Coffee Hour: The Art and Science of Translating Ecological Indicators to Ecosystem Services in Riparia

Friday, January 15, 2016 - 3:30pm
Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m. The lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.

About the talk

As we seek to identify and value the benefits accrued to people from ecosystem services, one task we face is how to relate measures of ecological condition – or ecological indicators – to those services on which we place value. Multiple approaches from the literature are profiled briefly, followed by a case study with a focus on demonstrating how anthropogenic impacts in agrarian landscapes affect field-based indicators of stream, wetland, and riparian condition. How can incremental changes in condition metrics be used to predict changes in levels of services that are provided by healthy aquatic ecosystems, for water purification, floodwater storage, carbon sequestration, aquatic biodiversity, and water-based recreation? The case study explores how to link changes in ecological condition to changes in services for selected watersheds in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the USA using assessment indicators from three levels: 1) landscape, 2) rapid assessment of riparian ecosystem components, and 3) stream macroinvertebrates.

About the speaker

Rob BrooksRobert P. Brooks is the Ruby S. and E. Willard Miller Professor of Geography and Ecology, and Founder and Director of Riparia at the Pennsylvania State University. Riparia celebrated 22 years of success during 2015. He is a practicing wetland scientist, and wildlife biologist certified by the Society of Wetland Scientists and The Wildlife Society, respectively. He received a B.S. in Biology from Muhlenberg College, and masters and doctoral degrees in Wildlife Biology from the University of Massachusetts. Dr. Brooks has worked with an array of institutions, agencies, corporations, utilities, and citizen groups to conduct research and address issues concerning the conservation and restoration of healthy watersheds and landscapes. He has published over 100 scientific articles and mentored 44 graduate students to completion of their degrees. He is the 2013 recipient of the National Wetlands Award for Science Research from the Environmental Law Institute.        

Contact us

Penn State encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Angela Rogers in advance of your participation or visit.

Angela Rogers   office: 814-863-4562  email:

Coffee Hour