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Joanna Burger Ph.D.

Rutgers University – School of Arts and SciencesEOHSI – Exposure Science and Epidemiology
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
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, Lacy, C. Concerns and future preparedness plans of a vulnerable population in New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy. Disasters. 2019; :. doi: 10.1111/disa.12350. PubMed PMID:30990925
  2. Burger, J, Mizrahi, D, Jeitner, C, Tsipoura, N, Mobley, J, Gochfeld, M. Metal and metalloid levels in blood of semipalmated sandpipers (Calidris pusilla) from Brazil, Suriname, and Delaware Bay: Sentinels of exposure to themselves, their prey, and predators that eat them. Environ. Res. 2019;173 :77-86. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.02.048. PubMed PMID:30901611
  3. Burger, J. A framework for increasing sustainability and reducing risk to ecological resources through integration of remediation planning and implementation. Environ. Res. 2019;172 :586-595. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.02.036. PubMed PMID:30875512
  4. Burger, J, Gochfeld, M, Lacy, C. Ethnic differences in risk: experiences, medical needs, and access to care after hurricane Sandy in new jersey. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health Part A. 2019;82 (2):128-141. doi: 10.1080/15287394.2019.1568329. PubMed PMID:30722754 PubMed Central PMC6419501
  5. Burger, J, Gochfeld, M, Kosson, DS, Brown, KG, Salisbury, JA, Jeitner, C. Evaluation of ecological resources at operating facilities at contaminated sites: The Department of Energy's Hanford Site as a case study. Environ. Res. 2019;170 :452-462. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.12.052. PubMed PMID:30640079
  6. Schlesinger, MD, Feinberg, JA, Nazdrowicz, NH, Kleopfer, JD, Beane, JC, Bunnell, JF, Burger, J, Corey, E, Gipe, K, Jaycox, JW et al.. Follow-up ecological studies for cryptic species discoveries: Decrypting the leopard frogs of the eastern U.S. PLoS ONE. 2018;13 (11):e0205805. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205805. PubMed PMID:30412587 PubMed Central PMC6226167
  7. Burger, J, Gochfeld, M, Kosson, DS, Brown, KG, Bliss, LS, Bunn, A, Clarke, JH, Mayer, HJ, Salisbury, JA. The costs of delaying remediation on human, ecological, and eco-cultural resources: Considerations for the Department of Energy: A methodological framework. Sci. Total Environ. 2019;649 :1054-1064. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.08.232. PubMed PMID:30308877
  8. Burger, J, Gochfeld, M, Jeitner, C. Risk valuation of ecological resources at contaminated deactivation and decommissioning facilities: methodology and a case study at the Department of Energy's Hanford site. Environ Monit Assess. 2018;190 (8):478. doi: 10.1007/s10661-018-6866-1. PubMed PMID:30030638
  9. Burger, J. Use of intertidal habitat by four species of shorebirds in an experimental array of oyster racks, reefs and controls on Delaware Bay, New Jersey: Avoidance of oyster racks. Sci. Total Environ. 2018;624 :1234-1243. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.12.188. PubMed PMID:29929236
  10. Burger, J, Zappalorti, RT, Gochfeld, M. Hatchling survival to breeding age in Northern Pine Snakes (Pituophis melanoleucus) in the New Jersey Pine Barrens: Human effects on recruitment from 1986 to 2017. PLoS ONE. 2018;13 (5):e0195676. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0195676. PubMed PMID:29758024 PubMed Central PMC5951674
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Categories: Faculty, Exposure Science and Epidemiology
Updated 5 months ago.
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