University of California, Riverside

Faculty Profile System

Michael A. Murphy

Michael A. Murphy

Professor Emeritus

Department of Earth Sciences

Research Areas

  • Invertebrate Paleontology

Research Interests:

My research interests are in refinement and precision of the stratigraphic record through the integration of all methods used in sequencing events in Earth history. My own research has centered on three groups of organisms: Lower Cretaceous ammonites, Silurian-Lower Devonian conodonts, and Silurian-Lower Devonian graptolites and on the evolution of particular lineages within these groups. The integrative aspects of the research involve collaboration with specialists in other taxonomic groups, currently corals, ostracodes, and microvertebrates, as well as those who study geophysical and geochemical aspects of stratigraphy.
A second interest involves the construction of a stratigraphic-taxonomic data base for the areas of my research. Too often excellent data concerning the stratigraphic record are lost. They never get published for want of time to treat all of our collections thoroughly. Data auxiliary to the main thrust of the research are set aside and commonly die with the researcher. I am for this reason constructing a data base that consists of three parts: graphic display of all sections I have measured with exact map locations and all samples plotted on them; a rogues gallery of all specimens from each locality that enables the interested observer to view the entire spectrum and not just the figured specimens; cross referenced list of all the taxa identified as accurately as possible. This data base, the rudiments of which will be posted on this web site, will be available for use by any interested worker for the asking.

Recent Projects:

The conodont biostratigraphy across the Silurian Devonian systemic boundary at the boundary stratotype at Klonk, Czech Republic in collaboration with Peter Carls, Techniches Universitat, Braunschweig, J. I. Valenzuela-Rios, Universitad de Valencia, Karsten Weddige, Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut, Frankfurt, and Ladislaw Slavik, Czech Geological Survey. Pridoli (Silurian) of the type section at Pozary, Czech Republic and its comparison with the sections in Nevada and the central Spanish Pyrenees with the same group of collaborators. Integration of the rugose coral biostratigraphy with conodont and brachiopod biostratigraphy in central Nevada with A. E. H. Pedder, Canadian Geological Survey.
Upper Albian (Cretaceous) ammonite biostratigraphy of northern California and its relation to the European succession of England and France with P. U. Rodda, California Academy of Sciences, F. Amédro, Calais, France. History and taxonomy of the Lower Devonian icriodontid conodonts with Peter Roopnarine, California Academy of Sciences. History and skeletal reconstruction of the conodont genus Pedavis and its use as a zonal indicator with T. Uyeno, Canadian Geological Survey.


  • B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 1950
  • Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1954


  • Murphy, M. A. and Rodda, P. U. 2006. California Early Cretaceous Phylloceratidae (Ammonoidea).University of California, Riverside, Campus Museum Contribution, 7: 1-97, 9 pls.
  • Murphy, M. A. 2005. Pragian zonal classification in Nevada, western North America. Revista Espagnola de Paleontología, 20(2): 177-206.
  • Murphy, M. A., Valenzuela-Ríos, José I., and Carls, P. 2004. On Classification of Pridoli (Silurian)-Lochkovian (Devonian) Spathognathodontidae (Conodonts). University of Califronia, Riverside, Campus Museum Contribution 6:1-25, 3 figs.
  • Pedder, A. E. H. and Murphy, M. A. 2004. Emsian (Lower Devonian) Rugosa of Nevada: Revision of systematics and stratigrapic ranges, and reassessment of faunal provincialism. Journal of Paleontology, 78(5): 838-865.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Department of Earth Sciences
Geology Building

Tel: (951) 827-3434
Fax: (951) 827-4324