2013 Student Research Conference:
26th Annual Student Research Conference

Environmental Influences on Questing of Amblyomma americanum
Sheri He* and Eric M. Volstromer
Dr. Stephanie Fore and Dr. Hyun-Joo Kim, Faculty Mentors

Host questing strategies of Amblyomma americanum (lone star tick) are likely influenced by environmental factors. This study modeled the effect of temperature, humidity, saturation deficit, site, and time of day on when adult female ticks quested. Ticks were placed in enclosures with a questing pole in three different field locations. Data loggers recorded ground level and ambient temperature and humidity. Logistic regression models were fitted and important environmental variables were selected based on model selection criteria. Of the models tested, the variables ground temperature, ambient humidity, ambient saturation deficit, and time of day was the best fit. This model suggests that an increase in ground temperature and ambient saturation deficit decreases questing probability. Increasing ambient humidity increased questing probability. The highest to lowest probability of questing was 4pm, 11am, 9pm and 6am. These results were fit expectations as ticks are desiccation prone at high temperatures and low humidity.

Keywords: Amblyomma americanum, lone star tick, environmental factors, logistic regression, model selection criteria

Topic(s):Biology
Mathematics

Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 8-1
Location: GEO
Time: 3:30

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