Rebecca Murphy

Water Quality Analyst
Chesapeake Bay Program Office


Office Phone

Mailing Address

410 Severn Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21403

Rebecca Murphy

Water Quality Analyst
Chesapeake Bay Program Office

I am an Assistant Research Scientist at the Chesapeake Bay Program where I am the technical lead for analyzing trends and patterns in Chesapeake Bay water quality data. I work closely with CBP colleagues, state agency partners, and researchers throughout the region on implementing statistical tools and applying them across both the large-scale and small-scale in various projects. We are currently applying Generalized Additive Models, but my work also has included exploratory statistics, other linear and non-linear regression techniques, and spatial interpolation. Projects include implementing flow or salinity-adjustment in GAMs to explain water quality trends, analyzing long-term chlorophyll-a patterns in the mainstem, linking patterns in attainment of water quality criteria to patterns in tidal data, and investigating changes in water clarity bay-wide.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Statistical data analyses using generalized additive models
  • Geostatistics (kriging)
  • Regression, and other parametric and non-parametric statistics.
  • Spatial data analysis and mapping in ArcGIS.
  • Scientific programming in R.


  • 2012 Ph.D from Johns Hopkins University in Geography and Environmental Engineering
  • 2002 ME from Cornell University in Biological and Environmental Engineering
  • 2001 BS from Cornell University in Agricultural and Biological Engineering

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James Tributary Summary: A summary of trends in tidal water quality and associated factors, 1985-2021 (REPORT)

Rise of Ruppia in Chesapeake Bay: Climate change–driven turnover of foundation species creates new threats and management opportunities (JOURNAL ARTICLE)


Nutrient limitation of phytoplankton in three tributaries of Chesapeake Bay: Detecting responses following nutrient reductions (JOURNAL ARTICLE)

Data synthesis for environmental management: A case study of Chesapeake Bay (JOURNAL ARTICLE)

Nutrient improvements in Chesapeake Bay: Direct effect of load reductions and implications for coastal management (JOURNAL ARTICLE)


Multi-scale trend analysis of water quality using error propagation of generalized additive models (JOURNAL ARTICLE)

Nutrient trends and drivers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed (REPORT)

Nutrient limitation of phytoplankton in Chesapeake Bay: Development of an empirical approach for water-quality management (JOURNAL ARTICLE)


Potomac Tributary Report: A summary of trends in tidal water quality and associated factors, 1985-2018 (REPORT)


Long-term Annual Aerial Surveys of Submersed Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Support Science, Management, and Restoration (JOURNAL ARTICLE)

A Generalized Additive Model approach to evaluating water quality: Chesapeake Bay case study (JOURNAL ARTICLE)


Chesapeake Bay dissolved oxygen criterion attainment deficit: Three decades of temporal and spatial patterns (JOURNAL ARTICLE)

Chesapeake Bay's water quality condition has been recovering: Insights from a multimetric indicator assessment of thirty years of tidal monitoring data (JOURNAL ARTICLE)

Nutrient- and Climate-Induced Shifts in the Phenology of Linked Biogeochemical Cycles in a Temperate Estuary (JOURNAL ARTICLE)


Long-term nutrient reductions lead to the unprecedented recovery of a temperate coastal region (JOURNAL ARTICLE)

Submersed Aquatic Vegetation in Chesapeake Bay: Sentinel Species in a Changing World (JOURNAL ARTICLE)

Numerical and Qualitative Contrasts of Two Statistical Models for Water Quality Change in Tidal Waters (JOURNAL ARTICLE)

Multiple stressors threaten the imperiled coastal foundation species eelgrass (Zostera marina) in Chesapeake Bay, USA (JOURNAL ARTICLE)