• Lewes Road, School of Environment and Technology, Cockcroft Building

    BN2 4GJ Brighton

    United Kingdom


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Scholarly biography

Matthew Brolly is a Senior Lecturer in Geoinformatics within the School of Environment and Technology at the University of Brighton. He joined the teaching and research faculty in September 2013 after completing a NASA funded post-doctoral position at the University of Maryland.

Matthew’s research interests are focused on active remote sensing for environmental purposes with a specialism in synthetic aperture radar (SAR). Matthew has published novel research in high impact international journals on the subject of vegetation monitoring and modelling using remote sensing in publications such as “Nature: Scientific Reports”, “Nature: Climate Change”, ‘Ecological Modelling’, ‘International Journal of Remote Sensing’, ‘Remote Sensing of Environment’, ‘PLOS One’ and ‘Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Remote Sensing’. He has regularly presented research at international conferences such as AGU and IGARSS and is actively involved in, and continually seeking new, national and international collaborations.

Approach to teaching

Within the School of Environment and Technology I am engaged in teaching across all of the courses offered, ranging from Human Geography to Environmental Science, from Geoinformatics to Water and Environmental Management at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I am Course Leader for the MSc degree GIS and Environmental Management.

I am responsible for coordinating and delivering compulsory quantitative methods content at Level 4 ‘Statistical and Spatial Data Analysis’, and Level 5 within the module ‘Research Design and Analysis with Dissertation Planning’. I am also module leader for the Level 6 module ‘Active Remote Sensing: Radar and Lidar in the geosciences’.  At MSc level I am module leader for 'Applied Remote Sensing'. My teaching is underpinned by my research and experience in quantitative disciplines such as Remote Sensing and Geophysics, and is driven by my personal goal of producing students at the University of Brighton who will excel in data processing, interpretation, analysis and dissemination within Earth science subjects. Through my teaching, the students develop appropriate skills in Statistics, GIS, and remote sensing to allow them to successfully progress professionally or academically beyond our University.

My modules feature traditional lectures, group based learning, computer practicals, and dynamic discussion. Sessions are interactive and allow regular discussion surrounding concepts and queries. Practicals offered within my modules act as a mix of independent learning and guided teaching with all sessions involving handouts, exercises, data interaction and animations, and online teaching resources. Interspersed within regular content are regular break-out sessions to allow students to attempt problems and enhance their analytical and problem solving skills. These methods allow the interactive dynamic to thrive within the classroom.  My methods of learning and assessment are driven by inclusivity through offering mixed learning methods and assessing students via class and home based exams, standard reports (technical and literature based), presentations, and traditional exams. The methods incorporated in my teaching across all modules encourage students to engage and express regardless of perceived subject complexity. 

Further modules taught that draw upon my wider climate change research expertise include ‘Introduction to Environmental Hazards’, ‘Global Environmental Issues’,  ‘Academic Learning and Field Skills’, 'GIS and Remote Sensing: Principles and Practice', and at MSc level, ‘Water Quality and Analysis’. I am also a dissertation supervisor for undergraduate, MSc, and PhD students working actively to facilitate independent learning.

As an educator I see the pastoral care of students as an essential part of the role. As part of this I act as a Personal Tutor to several students at each academic level and strive to excel in this position of care and responsibility by continually acting on the behalf, and for the benefit, of my students. 

Research interests

My research interests lie within the subject area of remote sensing, but in particular environmental remote sensing. As the main subject of my PhD thesis, and research beyond, I am keenly interested in the role of remote sensing in vegetation studies and how removal or changes to vegetation can affect our environment. This has led me to research in modelling and application of different technologies but mainly focusing on the use of synthetic aperture radar (SAR). Since becoming an independent researcher I have been involved in lidar and radar work with emphasis on interferometry (InSAR) and polarimetry applications (PolInSAR) for both biomass and forest structure determination, and also for the investigation of Savanna and grassland dynamics within a wider framework of contributing to knowledge of the terrestrial carbon cycle. Working on this theme has involved integration into my research of radar systems such as ALOS PALSAR, UAVSAR, and lidar systems such as GLAS, LVIS.

In broader terms I am actively involved in climate change research related to landuse/landcover change, and the role of the terrestrial biosphere.  My work involves strong collaboration with the Global Ecology Lab at the University of Maryland, Edinburgh Earth Observatory at the University of Edinburgh, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It also involves fruitful collaborations closer to home at the University of Brighton through my research group and PhD students.  

I encourage those interested in collaborating on remote sensing themed research to feel free to contact me and to begin the process of conducting high impact science.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Edinburgh

1 Oct 20071 Sep 2011

Award Date: 1 Jul 2012

Master, University of Bradford

1 Oct 20041 Jul 2005

Award Date: 1 Jul 2005

Bachelor, University of Edinburgh

1 Oct 20001 Jul 2004

Award Date: 1 Jul 2004

External positions

Adjunct Assistant Research Professor, University of Maryland, College Park

1 Oct 2013 → …

Research Associate, University of Maryland, College Park

1 Oct 20111 Oct 2013

Geophysicist, GSB Prospection Ltd.

1 Oct 20051 Oct 2007

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Research Output

  • 15 Article
  • 3 Conference contribution with ISSN or ISBN
  • 1 Abstract

Remote Benthic Habitat Mapping Using Sunglint corrected multispectral Imagery in Bahrain waters

Alkhuzaei, M., Brolly, M., Burnside, N., Carey, C. & Maniatis, G., 23 Mar 2020. 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Open Access

Remote mapping of foodscapes using sUAS and a low cost BG-NIR sensor

Alonso-Martinez, L., Ibanez-Alverez, M., Brolly, M., Burnside, N., Calleja, J., Pelaez, M., Lopez-Sanchez, A., Bartolome, J., Fanlo, H., Lavin, S., Perea, R. & Serrano, E., 16 Feb 2020, In : Science of the Total Environment. 718, 13 p., 137357.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • The role of wild ungulates in nutrient cycling in Mediterranean ecosystems: a pending issue

    Barbero-Palacios, L., Carreira, J., Baraza, E., Krumins, J., Brolly, M., Burnside, N., Bartolome, J., Lavin, S., Calleja, J., Carvalho, J., Torres, R., Barrio, I., Perea, R. & Serrano, E., 31 May 2020, In : Galemys. 32, 3 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access

    Modeling Aboveground Biomass in Hulunber Grassland Ecosystem by Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Discrete Lidar

    Wang, D., Xin, X., Shao, Q., Brolly, M., Zhu, Z. & Chen, J., 19 Jan 2017, In : Sensors. 17, 1, p. 1-19 19 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Understanding ‘saturation’ of radar signals over forests

    Joshi, N., Mitchard, E., Brolly, M., Schumacher, J., Fernández-Landa, A., Johannsen, V. K., Marchamalo, M. & Fensholt, R., 14 Jun 2017, In : Scientific Reports. 7

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access