Rob Brooks

Robert Brooks

Email: 
Phone: 
814-863-1596
Office Address: 
220 Walker
Title: 
Professor Emeritus of Geography
Director of Riparia
Unit: 
Department of Geography
File Curriculum Vitae (29.39 KB)
Expertise: 
  • ecology
  • conservation and restoration of wetlands, streams, and riparian areas
  • wetland wildlife
  • landscape ecology

I am a Professor Emeritus of Geography and Ecology at the Pennsylvania State University. I founded Riparia (est. 1993), a center - where science informs policy and practice in wetlands ecology, landscape hydrology, and watershed management. I am a practicing wetland scientist and wildlife biologist certified by the Society of Wetland Scientists and The Wildlife Society, respectively. My research and outreach emphasizes integration of aquatic ecosystems:  assessments of wetlands and streams, habitat modeling for wetland-dependent wildlife, and restoration of aquatic ecosystems. I co-edited a book on Mid-Atlantic Freshwater Wetlands with Denice Wardrop in 2013. In 2017, I was elected a Fellow of the Society of Wetland Scientists.

Recent research projects include:

  • integrating streams, wetlands, floodplains, and riparian areas in a watershed context
  • assessment and analyses of riparian corridors and riparian buffers
  • wetlands restoration and creation on altered and damaged landscapes
  • monitoring protocols for reference wetlands and mitigation projects
  • developing hydrogeomorphic models for riverine, depression, and slope wetlands
  • habitat modeling for wetland-riparian and forest wildlife. 


I have taught over a dozen different undergraduate wildlife courses and graduate courses in the ecology and management of wetlands, physical geography, field geography, wildlife management and conservation, and restoration ecology. Since 1978, I have published over 125 technical papers, books, and book chapters, and presented over 140 technical presentations at conferences and meetings. I have been the senior principal investigator on 94 of 131 grants funded between 1981-2010, totaling over $20 million.

I have served as the Director of several interdisciplinary and multi-institutional research projects, including the Atlantic Slope Consortium, Watershed Characterization and Prioritization, Bog Turtle Habitat Conservation Plan, and Best Management Practices for Agricultural Watersheds. I attend 3-4 national and regional wetlands meetings per year, and I’m familiar with current federal and state regulations regarding the policy, protection, and mitigation of rivers and wetlands. I have worked with agencies (e.g., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Bureau of Mines, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Pennsylvania Wild Resources Conservation Fund), industries (e.g., coal mining, forestry, industrial development authorities, utilities) plus schools and non-profit organizations.

As a member of the Otter Specialist Group of the IUCN, I help to protect otters and their aquatic habitats worldwide.  I have been a consultant and collaborator on wetlands for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since 1987, and a member of the Mid-Atlantic Wetlands Working Group, sponsored by USEPA and the states.  I served as Chair of Pennsylvania’s DEP Wetlands Protection Advisory Committee for all 8 years of its existence.  I’m also a member of Pennsylvania’s DCNR Ecosystem Management Committee, the Millbrook Marsh Nature Center Advisory Comm., and spent 16 years on a municipal planning commission. Currently serving on Louisiana Coastal Area Board.