Venetia Briggs-Gonzalez, Ph.D.

Position and Affiliation

Research Ecologist, UF - Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center
Director, Lamanai Field Research Center

Areas of Interest

The dynamics of the tropics and the realm of animal behavior fascinate me. And, in the tropics, the teeming, yet coexisting biodiversity prompts endless questions. I am interested in species interactions, in how and why species can co-exist, compete, communicate, develop mutualisms and evolve with time to form viable communities, including those at the human/animal interface. At the species level I am drawn to the intricacies of mating systems and how sexual selection plays a major role in natural selection. My work in my homeland, Belize, and in Panama, and the southern US illustrate the rich natural resources available to us, but a tangible paucity of knowledge that intrigues me and I am thus dedicated to conservation efforts aimed toward sustainable natural resource management.


UNESCO-L'Oreal Women in Science Post-doctoral Fellow, BU/STRI, Panama, May 2007-2009
Ph.D. Biology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, December 2007
M.Sc. Biology, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, August 2001
B.Sc. Biology: Environmental Science, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, May 1999
A.A., Biology, Meridian Community College, Meridian, MS, May 1997

Project Involvement

Venetia is actively involved with RECOVER and CERP efforts to evaluate crocodylian response to Everglades restoration efforts. She is also involved in the Everglades Invasive Reptile and Amphibian Monitoring Program and Wildlife Ecological Modeling and Monitoring in South Florida. Venetia spearheads our international program in the Caribbean and parts of Latin America. As Science Director of the Lamanai Field Research Center in Belize, current projects include wildcat camera trapping (Community Cat Conservation Project), the Chiquibul/Maya Mountain Massif Conceptual Ecological Model, and critically endangered river turtle (hicatee) and Morelet's crocodile monitoring.


Briggs-Gonzalez V., A. Godahewa, S. Balaguera-Reina, J. Dixon, and F. Mazzotti. 2024. American Crocodile nesting in sediment nourished habitats on Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Florida. Amphibia-Reptilia 2023.

Briggs-Gonzalez, V., C. Klovanish, P. Evans, and F. Mazzotti. 2023. Species Bioprofile for black spiny-tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura similis). Southeastern Naturalist 21: 187-210.

Bertone, S., Godahewa, A. V. I. S. H. K. A., Balaguera-Reina, S. A., Briggs-Gonzalez, V., & Mazzotti, F. J. 2023. First successful nest for the Vulnerable American crocodile Crocodylus acutus population on the west coast of Florida, USA. Oryx, 57(3), 389-391.

Briggs-Gonzalez V., P. Evans, and F. Mazzotti. 2022. Species Bioprofile for Southeast Asian Water Monitor (Varanus salvator). Southeastern Naturalist 21:187-210.

Gonzalez, S.C., and V.S. Briggs-Gonzalez. 2022. Cueing in the chorus: The effects of environmental cues on chorusing onset in a tropical frog assemblage. Amphibia-Reptilia 1:1-11.

Mazzotti, F.J., S. Balaguera-Reina, V. Briggs-Gonzalez, L. Brandt, M. Cherkiss, S. Farris, A. Godahewa. 2022. Natural and anthropogenic factors affecting nesting of the American crocodile in Florida, United States. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 10:

Reinke, B.A. et al…, Briggs-Gonzalez, V. et al. 2022. Diverse aging rates in ectotherms provide insights for the evolution of aging and longevity. Science 376:1459-1466.

Barbosa, M., F.W. Lefler, D.E. Berthold, V.S. Briggs-Gonzalez, F.J. Mazzotti, H.D. Laughinghouse IV. 2022. Trophic State Drives the Diversity of Protists in a Tropical River (New River, Belize). Microorganisms 10: 2425.

Briggs-Gonzalez, V.S., Basille M, Cherkiss MS, Mazzotti FJ. 2021. American crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus) as restoration bioindicators in the Florida Everglades. PLoS ONE 16(5):

Jennings, N.D, Gati, E.V., Ramirez, G.A., Cole, J., Mason, B., Briggs-Gonzalez, V., and F.J. Mazzotti. 2020. A communal nesting site of the Central American river turtle (Dermatemys mawii) along the New River, Belize. The Herpetological Bulletin 152:7-10.

Briggs-Gonzalez, V., Gonzalez, S.C., Smith, D., Rainwater, T., and F.J. Mazzotti. 2019. Species Bioprofile for Dermatemys mawii. Caribbean Naturalist Special Issue No. 2: 156-176.

Mazzotti, F.J., Smith, B.J., Squires, M., Cherkiss, M.S., Farris, S.C., Hackett, C., Hart, K., Briggs-Gonzalez, V., and L. Brandt. 2019. Influence of salinity on relative density of American crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus) in Everglades National Park: Implications for restoration of Everglades ecosystems. 102:608-616.

Briggs-Gonzalez, V., Gonzalez, S.C., Smith, D., Allen, K., Rainwater, T.R., and F.J. Mazzotti. 2018. Dermatemys mawii (The Hicatee, Tortuga Blanca, or Central American River Turtle): A working bibliography. Caribbean Naturalist Special Issue No. 2: 10-22.

Briggs-Gonzalez, V., Bonenfant, C., Basille, M., Cherkiss, M., Beauchamp, J. and Mazzotti, F. 2017. Life histories and conservation of long-lived reptiles, an illustration with the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus). Journal of Animal Ecology 86:1102-1113.

Briggs-Gonzalez, V.S. and S.C. Gonzalez. 2016. Lateralized turning biases in two Neotropical tadpoles. Ethology 122:582-587.

Harvey, RG, V.S. Briggs-Gonzalez, and F.J. Mazzotti. 2016. Conservation payments in a social context: determinants of tolerance and behavioural intentions towards wild cats in northern Belize. Oryx 1-12.

Tarvin, R.D., C.S. Bermúdez, V.S. Briggs, and K.M. Warkentin. 2015. Carry-over effects of size at metamorphosis in red-eyed treefrogs: higher survival but slower growth of larger metamorphs. Biotropica 47:218-226.

Briggs-Gonzalez, V.S., and F.J. Mazzotti. 2014. Camera Trapping Wild Cats with Landowners in Northern Belize. Caribbean Naturalist 17: 1-13.

Briggs, V.S. 2013. Do big dads make big babies? Paternal effects on larval performance in red-eyed treefrogs of Belize (Agalychnis callidryas, A. moreletti). Herpetological Journal 23:131-138.

Briggs, V.S., F.J. Mazzotti, R.G. Harvey, T.K. Barnes, R. Manzanero, J.C. Meerman, P. Walker and Z. Walker. 2013. Conceptual Ecological Model of the Chiquibul/Maya Mountain Massif, Belize. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment. 19:317–340.

Briggs, V.S. 2012. Agonistic Behavior of the Mediterranean Gecko Hemidactylus turcicus. Zoological Studies 51 (7): 956-965.

Gonzalez, S.C and V.S. Briggs. 2011. Aggression in froglets of red-eyed treefrogs, Agalychnis callidryas. Herpetology Notes 4: 315-318.

Briggs, V.S. 2010. Call trait variation of Morelett's treefrog, Agalychnis moreletii of Belize. Herpetologica 66 (3):241-249.

Van Allen, B.G, V.S. Briggs, M.W. McCoy and J.R. Vonesh. 2010. Carry-over effects of the larval environment on post-metamorphic performance in two hylid frogs. Oecologia DOI. 10.1007/s00442-010-1728-8.

Briggs, V.S. 2008. Mating patterns of red-eyed treefrogs, Agalychnis callidryas and A. moreletii. Ethology 114: 489-498.

Ugarte, C. and V. Briggs. 2007. Hyla loquax Predation. Herpetological Review. 38 (2): 186.