2013 Student Research Conference:
26th Annual Student Research Conference

Underwater Survival in Ticks
Anna C. Sumner* and Michelle O. Okpewho
Dr. Laura Fielden and Dr. David Garth, Faculty Mentors

This presentation describes our proposed research to investigate why different species of ticks have different survival abilities under conditions of flooding. Ticks can remain totally submerged in water for extended periods of time (days to weeks) using plastron respiration and metabolic depression. However, there is a great deal of interspecific variation in the underwater survivability of ticks. We hypothesize that length of survival is related to the efficiency of the plastron in extracting oxygen from the water as well as the oxygen consumption of the tick while submerged. The significance of this work relates to understanding why ticks are able to survive several years under natural conditions. Extreme longevity is one of the reasons why ticks are important vectors of disease since they have the capability to outlive their hosts and thus serve as disease reservoirs.

Keywords: Ticks, Underwater survival, Spiracle, Plastron

Topic(s):Mathematical Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 204-3
Location: MG 2001
Time: 10:00

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