Student Blogs & Vignettes

Naja Murphy

Naja Murphy

Naja Murphy - USF CMS graduate student

About my research

My Ph.D. dissertation will look at metals in the Gulf of Mexico and their influence on phytoplankton productivity and harmful algal blooms. I aim to understand how contaminants influence the initiation, maintenance, and cessation of red tide events. To do this, we will collect water samples aboard the R/V Weatherbird II and the R/V Walton Smith to characterize seawater composition and analyze how seawater chemistry changes after Saharan dust events. This research is critical to mitigating the detrimental human health and economic impacts resulting from harmful algal blooms.


I joined the Ph.D. program at CMS to be involved in critical harmful algal bloom research along Florida’s Gulf coast. Having the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Kristen Buck, NOAA, FIO, and FWC, I will create new knowledge that will help inform ecosystem-based management and contribute to harmful algal bloom mitigation efforts. Besides fantastic research opportunities and quality education, there is so much to enjoy at beautiful downtown St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay. From fabulous seafood to white sand beaches, the area is a water lover’s paradise!