From field biology to veterinary medicine to wildlife rescue, Brooke Bessesen has spent a lifetime learning from animals. Every individual connection has strengthened her passion to preserve biodiversity.
Brooke earned her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. Since 2010 she has been conducting marine studies in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica, where her early GIS distribution maps revealed an isolated popuation of all-yellow sea snakes. After describing a new taxon, Hydrophis platurus xanthos, she spent several years extensively researching its ecology. Her boat-based biodiversity surveys also showed Golfo Dulce to be a resting and feeding area for migrating Pacific green sea turtles, Chelonia mydas, and a nursery for humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, from both northern and southern hemispheres. She also photo-identified the resident bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, and led a scientific paper reporting lacaziosis-like disease in that population. To learn more about her scientific work, click on the Golfo Dulce page.
"Bessesen became interested in the yellow sea snake while surveying the biodiversity of the gulf in 2010. The region, she discovered, is a crucial habitat for many creatures, such as endangered green sea turtles." —Newsweek
Bringing her love of wildlife to the writing table, Brooke strives to make science accessible to readers of all ages. In addition to her internationally acclaimed book Vaquita, she authored the Arizona Highways Wildlife Guide and five children's books, including Look Who Lives in the Ocean. She has been honored with a Celebrate Literacy Award from the International Literacy Association, as well as a Glyph Award, Judy Goddard Award, and Grand Canyon Reader Award nomination. She is a long-time member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the founder and director of Authors for Earth Day (A4ED), an international coalition of award-winning authors who, between 2010 and 2020, mentored young readers through special conservation-focused school visits.
"With her in-depth experience visiting with and educating young people, Brooke Bessesen truly understands their almost-innate passion for nature, saying 'They are both environmentalists and idealists, so they are just the kind of crusaders we need to combat the challenges of our changing world,'" —Earth Day Network
Brooke is also a certified veterinary technician. She worked several years at the Phoenix Zoo Animal Care Center and now deploys as a senior rescue responder on the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) Global Animal Rescue & Response Team. She lives in Arizona with her husband, Kevin.