Murphy Westwood


Murphy Westwood, Director of the Global Tree Conservation Program


Director of Global Tree Conservation

PDF iconCV_Westwood.pdf

PhD, Plant Developmental Biology, University of Cambridge, UK

MS, Advanced Methods in Taxonomy and Biodiversity, Imperial College London, UK

BS, Environmental Policy and Behavior, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor


Research interests

Murphy Westwood runs the Global Tree Conservation Program at The Morton Arboretum. The mission of the program is to save trees from extinction through global collaborations. Murphy works closely with colleagues from botanical gardens, universities, and other sectors in strategic locations like China, Europe, and Mexico, as well as throughout the United States, to develop conservation projects targeting key threatened tree species, especially oaks (genus Quercus). She also creates tools, guidelines, publications and other resources to build capacity and catalyze action for tree conservation. Additionally, Murphy is a Global Tree Conservation Officer for Botanic Gardens Conservation International and works to build support for the Global Trees Campaign, the only global conservation program dedicated to saving all of the world's threatened tree species. Murphy also manages ArbNet, the interactive, global community of arboreta and tree-focused professionals. She facilitates the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and develops resources and content for the ArbNet website.

Google Scholar

Research Gate

Global Tree Conservation




Oaks of the Americas Conservation Network
Global Oak Conservation Partnership
IUCN Red List of Oaks
Gap analysis of ex situ collections and in situ conservation needs for North American oak species
Tree conservation initiatives and collaborations in Asia
Tree conservation initiatives and collaborations in Latin America
ArbNet: The global interactive community of arboreta



Murphy has an extensive background in plant biology, evolution, and conservation, having worked in botanical gardens and universities in Europe and America for over fifteen years. She has published numerous articles on plant systematics, evolution, morphological development, and conservation.  She has presented her research and program initiatives to a diverse range of audiences at dozens of conferences, symposia, workshops, and seminars in nine countries. She has taught over 400 hours of undergraduate plant science, ecology, and evolution courses and mentored many students as they pursued science-related degrees. Murphy is a member of the IUCN Global Tree Specialist Group and a certified IUCN Red List global assessor. She is the Chair of the Plant Conservation Professional Section of the American Public Gardens Association.



The Three Rarest Trees. - The Morton Arboretum's Tree Conservation Specialist Murphy Westwood, PhD, discusses the three most threatened trees in The Arboretum's collection.


The Global Tree Conservation Program at The Morton Arboretum. - Murphy Westwood's talk about the Global Tree Conservation Program at The Morton Arboretum. She Introduces the concept of threatened species and explains how the Arboreutm determines the threat level of a species. She used a world tour of threatened tree species to illustrate some of the Arboretum's key conservation initiatives under the Global Tree Conservation Program. WATCH the talk

WBEZ's Wordlview: Preserving Biodiversity with Seed Banks. - Learn about how seed banks work to preserve plant diversity.  HEAR THE INTERVIEW >

EcoMyths: Seeds Never Expire. - Explore how different species behave in seed banks.  READ THE ARTICLE >