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Robert Brooks

302 Walker Building
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802
Telehone: 814.863.1596
FAX: 814.863.7943



  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst - Ph.D. Wildlife Biology
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst - M.S. Wildlife Biology
  • Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA - B.S. Biology

professional activities:

Dr. Brooks has developed a widely recognized wetlands and wildlife research and education program. Current research projects include:

  • Wetlands restoration and creation on altered and damaged landscapes;
  • Modeling cumulative impacts in wetland and riparian portions of landscapes;
  • Developing hydrogeomorphic models for riverine, depression, and slope wetlands;
  • Developing ecological indicators based on plants, macroinvertebrates, amphibians and birds;
  • Monitoring protocols for reference wetlands and mitigation projects; and
  • Habitat modeling for wetland-riparian and forest wildlife.

He has taught more than a dozen different undergraduate and graduate courses in the ecology and management of wetlands, humans and the environment, field geography, wildlife management and conservation, and restoration ecology. Since 1978, he has published over 125 technical papers, books, and book chapters, and presented over 140 technical presentations at conferences and meetings. Dr. Brooks has been the senior principal investigator on 85 of 117 grants funded between 1981-2006, totaling over $17 million.

Dr. Brooks has studied numerous wetland and river systems in the U.S. including emergent marshes, peatlands, shrub and forested wetlands, large rivers, and headwater streams. He and his graduate students (32 graduated) have studied all major vertebrate taxa. He attends 3-4 national and regional wetlands meetings per year, and is familiar with current federal and state regulations regarding the policy, protection, and mitigation of rivers and wetlands. He has 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, National Park Service, PA Department of Environmental Protection) and industries (e.g., coal mining, forestry, industrial development authorities, utilities).

Dr. Brooks is a member of the Otter Specialist Group of the IUCN, seeking to protect otters worldwide. Dr. Brooks has been a consultant on wetlands to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since 1987. He is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Wetlands Working Group, sponsored by USEPA and the states. Dr. Brooks served as Chair of Pennsylvania’s DEP Wetlands Protection Advisory Committee for all 8 years of its existence. He is also a member of Pennsylvania’s DCNR Ecosystem Management Committee, the Millbrook Marsh Nature Center Advisory Committee, and the current Chair of a municipal planning commission.

professional employment:

Pennsylvania State University

  • 2003–Present: Professor of Geography and Ecology, Department of Geography, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
  • 1998–2003: Professor of Wildlife and Wetlands, School of Forest Resources, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • 1993–Present: Director, Penn State Cooperative Wetlands Center
  • 1986–1997: Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology - Wetlands and Wildlife, School of Forest Resources
  • 1985–1988: Chairman, Wildlife and Fisheries Science Program, School of Forest Resources
  • 1983–1985: Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology, School of Forest Resources
  • 1980–1983: Assistant Professor of Wildlife Technology, DuBois Campus Wildlife Technology Program Leader (1982/83), School of Forest Resources

selected professional organizations

  • Society of Wetland Scientists - member, Certified Professional Wetland Scientist (1995), Associate Editor for Wetlands (2003-2005)
  • The Wildlife Society - Certified Wildlife Biologist (1983), Associate Editor for Journal of Wildlife Management (1989-91); member National, Section, and Pennsylvania Chapters; Advisor to Penn State Student Chapter (1991-present), Board Member, PA Chapter (1991-1994), President PA Chapter (1993)
  • Association of State Wetland Managers - member
  • Association ofAmerican Geographers - member

selected publications:

Brooks, Robert P., D. H. Wardrop, and C. A. Cole.  2006.  Inventorying and monitoring wetland condition and restoration potential on a watershed basis with examples from the Spring Creek watershed, Pennsylvania, USA.  Environmental Management 38:673-687.

Reed, P. M., R. P. Brooks, K. J. Davis, D. R. DeWalle, K. A. Dressler, C. J. Duffy, J. Lin, D. A. Miller, R. G. Najjar, K. M. Salvage, T. Wagener, and B. Yarnal.  2006.  Bridging river basin scale and processes to assess human-climate impacts and the terrestrial hydrologic system.  Water Resources Research 42:W07418, DOI:10.1029/2005WR004153.

Miller, S. J., D. H. Wardrop, W. M. Mahaney, and R. P. Brooks. 2006. A plant-based index of biological integrity (IBI) for headwater wetlands in central Pennsylvania. Ecological Indicators 6:290-312.

Brooks, R. P., D. H. Wardrop, C. A. Cole, and D. A. Campbell. 2005. Are we purveyors of wetland homogeneity?: A model of degradation and restoration to improve wetland mitigation. Ecological Engineering 24(4):331-340.

Niemi, G., D. H. Wardrop, R. P. Brooks, S. Anderson, V. Brady, H. Paerl, C. Rakocinski, M. Brouwer, B. Levinson and M. McDonald. 2004. Rationale for a new generation of ecological indicators for coastal waters. Environmental Health Perspectives 112(9):979-986.