Professor Phil Murray


Honorary Professor Agriculture, Food and the Environment


Professor Phil Murray is passionate about soil ecology, grassland and sustainable agriculture and has published over 100 papers on a wide range of related subjects. He retired from Rothamsted Research in 2017

Professional appointments

  • 2021 Visiting Professor, Agriculture, Food and the Environment, Royal Agricultural University
  • 2019 Honorary Treasurer & Trustee British Grassland Society
  • 2017-2022 Academic Committee of Hulunbeir Grassland Ecosystem, National Field Observation Station
  • 2017- Emeritus Scientist, Rothamsted Research
  • 2015 Guest Professor; Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
  • 2012-2017 Visiting Professor; Department of Biomedical and Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth
  • 1983-2017 Principal Scientist, Rothamsted Research (and Antecedants)


Soil Biology, Grassland, Sustainable Agriculture.


  • ORCID ID: 0000-0002-5526-8317
  • Zou, G., Wu, B., Chen, B., Yang, Y., Feng, Y., Huang, J., Liu, Y., Murray, P.J. and Liu, W., 2023. What Are the Effects of Moso Bamboo Expansion into Japanese Cedar on Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi: Altering the Community Composition Rather than the Diversity. Journal of Fungi, 9(2), p.273.
  • Wang, Q., Pan, J., Ke, Y., Yu, S., Murray, P.J., Luo, T., Zhang, L. and Liu, W., 2022. Impact of Aspect on Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Diversity and Community Composition in a Natural Toona ciliata var. pubescens Forest in Subtropical China. Forests, 13(12), p.2100.
  • Reay, M.K., Pears, K.A., Kuhl, A., Evershed, R.P., Murray, P.J., Cardenas, L.M., Dungait, J.A. and Bull, I.D., 2022. Mechanisms of nitrogen transfer in a model clover-ryegrass pasture: a 15N-tracer approach. Plant and Soil, 480(1-2), pp.369-389.
  • Xue, H., Wang, Q., Mao, K., Liu, Y., Jiang, X., Murray, P.J., Zhang, L. and Liu, W., 2022. Positive Effects of Reforestation on the Diversity and Abundance of Soil Fauna in a Landscape Degraded Red Soil Area in Subtropical China. Forests, 13(10), p.1596.
  • Carlesso, L., Beadle, A., Cook, S.M., Hartwell, G., Mead, A., Ritz, K., Sparkes, D., Wu, L. and Murray, P.J., 2022. Impacts of field margin orientation on populations of soil‐dwelling invertebrates in relation to the direction and intensity of field traffic. Soil Use and Management, 38(1), pp.1015-1032.
  • Gregory, A.S., Joynes, A., Dixon, E.R., Beaumont, D.A., Murray, P.J., Humphreys, M.W., Richter, G.M. and Dungait, J.A., 2022. High‐yielding forage grass cultivars increase root biomass and soil organic carbon stocks compared with mixed‐species permanent pasture in temperate soil. European Journal of Soil Science, 73(1), p.e13160
  • Liu, W., Liao, L., Liu, Y., Wang, Q., Murray, P.J., Jiang, X., Zou, G., Cai, J. and Zhao, X., 2021. Effects of Phyllostachys pubescens expansion on underground soil fauna community and soil food web in a Cryptomeria japonica plantation, Lushan Mountain, subtropical China. Journal of Soils and Sediments, 21, pp.2212-2227.
  • Pan, X., Santonja, M., Courty, P.E., Butenschön, O., Berg, M., Murray, P., Yguel, B., Brulé, D. and Prinzing, A., 2020. Eco-evolutionary outsiders: Establishing in a distantly related neighbourhood delays and reorganizes nutrient recycling. Authorea Preprints.
  • Lui, W., Liao, L., Liu, Y., Wang, Q., Murray, P. J., Jiang, X., Zou, G., Cai, J. and Zhao, X. 2021. Effects of Phyllostachys pubescens expansion on underground soil fauna community and soil food web in a Cryptomeria japonica plantation, Lushan Mountain, subtropical China. Journal of Soils and Sediments. 21, pp. 2212-2227.
  • Xin, X., Jin, D., Ge, Y., Wang, J., Chen, J., Qi, J., Chu, H., Shao, C., Murray, P. J., Zhao, R., Qin, Q. and Tang, H. 2020. Climate Change Dominated Long‐Term Soil Carbon Losses of Inner Mongolian Grasslands. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 34 (10), p. e2020GB006559.
  • Liu, W., Zhang, Y., Jiang, S., Murray, P. J., Liao, L., Li, X. and Zhang, J. 2019. Spatiotemporal differences in the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi communities in soil and roots in response to long-term organic compost inputs in an intensive agricultural cropping system on the North China Plain Journal of Soils and Sediments. 19 (5), p. 2520–2533.
  • Carlesso, L., Beadle, A., Cook, S. M., Graham, H., Ritz, K., Sparkes, D., Wu, L. and Murray, P. J. 2019.Soil compaction effects upon litter decomposition in an arable field and implications for management of crop residues and headlands Applied Soil Ecology. 134 (February), pp. 31-37.
  • Humphreys, M. W., Doonan, J. H., Boyle, R., Rodriguez, A. C., Marley, C. L., Williams, K., Farrell, M. S., Brook, J., Gasior, D., Loka, D., Collins, R. P., Marshall, A. H., Allen, D. K., Yadav, R. S., Dungait, J. A. J., Murray, P. J. and Harper, J. A. 2018.Root imaging showing comparisons in root distribution and ontogeny in novel Festulolium populations and closely related perennial ryegrass varieties. Food and Energy Security. 7 (e00145).
  • Jin, D., Murray, P. J., Xin, X., Qin, Y., Chen, B., Qing, G., Zhang, Z. and Yan, R. 2018. Attribution of explanatory factors for change in soil organic carbon density in the native grasslands of Inner Mongolia, China Journal of Arid Land. 10 (3), pp. 375-387.
  • Takahashi, T., Harris, P., Blackwell, M. S. A., Cardenas, L. M., Collins, A. L., Dungait, J. A. J., Hawkins, J. M. B., Misselbrook, T. H., McAuliffe, G. A., McFadzean, J. N., Murray, P. J., Orr, R. J., Rivero, M. J., Wu, L. and Lee, M. R. F. 2018. Roles of instrumented farm-scale trials in trade-off assessments of pasture-based ruminant production systems. Animal. 12 (8), pp. 1766-1776.
  • Liu, Y., Li, Y., Harris, P., Cardenas, L. M., Dunn, R. M., Sint, H. M., Murray, P. J., Lee, M. R. F. and Wu, L. Modelling field scale spatial variation in water run-off, soil moisture, N2O emissions and herbage biomass of a grazed pasture using the SPACSYS model 2018. Geoderma. 315, pp. 49-58.
  • Norris, S. L., Blackshaw, R. P., Critchley, C. N. R., Dunn, R. M., Smith, K. E., Williams, J., Randall, N. P. and Murray, P. J. 2018. Intercropping flowering plants in maize systems increases pollinator diversity. Agricultural and Forest Entomology. 20 (2), pp. 246-254.
  • Li, Y., Liu, Y., Harris, P., Sint, H., Murray, P. J., Lee, M. R. F. and Wu, L. 2017. Assessment of soil water, carbon and nitrogen cycling in reseeded grassland on the North Wyke Farm Platform using a process-based model Science of the Total Environment. 603-604 (Supplement C), pp. 27-37.
  • Qi, A., Murray, P. J. and Richter, G. M. 2017. Modelling productivity and resource use efficiency for grassland ecosystems in the UK. European Journal of Agronomy. 89 (September), pp. 148-158.
  • Deniau, M., Jung, V., Le Lann, C., Morra, T., Murray, P. J. and Prinzing, A. 2017. Janzen-Connell patterns are not the result of Janzen-Connell process: Oak recruitment in temperate forests Perspectives In Plant Ecology Evolution And Systematics. 24 (February), pp. 72-79.