Speakers Bio & Abstract

Dr. Virginia Burkett Chief Scientist
Geological Survey
United State

BiographyVirginia Burkett is the Chief Scientist for Climate and Land Use Change at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). She is Co-chair of the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the alternate U.S. Principal to the international Group on Earth Observations (GEO). During her tenure at the USGS she has served as Chief of the Wetlands Ecology Branch at the USGS National Wetlands Research Center, Deputy Regional Chief Biologist and, more recently, as the Associate Director for the Climate and Land Use Change Mission Area, which is responsible for the Landsat satellite mission.

Prior to her federal service, Burkett was Secretary/Director of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, where she had formerly served as Deputy Director. She has also directed the Louisiana Coastal Zone Management Program and was Assistant Director of the Louisiana Geological Survey. She served on Louisiana’s Science and Engineering Board for the state’s first comprehensive coastal restoration Master Plan.

Burkett has published extensively on the topics of global change and low-lying coastal zones. She was as a Lead Author of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third, Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports (2001, 2007, 2014) and the IPCC Technical Paper on Water (2008). She was a lead author of the First, Second, and Third National Climate Assessments (2001, 2009, 2014) produced by the United States Global Change Research Program. She has co-authored reports for The Wildlife Society (2004), the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (2005), the Everglades Task Force (2007), the U.S. Department of Transportation (2008) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2012) that address climate change impacts and potential adaptation strategies.

Burkett has been appointed to over 70 Commissions, Committees, Science Panels and Boards during her career. She is a Senior Editor of the journal Regional Environmental Change and she serves on the Editorial Board of the journal Ethics in Science and Environmental Policy. Burkett received her doctoral degree in forestry from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas in 1996.