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Joanna Burger, Ph.D.

Rutgers University – School of Arts and SciencesEOHSI – Environmental and Population Health Bio-Sciences
Work Nelson Hall Room B210 Busch Campus Piscataway NJ 08854 Work Phone: 848-445-4318 Work Phone: 848-445-3497 Work Fax: 732-445-5870 Website: Joanna Burger’s Bio Page
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, Gochfeld, M, Zappalorti, R, Bunnell, J, Jeitner, C, Schneider, D, Ng, K, DeVito, E, Lorch, JM. Prevalence of Ophidiomyces ophidiicola and epizootiology of snake fungal disease in free-ranging Northern Pine Snakes (Pituophis melanoleucus melanoleucus) in New Jersey. Environ Monit Assess. 2023;195 (6):662. doi: 10.1007/s10661-023-11259-w. PubMed PMID:37169998
  2. Burger, J, Greenberg, M, Lowrie, K, Goldstein, BD. Bernard D. Goldstein-Risk communication as an essential component of public health practice. Risk Anal. 2022;42 (11):2459-2463. doi: 10.1111/risa.14055. PubMed PMID:36625059
  3. Burger, J, Greenberg, M, Lowrie, K, Berlin, K. Ken Berlin-Climate science, risk, and solutions must be communicated together. Risk Anal. 2022;42 (11):2531-2535. doi: 10.1111/risa.14034. PubMed PMID:36625058
  4. Burger, J, Greenberg, M, Lowrie, K, Safina, C. Carl Safina-Provide your audience with information they care about. Risk Anal. 2022;42 (11):2525-2530. doi: 10.1111/risa.14056. PubMed PMID:36625057
  5. Burger, J, Lowrie, K, Greenberg, MR. Michael R. Greenberg-Talking to the media requires clear, concise, relatable messages. Risk Anal. 2022;42 (11):2504-2509. doi: 10.1111/risa.14057. PubMed PMID:36625056
  6. Burger, J, Greenberg, M, Lowrie, K, Johnson, JH Jr. James H. Johnson Jr.-Listen and find commonalities. Risk Anal. 2022;42 (11):2510-2514. doi: 10.1111/risa.14036. PubMed PMID:36625055
  7. Greenberg, M, Lowrie, K, Burger, J, Fields, T. Timothy Fields-Building networks for success. Risk Anal. 2022;42 (11):2469-2472. doi: 10.1111/risa.14058. PubMed PMID:36625054
  8. Burger, J, Greenberg, M, Lowrie, K, Lohmann, M. Michelle Lohmann-Challenge the status quo. Risk Anal. 2022;42 (11):2489-2493. doi: 10.1111/risa.14052. PubMed PMID:36625053
  9. Greenberg, M, Lowrie, K, Burger, J, Jackson, R. Richard Jackson-Be empathetic, humble, and clear. Risk Anal. 2022;42 (11):2473-2477. doi: 10.1111/risa.14060. PubMed PMID:36625052
  10. Greenberg, M, Burger, J, Lowrie, K, Higley, K. Kathryn Higley-Build trust through repeated engagement as an honest expert. Risk Anal. 2022;42 (11):2500-2503. doi: 10.1111/risa.14061. PubMed PMID:36625051
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See complete list of Dr. Burger’s publications




Categories: Faculty, Environmental and Population Health Biosciences, Epi Members, Global Health, Member