Cape Cod's Nature Place

The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History


Sharks of New England 2017



Sharks of New England


 Dr. Tom Burns

September 23, 2017 at 1pm.  Free with Museum Admission

                          This lecture is in conjunction with Dr. Burns’ September/October Naturescape Gallery exhibit. 

 Dr. Burns has been diving and photographing sharks for almost 25 years and has experienced hundreds of hours of interactions with the most iconic shark species.  While his pursuit of shark encounters has taken him around the world, it is the sharks of New England that have become his focus. He has been published in various magazines including Scuba Diver, Asian Geographic, and Shark Diver Magazine.

Currently Dr. Burns is working with the TOTEM Project at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to tag whale sharks and devil rays at the canyons off southern New England in the vicinity of the new Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monuments.  Although whale sharks and devil rays are seasonal visitors, little is known about these animals in the northwest Atlantic including where they go when they leave. However, with the help of spotter pilot Wayne Davis and photographer Eric Savetsky, they were able to deploy a satellite tag on a 5-meter whale shark during the summer of 2016 in Oceanographer’s Canyon, off the south coast of Nantucket. This was the first time a whale shark has been satellite tagged in the northwest Atlantic.

His other great accomplishments in the area of shark research include a 10 week assignment with National Geographic in 2016, Cape Cod White Shark Predation Study in 2014, National Geographic Wild Mission Critical, as well as his photographs being used for conservation and education by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance, and others.

A graduate of the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Burns is Hospital Director at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth Massachusetts.  Prior to his veterinary studies, he attended Boston College, where he graduated Cum Laude in 1994.  After graduating from Boston College, Dr. Burns spent a year at the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Children’s Hospital Pediatric Research Facility.

 For more information please call the Museum at 508-896-3867 ext. 133.