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 used petrologic and geochemical tools to investigate igneous and metamorphic rocks and relate their petrogenesis to the growth and evolution of 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 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 complementary 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 tectonics of the Appalachians.
For more information on current research areas, please visit his personal research site.