Theodore E. Burk, PhD
Theodore E. Burk, PhD

Theodore E. Burk, PhD

Professor
College of Arts and Sciences

Academic Appointments

Department

  • Biology

Position

  • Professor

Biography

Ted Burk grew up in the small town of Scranton, Kansas, and attended the University of Kansas, graduating in 1974 with a B.A. in Biology. He was a graduate student at New College of the University of Oxford as a Danforth Fellow and Rhodes Scholar, earning a D. Phil. in Zoology in 1979 under the supervision of the controversial evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. After a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Florida, he joined the Creighton University Biology Department in 1982, becoming Professor of Biology in 1996. He was Chair of the Department of Biology from 1990 to 2000 and Interim Chair of the Department of Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences in 2002-2003. He has received the Creighton College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching, Outstanding Advising, and Professional Excellence in Service. He teaches a wide variety of courses at Creighton, including General Biology, Animal Behavior, and Entomology. His research interests are in behavioral and conservation biology, especially of insects; he has authored 30 papers and book chapters and is co-author of the textbook Biology of Animal Behavior. Much of his professional activity now involves “citizen science” projects in which members of the public help collect information important in conservation of wild species and habitats. He is married to Dr. Christine Burk of Birmingham, England; they have four daughters and one grandson.

Education

  • B.A., Biology (Honors), University of Kansas, 1974
  • D. Phil., Zoology, University of Oxford, 1979

Publications and Presentations

Articles

  • Burk, T. Butterfly lore and legend, Creighton University Magazine, 2006, 22-25, 2006
  • Burk, T. E. Fly-witness testimony: The science of forensic entomology., Creighton University Magazine, 2005, 28-33, 2005

Publications

  • Wankmuller, Robert T. and Theodore Burk. Flower Visits by Monarch Butterflies at Four Eastern Nebraska Prairies. Proceedings of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences., 136, 61, 2016
  • Mullally, Hannah L., Theodore Burk, and Mackenzie Taylor. Orange Sulphur Butterflies, Colias eurytheme, Acquire Substantial Amounts of Pollen When Visiting Prairie Flowers. Proceedings of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences., 136, 61, 2016
  • Kaneshiro, Lexi, Tommy Bae, and Theodore Burk. Faithfulness of Flower Visits by Two Prairie Butterflies. Proceedings of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, 134, 64, 2014
  • Burk, T. Habitat Corridor Use by the Regal Fritillary, a Prairie Butterfly of Conservation Concern, Abstracts of the 50th Annual Meeting, Animal Behavior Society, 2013

Presentations

  • "The Prairie Butterfly Project". Glacier Creek Preserve 2nd Annual Research Conversations., 2016
  • "Techniques for Monitoring Butterflies and Other Pollinators". Public presentation, Glacier Creek Preserve., 2016
  • Wankmuller, Robert T. and Theodore Burk. "Flower Visits by Monarch Butterflies at Four Eastern Nebraska Prairies". 126th Annual Meeting of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, NE., 2016
  • Mullally, Hannah L., Theodore Burk, and Mackenzie Taylor. "Orange Sulphur Butterflies, Colias eurytheme, Acquire Substantial Amounts of Pollen When Visiting Prairie Flowers". 126th Annual Meeting of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, NE., 2016
  • "Population Genetics Basics", 3 guest lectures in Biology 317, Genetics, class at Creighton University., 2016
  • "Butterflies of Glacier Creek Preserve", presentation to Lewis and Clark Middle School 7th grade class., 2016
  • "Regal Fritillaries and Other Pollinators", invited talk at Nebraska State Monarch and Pollinator Summit, Lincoln, NE., 2016
  • "Forensic Entomology: an Introduction", presentation to Westside High School Forensic Biology classes., 2015
  • "Prairie Butterfly Research", presentation for UNO Education Department Pre-Service Teacher's Class on Scientific Method, Glacier Creek Preserve., 2015
  • "Fire and Prairie Butterflies", invited talk at the 2015 meeting of the Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Fire Science Consortium, Glacier Creek Preserve., 2015
  • "Public Gardens, Butterflies, and Other Pollinators", talk at public art exhibit involving a public space garden, 25th & Lake Street, Omaha, NE., 2015
  • "Long-term Studies of Butterfly Populations and Flower Visits at Eastern Nebraska Prairies". Glacier Creek Preserve 1st Annual Research Conversations., 2015
  • "Forensic Entomology: an Introduction", presentation to Westside High School Forensic Biology classes., 2015
  • "The Passenger Pigeon of Our Time? The Plight of the Monarch Butterfly", Keynote presentation, Creighton University Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences Spring Banquet., 2015
  • "The Passenger Pigeon of Our Time? The Plight of the Monarch Butterfly", After-dinner presentation at the 2015 Founders' Day Dinner, Omaha Association of Phi Beta Kappa., 2015
  • Keynote Talk at The Land Institute's Prairie Festival, Salina, KS, "Land Ethic, from a Reasoned - an Impassioned - Perspective", 2014
  • "The Birds and the Bees - Birds' Version!", Invited Talk, Omaha Urban Bird and Nature Society, University of Nebraska at Omaha., 2014
  • Kaneshiro, Lexi, Tommy Bae, and Theodore Burk. "Faithfulness of Flower Visits by Two Prairie Butterflies". 124th Annual Meeting of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, NE, 2014
  • "A Social Butterfly? Politics and the Plight of the Monarch Butterfly", Guest Lecture in SRP 436, Politics and Ethics of Science and Technology., 2014
  • "The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful: Butterfly Royalty of Eastern Nebraska Prairies", invited talk in Creighton University Environmental Sciences Seminar Series, 2013
  • "Butterflies of Eastern Nebraska - and the Flowers They Love!", invited talk, Omaha Audubon Society, Omaha, NE, 2013
  • "Habitat Corridor Use by the Regal Fritillary, a Prairie Butterfly of Conservation Concern", Poster Presentation at 50th Annual Meeting, Animal Behavior Society, Univ. of Colorado, 2013
  • "Lepidoptera as Pollinators", invited talk in the Pollinator Workshop and Habitat Tour for Landowners, sponsored by Pheasants Forever/Nebraska Environmental Trust/Nebraska Game and Parks/Natural Resources Conservation Service/Nebraska Audubon; Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center, Denton, NE, 2013

Research and Scholarship

Research and Scholarship Interests

  • Insect Conservation Biology (especially butterflies and other pollinators); Insect Behavioral Ecology (especially insect communication and social behavior)

Current Research Projects

  • Conservation of, including effects of management practices on, prairie butterfly populations; nectar plant use by prairie butterflies; importance of butterflies as pollinators of prairie plants.