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
Declines of pollinators have engendered worldwide concern, but trends in the faunas of most insect pollinators, including bees, remain uncertain. We are studying the bee fauna of southern Rhode Island to provide baseline information about the current fauna, and information about bee-flower interactions.
Effective management programs for vector-borne pathogens, such as West Nile Virus and the Lyme disease spirochete, are necessary to protect public health. However, some vector control methods, such as landscape manipulations and pesticide applications, can also adversely affect nontarget species and environmentally sensitive natural systems. Efficient targeting and integration of vector...
Lyme disease is the most prevalent vector-borne disease in North America, with about 300,000 cases per year in the U.S. We are studying transmission of the spirochete that causes this disease among wild animals and the blacklegged tick vectors, to determine why Lyme disease is common in the northeast and northern Midwest but rare in the south, even though blacklegged ticks are present in all...
Evidence for geographic variation in life-cycle processes affecting phenology of the Lyme disease vector Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) in the United States
The seasonal activity pattern of immature Ixodes scapularis Say (Acari: Ixodidae) varies geographically in the United States, which may affect the efficiency of transmission cycles of pathogens transmitted by this species. To study the factors that determine seasonality, a multiyear study at seven sites across the geographic range of...Ogden, Nicholas H.; Pang, Genevieve; Ginsberg, Howard S.; Hickling, Graham J.; Burke, Russell L.; Beati, Lorenza; Tsao, Jean I.
Management of arthropod pathogen vectors in North America: Minimizing adverse effects on pollinators
Tick and mosquito management is important to public health protection. At the same time, growing concerns about declines of pollinator species raise the question of whether vector control practices might affect pollinator populations. We report the results of a task force of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) that examined...Ginsberg, Howard S.; Bargar, Timothy A.; Hladik, Michelle L.; Lubelczyk, Charles
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 S.
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 S.; 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 S.; Lee, Chong; Volson, Barry; Dyer, Megan C.; LeBrun, Roger A.
Environmental factors affecting survival of immature Ixodes scapularis and implications for geographical distribution of lyme disease: The climate/behavior hypothesis
Recent reports suggest that host-seeking nymphs in southern populations of Ixodes scapularis remain below the leaf litter surface, while northern nymphs seek hosts on leaves and twigs above the litter surface. This behavioral difference potentially results in decreased tick contact with humans in the south, and fewer cases of Lyme disease. We...Ginsberg, Howard S.; Albert, Marisa; Acevedo, Lixis; Dyer, Megan C.; Arsnoe, Isis M.; Tsao, Jean I.; Mather, Thomas N.; 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 S.; 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 T. J.; 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 S.; 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 S.; 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 S.; 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 S.; 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.