Dennis D. Murphy, Ph.D.

Research Professor
University of Nevada, Reno
Biology Department-314
City, State, Zip
Reno, Nevada 89557
Award Year


Project Details

Murphy utilized much of his award to focus his efforts on policy advocacy to advance the reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act, helping the minority articulate their positions and hold critical statutory ground. He also convened a series of workshops at Stanford, including a workshop etitled "Science and Law in Conservation Planning" which incorporated a dozen of the most significant contributors to the southern California NCCP program from government, the private sector and academia.

The series also included a workshop on incentives to private landowner contributions to biodiversity conservation; an implementation dialogue among agency staff and private landowners and their representatives; and a gathering of prominent conservation scientists to draft a consensus statement on private lands planning under the Endangered Species Act.


Dennis Murphy currently conducts studies investigating the impacts of livestock grazing on riparian communities. In particular, he uses butterflies as surrogate taxa to assess ecosystem health. In his previous position as Director of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University, Murphy conducted wide-ranging conservation biology programs in sites as diverse as Ecuador, Guatemala and Madagascar.

He was the Lead Science Advisor to California's first Natural Communities Conservation Planning effort and was instrumental in developing a reserve design and management plan to protect southern California's imperiled coastal sage scrub ecosystem. Murphy also served on the Thomas Committee which was enjoined by Congress to provide a "scientifically credible plan to conserve the northern spotted owl" and on the National Park Service's Bighorn Sheep Advisory Committee.



Ph.D., Stanford University
1981: Biological Sciences, California, USA

Bachelor of Science, University of California at Berkeley
1974: Entomology, California, USA


Marine Fellow
1992: Pew Fellows Program in Conservation and the Environment

Chevron Conservation Award

Group Award
Wildlife Society

Exemplary Service Award
U.S. Forest Service


  • Murphy, D.D. and D.A. Duffus. 1996. Conservation biology and marine biodiversity. Conservation Biology 10(2): 311
  • Dwyer, L.E., D.D. Murphy and P.R. Ehrlich. 1995. Property Rights Case Law and the Challenge to the Endangered Species Act. Conservation Biology 9(4): 725
  • Dwyer, L.E., D.D. Murphy, S.P. Johnson and M.A. O'Connell. 1995. Avoiding the trainwreck: Observations from the frontlines of natural community conservation planning in southern California. Endangered Species Update 12(12)
  • Murphy, D. 1995. An overview of the National Academy of Sciences report: Science and the Endangered Species Act. Endangered Species Update 12(9): 8-10
  • Launer, A.E. and D.D. Murphy. 1994. Umbrella species and the conservation of habitat fragments: A case of a threatened butterfly and a vanishing grassland ecosystem. Biological Conservation 69(2): 145
  • Murphy, D., D. Wilcove, R. Noss, J. Harte, C. Safina, J. Lubchenco, T. Root, V. Sher, L. Kaufman, M. Bean and S. Pimm. 1994. On reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act. Conservation Biology 8(1): 1-3
  • Lawrence, N. and D. Murphy. 1992. New perspectives or old priorities? Conservation Biology 6(3): 465-468
  • Murphy, D.D. and B.R. Noon. 1992. Integrating scientific methods with habitat conservation planning: reserve design for northern spotted owls. Ecological Applications 2(1): 3-17
  • Murphy, D.D. 1991. Invertebrate conservation and the Endangered Species Act. In: The Endangered Species Act: A Fifteen Year Retrospective (K. Kohm ed.). Island Press, Washington DC, p. 181-198
  • Murphy, D.D. and B.R. Noon. 1991. Coping with uncertainty in wildlife biology. Journal of Wildlife Management 55(4): 773-782