Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics
Faculty Profile
Burger, Joanna
Joanna's Profile
Joanna's Story
Burger, Joanna
Professor II

Phone: 732-445-4318

Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1972

Professional Summary/CV [.PDF]

Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, School of Arts and Sciences, New Brunswick; Rutgers
Areas of Interest
Behavioral Ecology, Ecological risk, Human-Animal interaction, Social Behavior of Birds, Mercury and Lead, Fish Consumption and Risk.
Teaching Areas
Behavioral Ecology, Ecological Risk, Evolution, Philosophy of Science.
Memberships and Professional Service
Committee member- U.S. National SCOPE, Committee member- National Academy of Sciences Committee of Endocrine Disruptors; American Ornithologists, Union - Fellow; Wilson Ornithological Society; Ecological Society of America;Society of Risk Analysis; Society of Environmental Toxicologists; International Ornithological Congress; Colonial Waterbird Society;
Society for Toxicology (elected member); Editorial board: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 1999-Present, Environmental Bioindicators 2005-present, Science and the Total Environment 1995-Present; Editorial, Environmental Research, 1995- Present.
Burger, Joanna
Joanna with a Laughing Gull
Grants, Honors, and Awards
US DOE, Ecological Health and Risk, 2006-2011, Ecological Health of Amchitka Island, 2004-2006; NJ Anglers Assoc., Mercury in NJ Fish 2005-2007; NJ Audubon Society, Birds as indicators of metal exposure 2006-2008; NJDEP Landscape Issues and Migrant Hawks and Mercury in Commercial Fish, 2003-2005; Wildlife Trust, Using Common Terns as bioindicators, 2002-2005; Women in Science Award-NJ 2005; Honorary PhD, University of Alaska , 2005; Gorenstein Award, 2002; Rutgers Presidential Award for Outstanding Public Service, 1994.
Academic Interests and Plans
My overall interests are in the interaction between humans and animals, and in finding ways for both healthy ecosystems and people to co-exist amicably. I am involved in several different areas, including behavioral ecology, ecotoxicology, bioindicators and biomonitoring, ecological risk, and risk perception and risk management. I work in several areas of the world, including Antarctica, South America, Africa, and of course, the U.S.

My main research focuses on the social behavior of seabirds worldwide, including their colony forming, foraging behavior, and contaminant loads. I specialize in gulls and terns, and on understanding how behavioral adaptations allow them to maximum reproductive success. I have been conducting a long-term study of reproductive success and contaminant loads of birds in Barnegat Bay since the early 1970s, and of Pine Snake hibernation behavior in New Jersey Pine Snakes. Since the 1970s I have been using bird feathers as a bioindicator of heavy metal pollution in seabirds worldwide, and have conducted laboratory experiments examining the effects of lead, chromium and manganese on behavioral development of gull chicks, using behaviors that directly involve survival. Additional research involves examining the contaminants in fish, fish and shellfish consumption rates in people, risk from such consumption, and risk communication and management. The fish consumption studies have been conducted in New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, South Carolina, Idaho, Puerto Rico, and the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.