Jerry Burgess, Program Director, Sr. Lecturer

Jerry L. Burgess, PhD, is Director of the MS in Environmental Sciences and Policy as well as the Geographic Information Systems masters and certificate programs. Dr. Burgess received his doctorate in Ecology from Johns Hopkins University.

His research interests are highly interdisciplinary utilizing the disciplines of biology, ecology, geology and soil science to explore community dynamics and invasive ecology in urban, rural and forested landscapes. Trained as a metamorphic and structural petrologist, in his early research he has used petrologic and geochemical tools to investigate igneous and metamorphic rocks and relate their petrogenesis to the growth and evolution the Canadian Appalachians.

A great deal of his career has been spent skirting two different professional spheres: one as an educator where he served as the STEM science chair in various school systems; and the other sphere has been spent solving environmental issues such as soil and groundwater remediation. As an educator, his topics of focus include bringing research results into teaching and learning and inculcating inquiry-based learning into a broader use in the geosciences and public school settings. Recently he has become engaged in the structure and dynamics of geoecosystems. In particular, seeking to understand the edaphic relationship between geologic substrate, soils and plants using a complimentary suite of approaches that integrate field observations with novel techniques (e.g. stable isotopes) and controlled environmental systems (e.g. growth chambers, greenhouse settings) to address questions that intersect plant physiological ecology, soil ecology and geology in an ecosystem context. Dr. Burgess has worked in a variety of academic, research, educational and consultant based settings. His current projects include conservation threats to edaphic ecosystems and nutrient dynamics in coupled above ground – below ground settings.

Dr. Burgess teaches two core courses, 420.601 Geological Foundation of Environmental Science and 420.611 Principles and Method of Ecology. He also teaches an elective course, 420.620 Soils in Natural and Anthropogenic Ecosystems.

Dr. Burgess’ JHU email is


Jerry Burgess