Dr. Scott BurgessDCIM100GOPRO

Assistant Professor
Department of Biological Science
Florida State University
319 Stadium Dr, Tallahassee, FL, 32306
Phone (office): +1 (850) 645-9563
Email: sburgess “at”

See the Research page for more information


PhD Students


My interest is in the field of marine evolutionary ecology, and my research combines molecular genetics with experimental ecology. Previously I have gained experience in both of these areas through the use of genetic markers to study the hybridization of native and invasive species (studied in black bass, Micropterus spp. and mussels, Mytilus spp.) during my undergraduate and through the use of manipulative ecological experiments to study predator-prey interactions between a marine gastropod (Littorina saxatilis) and their crab predators (Dyspanopeus sayi and Hemigrapsus sanguineus) during my Masters. For my dissertation, I am using a combination of genetic markers (microsatellites), manipulative laboratory experiments, and field studies to investigate the reproductive biology of the Florida crown conch (Melogena corona). In this species, females mate with multiple males (known as polyandry) and package larvae fathered from multiple males into the same egg capsule. I am examining the degree of polyandry in the field as well as examining its effects on sibling interactions and the potential parent-offspring conflict that may occur as the level of polyandry increases.


Jackson Powell


Jackson is studying the limits to evolutionary rescue in marine invertebrates with complex life cycles. He is taking a quantitative genetics approach to estimate additive genetic variance in, and genetic correlations between, traits in larval and adult life history stages and combining this with estimates of selection in the field. He has been developing a new system to address this issue using breeding designs and environmental manipulations (Molgula occidentalis, an abundant native solitary ascidian in the shallow subtidal areas of the northern Gulf of Mexico).






Marília is empirically estimating 2D dispersal kernels for bryozoans in the field and studying how phenotypic and environmental factors alter the fitness of individuals across different dispersal distances.


Lab technician

Lisa Sander

Lisa does everything from molecular work, data collection, field work and boat tending, maintenance of aquariums and phytoplankton cultures, and general lab management.


Undergraduate researchers

Natalia Estrella (Spring 2018 – present)

Natalia is performing experiments to quantify an unusual behavior we have noticed in the Florida Crown Conch, where juveniles emerge from egg capsules and crawl away, but will switch back and forth from swimming in the water column (using their larval velum) to crawling again. We are interested in whether this behavior is for local dispersal or for alternative sources of nutrition.


Zachary Zubek (Fall 2016 – Spring 2017)dsc_0036

Zack’s honors thesis looked at the patterns and consequences of inbreeding in Bugula neritina. He reared bryozoans in the lab to create deferentially inbred crosses, then compared larvae from parents in the different treatments to estimate  self-fertilization, bi-parental inbreeding, and inbreeding and outbreeding depression.


Emily Beyer (2015 – 2016)

Pamela Betancourt (Spring 2015)