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Joanna Burger Ph.D.

Rutgers University – School of Arts and SciencesEOHSI – Exposure Science and Epidemiology
Address Nelson Hall Room B210 Busch Campus Piscataway NJ 08854 Phone: 848-445-4318 Phone: 848-445-3497 Fax: 732-445-5870
Photo of Joanna Burger Ph.D.

Biographical Info

Research Areas
Main research interests are behavior and ecology of communities, behavioral eco-toxicology, ecological risk, environmental monitoring and assessment, human health effects of fish consumption, ecological implications of environmental justice, ecological impacts of energy alternatives, and stakeholder involvement in environmental decisions. My research involves understanding the effects and interactions of animals and people with respect to environmental degradation, chemical and radionuclide contamination, habitat destruction, and the disproportionate burden on some populations. One focus is on the levels and effects of pollutants on eco-receptors and on humans, especially from mercury in fish. This involves not only examining levels of contaminants, but assessing consumption patterns, perceptions of the public, and management of those risks.

Another significant research area is working with The Department of Energy on ecological health and risk at their facilities as part of the Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation.

Research Highlights

  • Understanding contaminant levels in salt water fish from New Jersey, consumption patterns of fishers, perceptions of risk from contaminants in these fish, and resultant risk from mercury.
  • Development of a conceptual model for unique exposures of low-income, minority and other environmental justice communities.
  • Development of a template for fate and transport, ecological, and human health information needed to assess safety of contaminated sites or new nuclear facilities.
  • Assessment of the relationship between selenium and mercury in salt water fish (selenium is thought to be protective for mercury exposure).
  • Biomonitoring of mercury, lead and cadmium in eggs of Common Terns in NJ from 1971 to the present.
    Development of a Conservation Plan for Pine Snakes in the NJ Pine Barrens.

Scholarly Activities

  • ┬áParticipate (and present papers) in EPA conference on Environmental Justice
  • Organizing and eiting a book on Science and Stakeholders: Finding Solutions to Environmental and Energy-related Problems.
  • Participate and present papers in EPA Fish Forum conference.
  • Work with the Department of Energy (through CRESP) on ensuring ecological and human health around current nuclear facilities, with implications for commercial nuclear.
  • Serve on the Altamont, California Scientific Review Committee for wind energy.
  • Provide ecological advice to BP and others concerning the recent Gulf Oil Spill.

Recent Publications

  1. Burger, J. Productivity of waterbirds in potentially impacted areas of Louisiana in 2011 following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Environ Monit Assess. 2018;190 (3):131. doi: 10.1007/s10661-017-6428-y. PubMed PMID:29427241
  2. Burger, J, Gochfeld, M. Perceptions of severe storms, climate change, ecological structures and resiliency three years post-hurricaneSandyin New Jersey. Urban Ecosyst. 2017;20 (6):1261-1275. doi: 10.1007/s11252-017-0678-x. PubMed PMID:29398897 PubMed Central PMC5796432
  3. Burger, J, Tsipoura, N, Gochfeld, M. Metal Levels in Blood of Three Species of Shorebirds during Stopover on Delaware Bay Reflect Levels in Their Food, Horseshoe Crab Eggs. Toxics. 2017;5 (3):. doi: 10.3390/toxics5030020. PubMed PMID:29051452 PubMed Central PMC5634703
  4. Burger, J, Gochfeld, M, Pittfield, T, Jeitner, C. Responses of a vulnerable Hispanic population in New Jersey to Hurricane Sandy: Access to care, medical needs, concerns, and ecological ratings. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health Part A. 2017;80 (6):315-325. doi: 10.1080/15287394.2017.1297275. PubMed PMID:28644717 PubMed Central PMC5531200
  5. Tsipoura, N, Burger, J, Niles, L, Dey, A, Gochfeld, M, Peck, M, Mizrahi, D. Metal Levels in Shorebird Feathers and Blood During Migration Through Delaware Bay. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 2017;72 (4):562-574. doi: 10.1007/s00244-017-0400-2. PubMed PMID:28444421
  6. Burger, J, Gochfeld, M, Jeitner, C, Zappalorti, R, Pittfield, T, DeVito, E. Arsenic, Cadmium, Chromium, Lead, Mercury and Selenium Concentrations in Pine Snakes (Pituophis melanoleucus) from the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 2017;72 (4):586-595. doi: 10.1007/s00244-017-0398-5. PubMed PMID:28424837
  7. Burger, J, Gochfeld, M, Niles, L, Tsipoura, N, Mizrahi, D, Dey, A, Jeitner, C, Pittfield, T. Stakeholder contributions to assessment, monitoring, and conservation of threatened species: black skimmer and red knot as case studies. Environ Monit Assess. 2017;189 (2):60. doi: 10.1007/s10661-016-5731-3. PubMed PMID:28097613
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Categories: Faculty, Exposure Science and Epidemiology
Updated 10 months ago.

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