Howard Ginsberg, Ph.D.
Howard Ginsberg is a Research Ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. He is USGS Field Station Leader and Professor in Residence at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Ginsberg received his Ph.D. in entomology from Cornell University in 1979. His research explores transmission dynamics and factors that influence human exposure to vector-borne zoonotic pathogens, so as to develop efficient approaches to surveillance and management. Dr. Ginsberg received the Director’s Award for Natural Resource Research, 1999, from the U.S. National Park Service.
Science and Products
The Challenge: Lyme disease, which is caused by a tick-transmitted spirochete, is the most common vector-borne disease in North America, with about 300,000 cases each year. Most cases occur in the northeastern and north central U.S., with relatively few in the south, even though the vector tick is present in all of these regions. The purpose of this research is to elucidate the ecological reasons for this geographical gradient in Lyme disease.
Acquisition of Borrelia burgdorferi infection by larval Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) associated with engorgement measures
Measuring rates of acquisition of the Lyme disease pathogen, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato Johnson, Schmid, Hyde, Steigerwalt & Brenner, by the larval stage of Ixodes scapularis Say is a useful tool for xenodiagnoses of B. burgdorferi in vertebrate hosts. In the nymphal and adult stages of I. scapularis,...Couret, Janelle; Dyer, M.C.; Mather, T.N.; Han, S.; Tsao, J.I.; LeBrun, R.A.; Ginsberg, Howard
Lyme disease ecology in a changing world: Consensus, uncertainty and critical gaps for improving control
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in temperate regions of North America, Europe and Asia, and the number of reported cases has increased in many regions as landscapes have been altered. Although there has been extensive work on the ecology and epidemiology of this disease in both Europe and North America, substantial uncertainty...Kilpatrick, A. Marm; Dobson, Andrew D.M.; Levi, Taal; Salkeld, Daniel J.; Swei, Andrea; Ginsberg, Howard; Kjemtrup, Anne; Padgett, Kerry A.; Jensen, Per A.; Fish, Durland; Ogden, Nick H.; Diuk-Wasser, Maria A.
Relationships between maternal engorgement weight and the number, size, and fat content of larval Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae)
The relationship between engorgement weight of female Ixodes scapularis Say and characteristics of offspring was studied using field-collected females fed on rabbits in the laboratory. The number of eggs laid was positively related to maternal engorgement weight in one trial, and larval size (estimated by scutal area) was positively related to...Ginsberg, Howard; Lee, Chong; Volson, Barry; Dyer, Megan C.; LeBrun, Roger A.
Native bee diversity and pollen foraging specificity in cultivated highbush blueberry (Ericaceae: Vaccinium corymbosum) in Rhode Island
We identified 41 species of native bees from a total of 1,083 specimens collected at cultivated highbush blueberry plantings throughout Rhode Island in 2014 and 2015. Andrena spp., Bombus spp., and Xylocopa virginica (L.) were collected most often. Bombus griseocollis (DeGeer), B. impatiens Cresson, B. bimaculatus Cresson, B. perplexus Cresson,...Scott, Zachary; Ginsberg, Howard; Alm, Steven R.
Tick-, mosquito-, and rodent-borne parasite sampling designs for the National Ecological Observatory Network
Parasites and pathogens are increasingly recognized as significant drivers of ecological and evolutionary change in natural ecosystems. Concurrently, transmission of infectious agents among human, livestock, and wildlife populations represents a growing threat to veterinary and human health. In light of these trends and the scarcity of long-term...Springer, Yuri P; Hoekman, David; Johnson, Pieter TJ; Duffy, Paul A; Hufft, Rebecca A.; Barnett, David T.; Allan, Brian F.; Amman, Brian R; Barker, Christopher M; Barrera, Roberto; Beard, Charles B; Beati, Lorenza; Begon, Mike; Blackmore, Mark S; Bradshaw, William E; Brisson, Dustin; Calisher, Charles H.; Childs, James E; Diuk-Wasser, Maria A.; Douglass, Richard J; Eisen, Rebecca J; Foley, Desmond H; Foley, Janet E.; Gaff, Holly D; Gardner, Scott L; Ginsberg, Howard; Glass, Gregory E; Hamer, Sarah A; Hayden, Mary H; Hjelle, Brian; Holzapfel, Christina M; Juliano, Steven A.; Kramer, Laura D.; Kuenzi, Amy J.; LaDeau, Shannon L.; Livdahl, Todd P.; Mills, James N.; Moore, Chester G.; Morand, Serge; Nasci, Roger S.; Ogden, Nicholas H.; Ostfeld, Richard S.; Parmenter, Robert R.; Piesman, Joseph; Reisen, William K.; Savage, Harry M.; Sonenshine, Daniel E.; Swei, Andrea; Yabsley, Michael J.
Effect of phenology on agonistic competitive interactions between invasive and native sheet-web spiders
The phenologies of introduced relative to native species can greatly influence the degree and symmetry of competition between them. The European spider Linyphia triangularis (Clerck, 1757) (Linyphiidae) reaches very high densities in coastal Maine (USA). Previous studies suggest thatL. triangularis negatively affects native...Houser, Jeremy D.; Porter, Adam H.; Ginsberg, Howard; Jakob, Elizabeth M.
Design for mosquito abundance, diversity, and phenology sampling within the National Ecological Observatory Network
The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) intends to monitor mosquito populations across its broad geographical range of sites because of their prevalence in food webs, sensitivity to abiotic factors and relevance for human health. We describe the design of mosquito population sampling in the context of NEON’s long term continental...Hoekman, D.; Springer, Yuri P; Barker, C.M.; Barrera, R.; Blackmore, M.S.; Bradshaw, W.E.; Foley, D. H.; Ginsberg, Howard; Hayden, M. H.; Holzapfel, C. M.; Juliano, S. A.; Kramer, L. D.; LaDeau, S. L.; Livdahl, T. P.; Moore, C. G.; Nasci, R.S.; Reisen, W.K.; Savage, H. M.
A dynamic population model to investigate effects of climate and climate-independent factors on the lifecycle of the tick Amblyomma americanum (Acari: Ixodidae)
The lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum, is a disease vector of significance for human and animal health throughout much of the eastern United States. To model the potential effects of climate change on this tick, a better understanding is needed of the relative roles of temperature-dependent and temperature-independent (day-length-dependent...Ludwig, Antoinette; Ginsberg, Howard; Hickling, Graham J.; Ogden, Nicholas H.
Different populations of blacklegged tick nymphs exhibit differences in questing behavior that have implications for human lyme disease risk
Animal behavior can have profound effects on pathogen transmission and disease incidence. We studied the questing (= host-seeking) behavior of blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) nymphs, which are the primary vectors of Lyme disease in the eastern United States. Lyme disease is common in northern but not in southern regions, and prior ecological...Arsnoe, Isis M.; Hickling, Graham J.; Ginsberg, Howard S.; McElreath, Richard; Tsao, Jean I.
Competition between introduced and native spiders (Araneae: Linyphiidae)
The European sheet-web spider Linyphia triangularis (Araneae: Linyphiidae) has become established in Maine, where it often reaches very high densities. Two lines of evidence from previous work suggest that L. triangularis affects populations of the native linyphiid spider Frontinella communis. First, F. communis individuals are relatively scarce...Houser, J.D.; Ginsberg, Howard S.; Jakob, Elizabeth M.
Comparison of survival patterns of northern and southern genotypes of the North American tick Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) under northern and southern conditions
BackgroundSeveral investigators have reported genetic differences between northern and southern populations of Ixodes scapularis in North America, as well as differences in patterns of disease transmission. Ecological and behavioral correlates of these genetic differences, which might have implications for disease transmission, have not been...Ginsberg, Howard S.; Rulison, Eric L.; Azevedo, Alexandra; Pang, Genevieve C.; Kuczaj, Isis M.; Tsao, Jean I.; LeBrun, Roger A.
Minimal role of eastern fence lizards in Borrelia burgdorferi transmission in central New Jersey oak/pine woodlands
The Eastern fence lizard, Sceloporus undulatus, is widely distributed in eastern and central North America, ranging through areas with high levels of Lyme disease, as well as areas where Lyme disease is rare or absent. We studied the potential role of S. undulatus in transmission dynamics of Lyme spirochetes by sampling ticks from a variety of...Rulison, Eric L.; Kerr, Kaetlyn T; Dyer, Megan C; Han, Seungeun; Burke, Russell L.; Tsao, Jean I.; Ginsberg, Howard S.