2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

Surviving Without Oxygen: Cryptobiosis in Ticks
Erin A. Sanders* and Katie M. Loock
Dr. Laura Fielden, Faculty Mentor

Ticks are cryptobiotic ectoparasites, meaning they can survive very harsh environmental conditions in the absence of a suitable host. These conditions can include periods of inadequate amounts of oxygen due to periodic flooding or periods of anoxia, the absence of oxygen, while covered by snow and ice. This study investigates anoxia tolerance in adult, nymph, and larval stages of two common species of North American tick: the dog tick Dermacentor variabilis and the lone star tick Amblyomma americanum. By putting ticks in anaerobic bags that simulate anoxic conditions, this study will demonstrate that adult ticks can survive at least six days without oxygen. As anoxybiotic organisms, ticks may be a potential model for Astrobiologists studying cryptobiosis.

Keywords: Astrobiology, biology, cryptobiosis, ticks


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 206-1
Location: MG 2090
Time: 9:30

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