482
  • 2014 Frye-Rigg-Hotson Undergraduate Research Grant, $1,500
Scholarships & Awards
  • 2022 Outstanding Student Presentation Award American Geophysical Union 2022, $250
  • 2022 National Center for Atmospheric Research Graduate Visitor Program Award, $5,000
  • 2019 Utah State University Robbins Award Master’s Student Researcher of the Year
  • 2019 Royal Society of Chemistry Water Science Forum Bursary Award, $2,530
  • 2019, 2018 Utah State University Ecology Center Graduate Research Support, $4,800
  • 2018 Society of Wetland Scientists, Student Research Award, $1,450
  • 2018 Society of Freshwater Science Endowment Award, $1,000
Teaching Experience
  • CONNECT STEM Technical Writing Instructor, University of New Hampshire, Aug 2022
  • Connors Writing Center Graduate Writing Assistant, University of New Hampshire, 2021 - present
  • Workshop: R programming skills, Ryder Environmental, Mar 2021
  • Workshop: National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, Ryder Environmental, Nov 2020
  • Teaching Assistant: Water and Society, University of Washington, 2016
Outreach & Service
  • Reviewer: Journal of Hydrology; Journal of American Water Resources Association, 2021 -present
  • NRESS Student Network Committee Member, University of New Hampshire, 2022-present
  • Ecology Center Seminar Committee Member, Utah State University, 2018-2019
  • Graduate Student Council Member, Utah State University, 2018-2019 
  • Waituna Lagoon Reconsenting Technical Committee Member, Ryder Environmental, May 2021

Selected Presentations and Publications

  • Murray, D.S., Neilson, B.T., and Brahney, J. (2023) Beaver-pond geomorphology influences sediment nitrogen retention and denitrification. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. in press.
  • Murray, D.S., Shattuck, M.D., McDowell, W.H., and Wymore, A.S. (2022) Nitrogen wet deposition stoichiometry: the role of organic nitrogen, seasonality, and snow. Biogeochemistry   
  • Murray, D.S., Neilson, B.T., and Brahney, J. (2021) Source or sink? Quantifying beaver pond influence on non-point source pollutant transfer in the Intermountain West. Journal of Environmental Management, 285:112127
  • Murray, D.S., Moges, E., Larsen, L., Shattuck, M. D., McDowell, W. H., and Wymore, A. S. Quantifying the synchrony of wet deposition N inputs and watershed N exports using information theory. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2022.
  • Murray, D.S., Larsen, L., Newcomer, M., and Wymore, A. S. The Critical Zone Biogeochemistry and Hydrology Data Pipeline. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2022. *Selected for Outstanding Student Presentation Award
  • Murray, D.S., Shattuck, M.D., McDowell, W.H., and Wymore, A.S. Nitrogen wet deposition stoichiometry: the role of organic nitrogen, seasonality, and snow. Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting, 2022, Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition Session
  • Murray, D.S., B. Neilson and J. Brahney, Can beavers mitigate NPS pollution? Society of Freshwater Science Conference 2019, Contributed Session 10 Biogeochemistry.
  • Murray, D.S., B. Neilson and J. Brahney, Beaver Induced Biogeochemical Alterations in Mountain Streams Society of Freshwater Science Conference 2018, Poster Session 10 Land-Water Boundaries.


  • PhD Student – Natural Resources and Earth System Sciences, 2021 - Present, University of New Hampshire – Department of Natural Resources and the Environment
  • M.S. Freshwater Ecology and Biogeochemistry, 2020, Utah State University - Department of Watershed Sciences
  • B.Sc. in Evolution, Ecology and Conservation Biology, 2016, Minors: Environmental Studies; Environmental Science and Resource Management, University of Washington

Professional Positions

  • Freshwater Ecologist, Ryder Environmental, Dunedin New Zealand, Jan 2020-July 2021, Supervisor: Dr. Ruth Goldsmith
    • Contributing to and overseeing ecological assessments throughout New Zealand
    • Writing technical reports for clients such as regional councils, Department of Conservation, and private companies
    • Managing large (> 300,000 observations) timeseries datasets (e.g., Hilltop, LAWA)
    • Performing field assessments and processing environmental samples
  • Data Analyst, Utah State University, Aug 2016-Feb 2018, Supervisor: Dr. Kristin Hulvey
    • Managed and analyzed a large dataset (plant species and height along 100 m transects)

    • Performed preliminary statistical analysis of data, organization of files and data visualization in Microsoft Excel, SPSS and R.

  • Field Crew Leader, Utah State University, May-Aug 2016, Supervisor: Dr. Kristin Hulvey

    • Managed a rangeland riparian ecosystem services research project in northern Utah that aimed to quantify the differences in ecosystem services across a variety of cattle grazing techniques

    • Managed a rangeland riparian ecosystem services research project in northern Utah that aimed to quantify the differences in ecosystem services across a variety of cattle grazing techniques

  • Field Technician, University of Washington, Aug-Sept 2014, Supervisor: Dr. Janneke Hille Ris Lambers

    • Plant community ecology fieldwork (e.g., identification, height, count, diversity) as part of a project that assessed the effects of climate change on Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar range.