Loren “Wes” Burger, Jr., has been named associate director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the Forest and Wildlife Research Center at Mississippi State University effective Dec. 15.

As associate director, Burger will manage all sponsored programs in MAFES and FWRC and work on other related projects.

“Dr. Wes Burger has a proven track record of securing extramural grants and leading interdisciplinary programs,” said George Hopper, MAFES and FWRC director and dean of MSU's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Forest Resources. “His leadership will be of great value to our research programs as we serve all of Mississippi.”

Burger has been the interim associate director of both units since January. Prior to this appointment, he served as associate director of the university's Geosystems Research Institute.

Burger holds a bachelor's degree in biology and mathematics from Murray State University. He earned his master's degree and doctorate in wildlife biology from the University of Missouri.

A Dale H. Arner Professor of wildlife ecology and management, Burger has worked to restore bobwhite quail populations to their 1980s levels across the specie's range. He coordinates the USDA’s Northern Bobwhite Habitat Restoration Project, which supports research on wildlife response to farm bill conservation practices.

Burger also has led research in agriculture-wildlife conservation and found new ways for farmers to turn unproductive land into wildlife habitat.

“Dr. Burger is a leader and understands the challenges of faculty to conduct research, teach and mentor students, and serve constituents,” Hopper said. “He has a unique ability to find funding, which will be an asset to MAFES and FWRC.”

MAFES was established through provisions in the Hatch Act of 1887, which provided federal funds for research and experiment stations at land-grant universities.

The Forest and Wildlife Research Center was established in 1994 by the Mississippi Legislature and conducts research on managing and using the state’s forests, wildlife, fisheries and water resources.