- BIOL 101, Principles of Biology, Honors
- BIOL 616, Medical Entomology
Area of Interest and Research
My current research interests focus on the population ecology of ixodid (hard) ticks as it relates to the epidemiology of tick-borne diseases. Particular emphasis is placed on the spatial and temporal distribution of host-seeking populations, questing behavior, population phenology, and environmental effects on population dynamics. Ixodid ticks represent the ultimate fasting/gorging animal where less than 5% of their life cycle (two years in many species) is spent feeding on a host. During the "fasting" stage, ticks spend considerable time and energy in search of a suitable host; ascending vegetation, questing for extended periods, and descending to rehydrate (or successful host acquisition). Unfed ticks also face relatively long time spans of unfavorable environmental conditions (winters in temperate climates) during which they are unable to actively search for a host. Off host population dynamics, therefore, reflects adaptive strategies to changing environmental conditions that exist during winter periods and during summer periods of host searching activity.
Field populations of the tick Amblyomma americanum (lone star ticks) and Dermacentor variabilis (American dog tick) are being studied to address questions on temporal and spatial distribution of host-seeking populations and the impact of environmental conditions on the intensity of seasonal tick activity. In addition, field-collected ticks are being studied under various laboratory conditions to address questions on population phenology, age-related survival, questing behaviors, and overwintering strategies.
Koch, K. R. & Burg, J. G. (2006) Relative abundance and survival of the tick Amblyomma americanum collected from sunlit and shaded habitats. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 20: 173–176.
Burg, J. G. (2001) Seasonal activity and spatial distribution of host-seeking adults of the tick Dermacentor variabilis. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 15: 413–421.