David Burdick

Interim Director of the Jackson Estuarine Laboratory
Research Associate Professor of Coastal Ecology and Restoration

Research Expertise

Ecology and management of coastal wetlands; Design, implementation and assessment of habitat restoration

Research Emphasis

Tidal wetlands play invaluable roles in supporting marine ecosystems, yet these habitats and the plants that characterize them are poorly understood. Furthermore, they are subject to direct and indirect impacts by a growing coastal population. I am interested in the functions of tidal habitats, how plants respond to stresses (flooding, salinity, pollution, disease, invasive species, and human alterations), and how plants interact with physical processes to maintain these habitats. I use the structure and function of tidal wetlands to assess their status, their responses to impacts from development (eutrophication, shading, tidal restriction), and the success of creation and restoration activities. Several long-term research questions include:

  • How are tidal marshes responding to climate change? Can they help us adapt?
  • What are the most effective strategies to control invasive Phragmites populations and revegetate marshes?
  • How do restored habitats interact to enhance their function and benefits? What are the benefits of restoration to the Gulf of Maine, and what types of restoration are most effective?
  • How can human structures (roadways, docks) be designed to minimize impacts to wetlands?
  • Can structural components of vegetation provide an early warning of human impacts?

Much of my research is management oriented to improve planning, regulation and restoration science. I also develop and participate in several community-based habitat monitoring and restoration programs.

View Professor Burdick's NRE Department Web Page

Courses Taught

  • NR 504: Freshwater Resources
  • NR 711/811: Wetland Ecology & Management
  • NR 719/819: Wetland Mitigation and Restoration
  • NR 846: Summer Institute for Environmental Education


Ph.D. Louisiana State University, 1988


Burdick, D.M., and R.A. Konisky. 2003. Determinants of expansion for Phragmites australis, common reed, in natural and impacted coastal marshes. Estuaries 26:407-416.

Neckles, H.A., M. Dionne, D.M. Burdick, C.T. Roman, R. Buchsbaum, and E. Hutchins. 2002. A monitoring protocol to assess tidal restoration of salt marshes on local and regional scales. Restoration Ecology 10:556-563.

Short, F.T., R.C. Davis, B.S. Kopp, C.A. Short and D.M. Burdick. 2002. Site selection model for optimal restoration of eelgrass, Zostera marina in the northeastern US. Marine Ecology Progress Series 227: 253-267.

Boumans, R.M.J., D.M. Burdick, and M. Dionne. 2002. Modeling habitat change in salt marshes following tidal restoration. Restoration Ecology 10: 543-555.

Burdick, D.M., R.Buschbaum and E. Holt. 2001. Variation in soil salinity associated with expansion of Phragmites australis in salt marshes. Environmental and Experimental Botany 46: 247-261.

Short, F.T., D.M. Burdick, C.A. Short, R.C. Davis and P. Morgan. 2000. Developing success criteria for restored eelgrass, salt marsh and mud flat habitats. Ecological Engineering 15:239-252.

Burdick, D.M., and F.T. Short. 1999. The effects of boat docks on eelgrass beds in coastal waters of Massachusetts. Environmental Management 23:231-240.

Dionne, M., F.T. Short and D.M. Burdick. 1999. Fish utilization of restored, created, and reference salt-marsh habitat in the Gulf of Maine. American Fisheries Society Symposium 22:384-404.

Dionne, M., F.T. Short and D.M. Burdick. 1999. Fish utilization of restored, created, and reference salt-marsh habitat in the Gulf of Maine. American Fisheries Society Symposium 22:384-404.

Short, F.T., D.M. Burdick, and J.E. Kaldy, III. 1995. Mesocosm experiments quantify the effects of coastal eutrophication on eelgrass, Zostera marina L. Limnology and Oceanography 40:740-749.


Department of Natural Resources & the Environment
Jackson Estuarine Laboratory
85 Adams Point Road
Durham, NH 03824

Research Areas: 
Climate Science
Coastal Restoration
Estuarine Science
Marine Botany
Marine Invasive Species
Wetlands Ecology