2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

The Role of Environmental Factors in Tick Burden on Peromyscus leucopus
Lisa L. Nadeau* and Jennifer G. Bevell
Dr. Stephanie Fore and Dr. Hyun-Joo Kim, Faculty Mentors

The American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) uses the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) as an important host in its larval and nymphal stages of life. Tick load data were collected since the summer of 2006 from two sampling sites in Adair County, Missouri; the time series analysis tools of autocorrelation and cross-correlation were then used to determine temporal patterns of tick load on the mice and to determine the correlation between tick load and temperature and precipitation. We found there to be a significant autocorrelation at 12-month intervals and that temperature plays a significant role in tick load with 4-month time lags, but more data are needed to examine the role of precipitation in observed tick loads. Our findings give us an idea of the correlation between D. variabilis tick load and temperature, but we hope for future investigations to progress to predictions of future tick loads.

Keywords: dermacentor variabilis, peromyscus leucopus, tick load, weather pattern, temperature, precipitation, ecology, mammal

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 8-4
Location: MG 2001
Time: 8:45

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