FSU Biology - Directories - Faculty

Department of Biological Science

at Florida State University

Biological Science Faculty Member

Dr. Scott Burgess

Dr. Scott  Burgess

Laboratory Home Page

Associate Professor
Ph.D, University of Queensland, Australia, 2011
Graduate Faculty Status

Research and Professional Interests:

My research combines ecological and evolutionary principles to study the population biology of coastal marine invertebrates (such as corals, bryozoans, and gastropods). I study the processes that determine how marine organisms adapt to environments that vary in space and time and why their population size and structure varies in space and time. Topics studied include larval dispersal, population connectivity, spatial population dynamics, life history evolution, adaptive phenotypic plasticity, maternal effects, and local adaptation. I typically use some combination of field and laboratory experiments, population and quantitive genetics approaches, and mathematical modeling. Please see the Lab home page for more info and publications.

Selected Publications:

See here for complete and updated list

Wyatt, A. S., Leichter, J. J., Washburn, L., Kui, L., Edmunds, P., & Burgess, S. C. (2023). Hidden heatwaves and severe coral bleaching linked to mesoscale eddies and thermocline dynamics. Nature Communications 14: 25 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-35550-5


Johnston, E.C, Wyatt, A.S.J, Leichter, J.L., Burgess, S.C. (2022) Niche differences in co-occurring cryptic coral species (Pocillopora spp.). Coral Reefs. 41: 767-778 https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-021-02107-9


Burgess SC, Johnston EC, Wyatt ASJ, Leichter JJ, Edmunds PJ. (2021) Response diversity in corals: hidden differences in bleaching mortality among cryptic Pocillopora species. Ecology. 102: e03324 https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.3324


Burgess, S.C., Bode, M., Leis, J.M., Mason, L.B. (2022) Individual variation in marine larval fish swimming speed and the emergence of dispersal kernels. Oikos. e08896 https://doi.org/10.1111/oik.08896


Hooks AP, Burgess SC. (2021) Behavioral variability of hatchlings modifies dispersal potential in crown conch (Melongena corona): why do larvae crawl away but sometimes swim? Biological Bulletin. 241: 92-104 https://doi.org/10.1086/712873


Olsen, K. C., Ryan, W. H., Winn, A. A., Kosman, E. T., Moscoso, J. A., Krueger-Hadfield, S. A., Burgess, S. C., Carlon, D. B., Grosberg, R. K., Kalisz, S., & Levitan, D. R. (2020). Inbreeding shapes the evolution of marine invertebrates. Evolution. 74: 871 - 882 https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.13951


Burgess SC, Sander L, and Bueno M (2019) How relatedness between mates influences reproductive success: an experimental analysis of self-fertilization and biparental inbreeding in a marine bryozoan. Ecology and Evolution 2019;0 0:1–14. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5636


Burgess SC, Snyder RE, Rountree B. Collective dispersal leads to variance in fitness and maintains offspring size variation within marine populations. The American Naturalist 191: 318–332 [link]


Burgess SC, Ryan WH, Blackstone NW, Edmunds PJ, Hoogenboom MO, Levitan DR, Wulff JL (2017). Metabolic scaling in modular animals. Invertebrate Biology 136: 456–472  [pdf]


Burgess SC, Baskett ML, Grosberg RK, Morgan SG, Strathmann RR. (2016) When is dispersal for dispersal? Unifying marine and terrestrial perspectives. Biological Reviews 91: 867–882


Marshall DJ, Burgess SC (2015) Deconstructing environmental predictability: seasonality, environmental color, and the biogeography of marine life histories. Ecology Letters 18: 174–181


Burgess SC, Marshall DJ (2014) Adaptive parental effects: the importance of estimating environmental predictability and offspring fitness appropriately. Oikos 123: 769–776 [PDF]


Burgess SC, Nikols KJ, Griesemer C, Barnett L, Dedrick A, Sattherwaite E, Yamane L, Morgan S, White JW, Botsford LW (2014) Beyond connectivity: how empirical methods can quantify population persistence to improve marine protected area design. Ecological Applications 24: 257–270


Burgess SC, Waples RS, Baskett ML (2013) Local adaptation when competition depends on phenotypic similarity. Evolution 67: 3012–3022


Burgess SC, Bode M, Marshall DJ (2013). Costs of dispersal alter optimal offspring size in patchy habitats: combining theory and data for a marine invertebrate. Functional Ecology 27: 757-765


Burgess SC, Treml E, Marshall DJ (2012) How do dispersal costs and habitat selection influence realized connectivity? Ecology 93: 1378-1387


Burgess SC, Marshall DJ. (2011) Are numbers enough? Colonizer phenotype and abundance interact to affect population dynamics. Journal of Animal Ecology 80: 681 – 687


Burgess SC, Marshall DJ. (2011) Temperature-induced maternal effects and environmental predictability. The Journal of Experimental Biology 214: 2329 – 2336


Burgess SC, Marshall DJ (2011) Field estimates of planktonic larval duration in a marine invertebrate. Marine Ecology-Progress Series 440: 151-161


Osborne K, Dolman AM, Burgess SC, Johns KA. (2011) Disturbance and the dynamics of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (1995 – 2009). PLoS One 6(3): e175616. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017516 [link here]


Burgess SC, Osborne K, Caley MJ (2010) Similar regional effects among local habitats on the structure of tropical reef fish and coral communities. Global Ecology and Biogeography 19: 363 – 375


Burgess SC, Kingsford MJ, Black KP (2007) Influence of tidal eddies and wind on the distribution of presettlement fishes around One Tree Island, Great Barrier Reef. Marine Ecology Progress Series 341: 233-242


Burgess SC (2006) Algal blooms on coral reefs with low anthropogenic impact in the Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 25: 390


Postdoctoral Associates:

Peniston, James