Dr. Brian Needelman is an Associate Professor of Soil Science at the University of Maryland in the Department of Environmental Science & Technology. He teaches and performs research in the fields of soil science, pedology, coastal wetlands, and coastal resiliency. His coastal wetland research focuses on management and restoration practices to increase tidal marsh sustainability, including studies on prescribed burns, accretion, and the restoration of ditch-drained marshes. He also conducts research on how wetland restoration and conservation can be used to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. His coastal resiliency research focuses on the integration of natural and social science approaches to better understand and increase the resilience of coastal socio-ecological systems.
In addition to serving on the Project Coordinating Team, Dr. Needelman is the lead scientist on the Deal Island Peninsula Project ecological research that focuses on restoring the hydrological dynamics of ditch-drained marshes as part of the NOAA Science Collaborative efforts. Ditching of the marshes in the Deal Island Peninsula area began in the 1930s primarily to reduce mosquito populations. However, it is thought to have also reduced habitat quality and made the marshes more vulnerable to flooding and erosion impacts. The research carried out by Dr. Needelman and colleagues is determining whether restoration of natural dynamics of these marsh systems will enhance their resilience.