James has a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Cell & Molecular Biology from University College Dublin and a PhD in computational biology from the Centre for Scientific Computing and Complex Systems Modelling in Dublin City University. His research background involves developing theoretical approaches to model biological population dynamics. These can range in scale from the microscopic (e.g. bacterial cell interactions with antibiotics) to the regional scale (invasive species dynamics in the marine environment). They share in common the application of complex systems theory to understand how population behaviour emerges from dynamic interactions at the individual level.
His current research project POLLIVAL (led by Dr. Jane Stout and funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency) involves developing and assessing methodologies to evaluate pollination services in an economic context. Pollination is a vital ecosystem service provided by many different species of animals including honeybees, bumble bees, and other insects, as well as some birds and mammals. It plays a vital role in many aspects of our agricultural and horticultural industries, as well as in terms of supporting and regulating healthy ecosystems and maintaining biodiversity.
Assessing ‘natural capital’ and the ecosystem services which flow from it are key national environmental research priorities for the EPA. By understanding and communicating the total value of key ecosystem services, such as pollination, the research team will develop a better appreciation of natural capital for policy and planning decisions at many levels and across several sectors.
- Murphy, J.T., Johnson, M.P. and Viard, F., “A theoretical examination of environmental effects on the life cycle schedule and range limits of the invasive seaweed Undaria pinnatifida,” Biological Invasions, pp.1-12, 2017.
- Murphy, J.T., M. P. Johnson, and F. Viard, "A modelling approach to explore the critical environmental parameters influencing the growth and establishment of the invasive seaweed Undaria pinnatifida in Europe," Journal of Theoretical Biology, vol. 396, pp. 105-115, 2016.
- Murphy, J.T., Johnson, M.P. and Viard, F., “An Agent-Based Modelling Approach to Biological Invasion by Macroalgae in European Coastal Environments,” In Proceedings of ECCS 2014 (pp. 105-115). Springer International Publishing, 2016.
- Murphy, J.T. and M. P. Johnson, "A theoretical analysis of the Allee effect in wind-pollinated cordgrass plant invasions," Theoretical Population Biology, vol. 106, pp. 14-21, 2015.
- Murphy, J.T., M. P. Johnson, and R. Walshe, “Modeling the impact of spatial structure on growth dynamics of invasive plant species," International Journal of Modern Physics C, vol. 24, pp. 20, 2013.