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James Murphy is the 2018 Hawaiʻi Sea Grant Knauss Fellow, partnered with the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER). As an Ocean Exploration Fellow under OER’s Science and Technology team, James will be involved in a range of activities enhancing the OER mission. Such work includes improving sample data management, developing new surveying standards, improving community engagement, synthesizing exploration reports following dives, and participating in surveys aboard the Okeanos Explorer. His tenure in Silver Spring will also include participation in national conferences, ranging from the Ocean Sciences Meeting to National Ocean Exploration Forum, hearings at the Capitol, and involvement with the “Expert is In” program at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
James is a current Ph.D. candidate in Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, studying the identification of molecular biomarkers for stress detection in corals. His work in coral molecular biology began during his Bachelors of Science Degree in Marine Biology from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa through the NIH-funded Minorities Access to Research Careers program. His work at the Kewalo Marine Laboratory under Dr. Robert Richmond has consisted of conducting novel research exploring anerobic respiration in Montipora capitata, characterizing larval settlement behaviors, and identifying the effect of xenobiotics on the health of larval and adult coral. This research aims to advance the detection of sub-lethal stress in corals and catalog coral response to various environmental threats.
Complimenting his graduate research, James has been heavily involved in STEM activities serving the Hawai‘i community and other underrepresented minorities. James’ work has led to his involvement serving hundreds throughout O‘ahu, as a NOAA Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, Sanctuary Ocean Count site Co-Leader and USFWS Certified Outreach Volunteer Coordinator for the Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge Kalaeloa Unit. A founding member and former Secretary of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science ‘Ilima Chapter and member of the Native Hawaiian Science and Engineering Mentorship Program, James has also conducted and participated in STEM outreach events enriching K-12 education throughout the State of Hawai‘i. These cooperative efforts have fostered a greater understanding of how to effectively communicate science to a dynamic audience and provided a base from which to incorporate his own Native Hawaiian background with his professional experiences.
From this foundation of research and science communication, James looks to this next year with the Knauss Fellowship as an opportunity to diversify his knowledge base in the science and technology of deep-sea exploration, better understand marine policy development at a Federal-level, and build strong ties within OER and the greater exploration community.