Staff Spotlight

George Burgess

George Burgess headshotDirector, Florida Program for Shark Research
280 Dickinson Hall
Museum Road & Newell Drive
GainesvilleFL 32611



M.S. University of Florida, 1978

Florida Museum Shark Research


Research Interests

Life history, ecology, systematics, fishery management and conservation of elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and rays); shark attack; systematics and biogeography of fishes; management and conservation of aquatic ecosystems and their faunas and floras, especially the marine environment.


Ongoing Fieldwork

  • Survey of the marine ichthyofauna of southwestern Florida, particularly the Florida Keys and Straits of Florida
  • Movements of reef-dwelling elasmobranchs through reef passages in Belize
  • Life history of western Atlantic elasmobranchs
  • Management of western Atlantic elasmobranch populations
  • Systematics of squaloid sharks
  • Conservation of elasmobranchs internationally
  • Maintenance, growth and analyses of the International Shark Attack File


Outreach Projects

  • Project Shark Awareness, a program aimed at teaching educators about elasmobranch life history/ecology and the fishery management/conservation needs of the group, so that they can pass on the messages to their students
  • Development and maintenance of a world-class web site focusing on the biology, management and conservation of fishes and elasmobranchs
  • Work with IUCN/SSC Shark Specialist Group (as Vice Chair), promoting sustainable fisheries and conservation of the world's elasmobranchs


Courses Taught

  • Ichthyology (co-taught) - Fall
  • Marine Biology (section) - Summer


Graduate Students

Felipe Carvalho, M.S. Candidate (Fisheries)
Life history of the mako shark in Brazilian waters



Franklin F. Snelson - Professor and Project Manager, Florida Program for Shark Research

Christina Conrath - Research Biologist


Representative Publications

1994. Fishes of the Cayman Islands, pp. 199-228. In: Brunt, M.A. and J.E. Davies (eds.), The Cayman Islands. Natural History and Biogeography, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. (S. H. Smith and E. D. Lane co-authors).

1995. Surgical management of shark attack injuries: a review of nine cases. Contemporary Surgery 46(5):252-256. (M.K. Chen and R.J. Howard co-authors)

1996. Worldwide patterns of white shark attacks on humans, pp. 457-469. In: Klimley, A.P. and D.G. Ainley (eds.), Great White Sharks. The Biology of Carcharodon carcharias. Academic Press, San Diego. (M. Callahan as co-author)

1997. Etmopterus robinsi (Elasmobranchii, Etmopteridae), a new species of deepwater dogfish shark from the Caribbean Sea and western North Atlantic Ocean. Bull. Mar. Sci. 60(3):1060-1073. (Pamela J. Schofield co-author)

1999. A new species of bass, Micropterus cataractae (Teleostei: Centrarchidae), from the Apalachicola River basin, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Bull. Florida Mus. Nat. Hist. 42(2):80-114. (J.D. Williams co-author)

2000. Management of sharks and their relatives (Elasmobranchii). Fisheries 25(3):9-13. (J.A. Musick, M. Camhi and G. Cailliet co-authors)

2000. Marine, estuarine, and diadromous fish stocks at risk of extinction in North America (exclusive of Pacific salmonids). Fisheries 25(11):6-30. (J.A. Musick et al co-authors)

2002. Bramble Sharks. Family Echinorhinidae, pp. 47-48, and Spiny Dogfishes. Family Squalidae, pp. 48-57. In: Collette, B.B. and G. Klein-MacPhee (eds.), Bigelow and Schroeder's Fishes of the Gulf of Maine, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC.

2002. Assessment of the status of the small coastal sharks in US waters using an age-structured model. Mote Marine Laboratory Technical Report 836, 58 p. (C. Simpfendorfer co-author)

2002. Description of six new species of lantern-sharks of the genusEtmopterus (Squaloidea: Etmopteridae) from the Australasian region. Cybium 26:203-223. (P. Last and B. Seret co-authors)

2004. Fishery-independent sampling: total catch, effort and catch composition, pp. 241-263. In: Musick, J.A. and R. Bonfil (eds.), Elasmobranch Fisheries Management Techniques, APEC Fisheries Working Group, Singapore. (A. Morgan co-author)