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Brooke's Non-Book Writing


As a writer, I “play” words like keys on a piano to compose melodies of language. Well-executed, this rhythmic imagery is complete with inspiring crescendos, dissonant chords and funky bridges.


Like musical notes, words are powerful and dynamic. They can tantalize or repulse. Strengthen or destroy. They can transport, unite, inform and amuse. They can evoke emotion. Influence thought. Affect action. And, ultimately, they can—and do—shape the way we view the world. By writing, I am able to contribute some ideas to the mix.

Here is a sampling of my published work, from essay and articles to scientific papers. Happy reading!


BTW, if you like this these published essays, you might want to check out more animal adventures on my personal blog.

Underwater Ballet: Naturalist Escapes Desert for Humpback Whale Research is a 3-part newspaper series about my time in Maui, Hawaii, swimming with and learning more about these gentle giants and their babies.

Night Patrol: Measuring & Tagging Sea Turtles and Morning Patrol: Checking on Nests & Sea Turtle Hatchlings were written for Osa Peninsula Chronicles and describe my work with sea turtles on a remote beach where ocean meets rainforest

The Desert Wild is a collection of essays appropriate for the whole family. Some are funny, others touching, but they are all loaded with tidbits of information about wildlife in the American Southwest. Plus, there are sidebar facts and extra goodies like a list of all the bat species in Arizona. And a drawing of scorpion anatomy - gosh, who wouldn't like that? Have fun with these:

A Silent Thank You
Arachnophobes Anonymous
Go Batty
A Beary Busy Year
The Stinging Truth
Five Coyote Draw
When Your Neighbor's a Rat


Kartchner Caverns is a wet, living limestone cave system in southeastern Arizona that I wrote an article about. It's an incredible place!

ZEST (Zoo Enrichment Signing Technology) is an article I co-authored for The Gorilla Foundation about a new training tool for great apes in captivity. It's based on Dr. Penny Patterson's famous work with Koko the gorilla and helps zoo keepers teach gorillas, chimps, bonobos and orangutans to use basic sign language. This communication technique can help us provide top-notch care for our primate cousins.

Blackie's Gift is an article I wrote about a friend of mine named Blackie, who passed away. He was a rather unusual friend because he was not of the human persuasion; rather, he was a Pileated gibbon I met at the zoo and regularly visited after he moved away.

Osa Conservation Supports Research in Golfo Dulce is a recent series for the conservation organization I worked with in Costa Rica. These offer some nice photos and a reader-friendly look at the findings from my 2010-2011 marine research:

Tuna Farm Threatens Golf Dulce
Two Seasonal Surveys
A Humpback Whale Hotspot
Different Kinds of Dolphins
So Many Sea Turtles!
Canary-colored Sea Snakes
Photo-identification of Bottlenose Dolphins

ruby shampoo
Ruby shampoo


ruby, by philosophy® was one of the coolest writing jobs I've ever had! It was an honor to be asked by philosophy founder Cristina Carlino to scribe the copy for a bottle of her 3-in-1 shampoo-conditioner-body wash, which was specially created to raise money for elephant conservation. You can also click the bottle to read the copy.

This Simple Solution was a gardening idea I had published in Real Simple Magazine.


I penned a monthly humor column called "Get Real" for almost a year and a half. These are kooky confessions of humanness, spurred by day-to-day thoughts and dilemmas:

I have an important point, now what was it again?
Research is all good as in-home hubby study goes on
Camera's flash leads to enlightening traffic lessons
A new view for the quirks that make us... us
Choosing sides in this ever present Christmas dichotomy
Facing the frightful facts: fighting fears leads to freedom
Time's a wastin', better do something good with it
Sweating over exercise plans as bikini season approaches
Cold turkey, hold the sugar; addict swears off sweet stuff
Going out on a limb, life destiny found in the climb
My hair? It's a gray issue
Fall fashions have hipsters talking shop
Living in my cramped fishbowl
Cold convinces columnist to curtail case load (kind of)


In recent years I have worked in conservation science, aiding and overseeing investigations that help us understand the world. These scholarly papers are about wildlife in Costa Rica. They are clearly a different style of writing than my children's books, articles or blogs but the writing still connects words and thoughts in a way that shares a specific message.

Bessesen, B.L. 2015. Occurrence and distribution patterns of several marine vertebrates in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica. Revista de Biología Tropical 63(Supl.1):261-272.

Bessesen, B.L., L. Oviedo, L.B. Hart, D. Herra-Miranda, J.D. Pacheco-Polanco, L. Baker, G. Saborío-Rodriguez, L. Bermúdez-Villapol, & A. Acevedo-Gutiérrez. 2014. Lacaziosis-like disease among bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus photographed in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 107:173–180.

Bessesen, B. L., and G. Saborío-R. 2012. Tropical fiord habitat as a year-round resting, breeding, and feeding ground for East Pacific green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) off Costa Rica. Herpetological Review 43:539–541.

Bessesen, B. L. 2012. Geospatial and behavioral observations of a unique xanthic colony of pelagic sea snakes, Pelamis platurus, residing in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica. Herpetological Review 43:22–26.

Bessesen, B. L. 2011. Rainy season extension of the multi-species marine sighting survey in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica, July – August: Final Report and Comparative Summary. Osa Conservation, online publication.

Bessesen, B. L., and G. Saborío-R. 2010. Reporte Final del Monitoreo de Especies Marinas en el Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica, Enero - Febrero 2010. Friends of the Osa, online publication.

Bessesen, B. L. 2010. Project report and summary of multi-species marine sighting survey in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica, January – February. Friends of the Osa, online publication.

Bessesen, B. L., and G. Saborío-R. 2009. First report of vesper rat, Nyctomys sumicrasti (Rodentia: Muridae) feeding on palm fruits. Brenesia 71/72:73–76.


I have also written a lot for television, which is a visual media but still reliant on strong scripts to effectively communicate. On my videos page you will find two stories about America's endangered Black-footed ferret I wrote and produced for National Geographic Channel. In watching, you may want to consider the similarities and differences between that style of writing and the flow of words I've crafted for print.