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Dr. Murray Humphries


Murray Humphries is a Canadian wildlife ecologist based at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, whose research has successfully linked fundamental ecological research to the priorities and engagement of Indigenous communities in northern regions. Murray was born and raised in Brandon, Manitoba, has degrees from University of Manitoba (BSc, hons), University of Alberta (MSc) and McGill University (PhD), and was an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Aberdeen, Scotland before returning to McGill to commence a faculty appointment in 2003. He is currently an Associate Professor of Wildlife Biology in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University.

Since 2010, Prof. Humphries has served as academic director of McGill’s Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment, an inter-disciplinary research centre dedicated to community-based research on food and the environment. Murray also holds the McGill Chair in Northern Research, funded by the Institut Nordique du Québec. In this role, Murray initiated and currently leads McGill North, a network of northern and circumpolar researchers at McGill, including professors, post docs, and graduate students from 9 faculties and more than 20 departments/units. The objective of McGill North is to promote, mobilize, and interdisciplinize northern, arctic, and circumpolar research at McGill, and to assist McGill researchers in northern community engagement and knowledge co-production. In 2017, Murray received an outstanding alumnus award from the University of Manitoba and was a member of the expert panel that generated the Council of Canadian Academies 2014 report on Aboriginal Food Security in Northern Canada. Murray co-led with Stan Boutin the Environmental Innovation NSERC-CREATE graduate training program based at McGill and the University of Alberta, which partnered with more than 75 non-government, government, industry, and Indigenous organizations to train 50 graduate students and postdocs for careers in wildlife conservation and environmental impact. Murray is currently serving as a returning co-chair of the Ecology and Evolution Review Panel for NSERC Discovery Grants, is a member of the synthesis team and serves on the board of directors for the NSERC Strategic Network ResNet, and sits on the Board of Directors for Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, a leading wildlife research and conservation NGO in Canada.

Murray’s career teaching contributions at McGill combine his love of teaching, passion for wildlife, and respect for people and livelihoods that depend on natural resources. Murray teaches under-graduate classes in organismal biology, natural history, and wildlife management. Most recently his teaching has expanded to a new Indigenous success pathway program, developed in partnership with Cree organization based in northern Quebec, to provide professional development training in fish and wildlife sciences for community officers.

Murray’s research focuses on environmental determinants of wildlife physiology, behaviour, and trophic interactions, as well as the contributions of wildlife conservation to the traditional food systems of Indigenous Peoples. This focus has led him to studies of the evolution of participatory methodologies in the natural sciences, the nature of community-university research partnerships, and documentation of the food knowledge and wildlife stewardship of northern Indigenous Peoples. As a scientist and researcher, Murray extends beyond academia by engaging Indigenous, government, and non-government organizations, in partnered research and graduate training that includes the knowledge and addresses the priorities of local people.

Murray’s prairie roots and Montreal home are distant from many of Canada’s mountain landscapes, but his mountain research experience includes studies of wildlife habitat selection and species coexistence in and around the St. Elias, Ogilvie, British, and Richardson Mountains in the Yukon, the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec, and the Adirondack Mountains in north-eastern United States. Murray has also hiked in the Rockies in Alberta and the Alps in Switzerland, Austria, and Italy and skied in Alberta’s Rockies, BC’s Coastal Range, and Wyoming’s Grand Tetons. Closer to home, Murray focuses on the ecological and cultural significance of local highlands distant from the continent’s major mountain systems, including places like the Turtle, Riding, Duck, and Porcupine Mountains along the Manitoba Escarpment and Mont Royal and Mont-St-Hilaire in Québec’s Montérégie.

Recent Selected Publications

General Wildlife Ecology Research

Menzies, A.K., Studd, E.K., Majchrzak, Y.N., Peers, M.J., Boutin, S., Dantzer, B., Lane, J.E., McAdam, A.G. and Humphries, M.M., 2020. Body temperature, heart rate, and activity patterns of two boreal homeotherms in winter: homeostasis, allostasis, and ecological coexistence. Functional Ecology https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13640

Lemieux Lefebvre, S., Landry-Cuerrier, M. and Humphries, M.M., 2018. Identifying the critical habitat of Canadian vertebrate species at risk. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 96(4):297-304.

Humphries, M.M., Studd, E.K., Menzies, A.K. and Boutin, S., 2017. To everything there is a season: summer-to-winter food webs and the functional traits of keystone species. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 57(5): 961-976.

Humphries, M.M. and McCann, K.S., 2014. Metabolic ecology. Journal of Animal Ecology, 83:7-19.

Mountain-related Wildlife Research

Carter, L., Gurarie, E., Suitor, M., Tavares, D, … Humphries, M.M. In Prep. Muskox and caribou niche partitioning along Yukon’s North Slope and in the British and Richardson Mountains.

Balluffi-Fry, J., Nowell, L.B. and Humphries, M.M., 2020. Eastern Coyotes (Canis latrans var.) consuming large ungulates in a multi-ungulate system. The Canadian Field-Naturalist, 134(1):45-51.

Cooley, D., Clarke, H., Graupe, S., Landry-Cuerrier, M., Lantz, T., Milligan, H., Pretzlaw, T., Larocque, G. and Humphries, M.M., 2020. The seasonality of a migratory moose population in northern Yukon. Alces, 55:105-130.

Jensen, P.G. and Humphries, M.M., 2019. Abiotic conditions mediate intraguild interactions between mammalian carnivores. Journal of Animal Ecology, 88:1305-1318.

Community Engagement in Natural Sciences

Humphries, M.M., Samson, J., Milligan, H.E. 2020. The mammals of Wemindji: in time, space, and ways of knowing. Chapter 7 in Caring for Eeyou Istchee: Protected Area Creation on Wemindji Cree Territory. Mulrennan, M.E., Scott, C.H., Scott, K. (eds.). UBC Press, Vancouver BC.

Brunet, N.D., Hickey, G.M. and Humphries, M.M., 2017. How can research partnerships better support local development? Stakeholder perceptions on an approach to understanding research partnership outcomes in the Canadian Arctic. Polar Record, 53(5):479-488.

Brammer, J.R., Brunet, N.D., Burton, A.C., Cuerrier, A., Danielsen, F., Dewan, K., Herrmann, T.M., Jackson, M.V., Kennett, R., Larocque, G. and Mulrennan, M., 2016. The role of digital data entry in participatory environmental monitoring. Conservation Biology, 30(6):1277-1287.

Brunet, N.D., Hickey, G.M. and Humphries, M.M., 2014. The evolution of local participation and the mode of knowledge production in Arctic research. Ecology and Society, 19(2):69.

Traditional Food Systems of Indigenous Peoples’

Warltier, D.W., Landry-Cuerrier, M., Humphries, M.M. In Review. Valuation of country food in Nunavut based on energy and protein replacement. Arctic.

Tremblay, R., Landry-Cuerrier, M. and Humphries, M., 2020. Culture and the social-ecology of local food use by Indigenous communities in northern North America. Ecology and Society, 25(2):8.

Kuhnlein, H.V. and Humphries, M.M., 2017. Traditional animal foods of Indigenous peoples of Northern North America. Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment, McGill University. http://traditionalanimalfoods.org/


Murray Humphries

Dr. Murray Humphries
Co-Research Director
Canadian Mountain Network
Associate Professor, McGill Northern Research Chair
McGill University
Center for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment

Office: 1(514)398-7885

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