Karen Riva Murray, Ph.D.


I have worked with the U.S. Geological Survey as an aquatic ecologist since 1991. My major research focus since 2006 has been mercury cycling and bioaccumulation in streams and rivers. I also investigate the effects of urbanization,  forest fragmentation, and hydrologic alteration on stream ecoysystems.  I especially enjoy integrating biological elements (e.g. food web dynamics, community ecology) into multi-disciplinary studies. I have a Ph.D. in environmental biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, and a B.A. from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin.

Recent Accomplishments


Professional Studies/Experience


Professional societies/affiliations/committees/editorial boards

Honors, awards, recognition, elected offices

Scientific/Oral Presentations, Abstracts

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Publications – Refereed Journals:

Riva-Murray, K., Bradley, P.M., Scudder Eikenberry, B.C., Knightes, C.D., Journey, C.A., Brigham, M.E., Button, D.T., 2013, Optimizing stream water mercury sampling for calculation of fish bioaccumulation factors, Environmental Science and Technology, 11: 5904-5912.

Riva-Murray, K., Bradley, P.M., Chasar, L.C., Button, D.T., Brigham, M.E., Scudder Eikenberry, B.C., Journey, C. A., Lutz, M. A., 2013, Influence of dietary carbon on mercury bioaccumulation in streams of the Adirondack Mountains of New York and the Coastal Plain of South Carolina, USA, Ecotoxicology, 22: 60-71.

Bradley, P.M., Journey, C.A., Bringham, M.E., Burns, D.A., Button, D.T., Riva-Murray, K., 2013. Intra- and inter-basin mercury comparisons: Importance of basin scale and time-weighted methylmercury estimates. Environmental Pollution, 172: 42 – 52.

Bradley, P.M., Journey, C.A., Lowery, M.A., Brigham, M.E., Burns, D.A., Button, D.T., Chapelle, F.H., Lutz, M.A., Marvin-DiPasquale, M.C., Riva-Murray, K., 2012. Shallow groundwater mercury supply in a coastal plain stream. Environmental Science and Technology, 46: 7503 – 7511.

Burns, D. A., Riva-Murray, K., Bradley, P.M., Aiken, G.R., Brigham, M.E., 2012, Landscape controls on total and methyl Hg in the upper Hudson River Basin, New York, USA, Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, v. 117, G01034, 15 pp.

Riva-Murray, K., Chasar, L.C., Bradley, P.M., Burns, D.A., Brigham, M.E., Smith, M.J.,  Abrahamsen, T.A., 2011. Spatial patterns of mercury in macroinvertebrates and fishes from streams of two contrasting forested landscapes in the eastern United States. Ecotoxicology 20:1530-1542.

Bradley, P.M., Burns, D.A., Riva-Murray, K., Brigham, M.E., Button, D.T., Chasar, L.C.,  Marvin-DiPasquale, M., Lowery, M.A., Journey, C.A., 2011. Spatial and seasonal variability of dissolved methylmercury in two basins in the eastern United States, Environmental Science and Technology 45: 2048-2055.

Riva-Murray, K., Riemann, R., Murdoch, P., Fischer, J.M., Brightbill, R., 2010. Landscape characteristics affecting streams in urbanizing regions of the Delaware River Basin (New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, U.S., Landscape Ecology 25:1489-1503.

Kennen, J.G., Riva-Murray, K. , Beaulieu, K.M., 2010. Determining hydrologic factors that influence stream macroinvertebrates across the northeastern United States. Ecohydrology 3:88-106

Phillips, P.J., Nowell, L.H., Gilliom, R.J., Nakagaki, N., Murray, K.R., VanAlstyne, C., 2010. Composition, distribution, and potential toxicity of organochlorine mixtures in bed sediments of streams. Science of TheTotal Environment 408: 594-606.

Burns, D. A., Riva-Murray, K., Bode, R.W., Passy, S., 2008. Biological and chemical responses to reduced levels of acid deposition in the Neversink River basin, Catskill Mountains, New York, 1987-2003, Ecological Indicators 8: 191-203.

Baldigo, B.P., Riva-Murray, K., Schuler, G.E., 2004. Effects of environmental and spatial features on mussel populations and communities in a North American River. Walkerana 14:1-32.

Riva-Murray, K., Bode, R.W., Phillips, P.J., Wall, G.L., 2002. Impact source determination with biomonitoring data in New York State: concordance with environmental data. Northeastern Naturalist 9(2):127-162.

Daniels, R.A., Riva-Murray, K., Halliwell, D.B., Vana-Miller, D.L., Bilger, M.D., 2002. An index of biological integrity for northern mid-Atlantic slope drainages. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 131:1044-1060.

Wall, G. R.; Phillips, P. J., Riva-Murray, K., 1998. Seasonal and spatial patterns of nitrate and silica concentrations in Canajoharie Creek, New York. Journal of Environmental Quality, 27: 381 – 389.

Phillips, P.J., Riva-Murray, K., Hollister, H.M., Flanary, E.A., 1997. Distribution of DDT, chlordane, and total PCBs in bed sediments in the Hudson River Basin. New York Earth Science and the Environment 3(1):26-47.


Publications – USGS reports

Beaulieu, K.M., Button, D.T., Scudder Eikenberry, B.C., Riva-Murray, K., Chasar, L.C., Bradley, P.M., Burns, D.A., 2012. Mercury bioaccumulation studies in the National Water-Quality Assessment Program—biological data from New York and South Carolina, 2005–2009: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 705, 13 pp.

Journey, C.A., Burns, D.A., Riva-Murray, K., Brigham, M.E., Button, D.T., Feaster, T.D., Petkewich, M.D., Bradley, P.M., 2012. Fluvial transport of mercury, organic carbon, suspended sediment, and selected major ions in contrasting stream basins in South Carolina and New York, October 2004 to September 2009 : U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5173, 125 p.

Scudder Eikenberry, B.C., Riva-Murray,  K.,  Smith, M.J., Bradley, P.M., Button, D.T., Clark, J.M., Burns, D.A., Journey, C.A., 2011, Environmental Settings of Streams Sampled for Mercury in New York and South Carolina: 2005–2009, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1318, Reston, Virginia, 115 p.

Bilger, M.D., Riva-MurrayK.,  Wall, G.L., 2005. A checklist of the aquatic invertebrates of the Delaware River Basin, 1990-2000. U.S. Geological Survey Data-Series Report 116, 35p.

Brightbill, R.A., Riva-Murray, K. ,  Bilger, M.D., Byrnes, J.D., 2004. Total mercury and methylmercury in game fish fillets, water, and bed sediment from selected streams in the Delaware River Basin, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, 1998-2001. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 03-4183, 30p.

Fischer, J.M., Riva-Murray, K., Hickman, R.E., Chichester, D.C., Brightbill, R.A., Romanok, K.M., Bilger, M.D., 2004. Water Quality in the Delaware River Basin, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware, 1998-2001. USGS Circular: 1227

Riva-Murray, K., Brightbill, R.A., Bilger, M.D., 2003. Trends in concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls in fish tissue from selected sites in the Delaware River Basin in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, 1969-98. U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations Report 01-4066, 19p.

Wall, G.R.; Riva-Murray, K., Phillips, P.J., 1998. Water quality in the Hudson River basin, New York and adjacent states, 1992-95.USGS Circular: 1165

Murray, K.R., Freeman, W.O., 1994, Water quality in the Hudson River Basin: Working together to solve the puzzle: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 94-90, 4 p.