Our Experts

Elizabeth Burgess

Elizabeth Burgess, PhD

Research Scientist and Chair
Wildlife and Ocean Health Program, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life


PhD, Marine Biology, The University of Queensland, Australia, 2013
MSc (Hons), Marine Ecology, Massey University, New Zealand, 2007
BSc (Hons), Zoology, The University of Queensland, 2001


Liz Burgess, PhD, specializes in the development and application of noninvasive tools for monitoring marine wildlife. She moved from Australia to join the team in 2013 to pioneer novel techniques for measuring reproductive and stress hormones of free-swimming whales, using their exhaled respiratory vapor or “blow.”

Her research on hormones enables us to understand reproductive viability and pregnancy, as well as nutritional and stress responses that are necessary for an animal’s survival in a changing environment. With expertise in both laboratory and field methods, Liz has unique experience collecting samples from a variety of difficult-to-study species, including sea turtles, dugongs, manatees, baleen whales, sperm whales, and even beaked whales. She has participated in a number of conservation programs around the world, in collaboration with government managers, nongovernment organizations, scientists, and industry stakeholders.

Liz’s goal in conservation is to use vital physiological biomarkers (in combination with habitat and disturbance measures) to evaluate the health of threatened individuals and populations and, ultimately, to provide evidence-based science on the effects and consequences of increasing human impacts in the ocean.


  • 2017 American Australian Association Sir Keith Murdoch Scholarship
  • 2017 Christine Stevens Award – Animal Welfare Institute

Featured Research


Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life

Through pioneering conservation research and strategic partnerships, our team of 40 scientists works to combat the unprecedented impacts on the ocean from climate change and other human activities.