Murray, John (1841-1914), a British naturalist, was one of the founders of oceanography.
The son of Scottish immigrants who settled in Canada in 1834, Murray developed his interest in the ocean when he sailed to Scotland at the age of 17. Although he studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, he earned no degree.
Murray returned from an 1868 expedition to the Arctic with a collection of marine organisms and data on currents, temperatures, and sea ice. In 1872, he joined the Challenger expedition (1872--1876), where he was in charge of investigating deposits on the sea floor. After the expedition's conclusion, Murray helped establish the Challenger Expedition Commission, whose task was to prepare a report. He also helped categorize the 600 cases of specimens with which the expedition had returned. As editor of the 50-volume Report on the Scientific Results of the Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger During the Years 1872--1876 (1880--1895), Murray played a role in founding oceanography as a separate science.
Despite the burdens of his editorial task, Murray continued his own research. He directed biological investigations of Scottish waters (1883--1894). After the Challenger Expedition Commission was dissolved in 1889, Murray was able to support his research with the fortune of his wife, a Glasgow shipowner's daughter. He later augmented her fortune by developing phosphate mining on Christmas Island, whose rich deposits he discovered when a Challenger shipmate sent him a small specimen. With his profits Murray subsidized a four-month North Atlantic oceanographic expedition (1910). His account of that voyage, The Depths of the Ocean (1912), which he coauthored with Johan Hjort, remained the classic oceanography textbook for 30 years. Murray was knighted in 1898. He died in an automobile accident in 1914, leaving most of his mining fortune to support oceanographic research.