Professor Daniel Murphy

Establishing sustainability in soil management for
better agricultural futures

Professor Daniel Murphy's research focuses on how the diversity and functions of soil organisms are impacted by land management practices and climate, paying particular attention to nutrient cycling and greenhouse gas emissions.

Growing up in rural Australia, Professor Murphy connected to agriculture and the land from a young age. His early research years were spent at Rothamsted Research in the United Kingdom, where he worked on the oldest agricultural trial in the world. The trial, established in 1843, includes management treatments to build soil organic carbon and alter nutrient levels, and has been replicated across agricultural regions in China where Professor Murphy holds High-End Foreign Experts status.

Professor Murphy currently manages a research program addressing issues relating to the development of sustainable management practices for agriculture, horticulture and mine sites under rehabilitation.

The major focus of this research is the biological fertility of soil. UWA staff and students employ a range of molecular, isotopic, biochemical and enzymatic tools to study microbial ecology and nutrient cycling and issues relating to microbial function and diversity. The research is primarily funded through the Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation, the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, the Australian Research Council and industry partners.

From 2012 to 2016, Professor Murphy held an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship, enabling him to concentrate his research on ecosystems of international importance to Australia – both in terms of global economy (China) and international stewardship (the Arctic).

I see agricultural scientists as playing an ever-increasing role within society as we strive to address the growing management and climate pressures for soil, water and food security. I am particularly interested in how soils function to provide the ecosystem services on which society exists.Professor Daniel Murphy

Feeding our future by improving soil quality




Grains Research and Development Corporation

  • 'Increasing profit from N, P and K fertiliser inputs into the evolving cropping sequences in the Western Region'
    Craig Scanlan, Professor Daniel Murphy, Frances Hoyle, Dr Louise Barton and Professor Zed Rengel


University of Melbourne

  • 'Healthy Soils for Sustainable Food Production & Environmental Quality'
    Professor Andy Whiteley, Frances Hoyle, Dr Louise Barton, Professor Daniel Murphy and Professor Tony O'Donnell


Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia

  • 'SoilsWest Alliance – Agriculture'
    Professor Daniel Murphy and Frances Hoyle

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