MILLBROOK, NY

CARY INSTITUTE OF ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INC

Grant: $87,175 - National Institutes of Health - May. 19, 2009

Are you satisfied with this award? or

No votes have been cast for this award yet

Join the conversation: Post a comment about this award


Award Description: Anthropogenic climate change over the past century has led to global temperatures consistently above those historically recorded. One of the most discussed, but perhaps least understood consequences of global climate change, is its effect on infectious disease and human health. Although many studies predict how infectious disease will expand (or more rarely, contract) in range, most are built upon the assumption that current climatic or environmental conditions are what limit the distribution of these diseases or their vectors. Whether or not this assumption holds, however, is rarely known. This is particularly true for Lyme disease (LD), a potentially disabling tick-borne zoonotic disease, and its principal North American vector tick, Ixodes scapularis. The current research is designed to establish the temporal dynamics of nymphal I. scapularis overwintering mortality, and test the effects of elevated temperature and altered precipitation regimes, expected under climate change scenarios, on overwintering mortality of I. scapularis. These data will provide the necessary foundation on which to build rigorous models projecting the expansion in I. scapularis distribution and abundance as the climate warms. They will allow the public health community to anticipate the arrival of ticks infected with the etiological agents of Lyme disease, human granulocytic anaplasmosis, human babesiosis, and Powassan viral encephalitis. Predictions regarding the likely increase in both geographic range and population density of these tick vectors in the United States will allow the public health community to educate both health care providers and the public about avoidance of ticks and tick-borne infections as well as about the diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne disease. During the four months since funding commenced, project personnel have been hired and research activities for the first year have been organized. Seventeen white-footed mice (a key host for the tick vector of LD) have been purchased and were infested with sufficient numbers of native larval I. scapularis ticks to provide the necessary materials for field experiments. Ticks fed on the mice have been housed in humidified conditions through their post-feeding molt from larval to nymphal stage. Sites in and near Syracuse and Millbrook, NY, have been selected, and the field deployment of ticks in specially designed and built chambers has commenced. Weather station data on the key temperature and precipitation variables have been located and are being monitored. Samples of ticks are to be removed from autumn through spring at regular intervals to assess abiotic factors associated with mortality events. Data arising from the regular retrievals of ticks and assessment of mortality events are expected to provide the basis for creating rigorous, empirical models of climate-dependent demography of I. scapularis ticks. This, in turn, will allow researchers to make specific predictions about the impacts of climate change on population dynamics of extant populations of ticks inside zones where tick-borne disease is endemic, and on the spread of ticks and associated diseases into areas where they currently do not occur. Experiments to be carried out in the subsequent year are designed to experimentally manipulate ground temperature and precipitation in order to test a priori hypotheses about the role of specific climatic variables in tick survival and population density.

Project Description: One key predicted consequence of anthropogenic climate change is the expanded geographic range and increased intensity of infectious diseases. Most models that predict or explain changes in infectious disease with climate change assume that current climatic or environmental conditions are what limit the distribution of these diseases or their vectors. Whether or not this assumption holds, however, is rarely known. Our major goal is to determine which climatic variables influence vital rates and population abundance of the tick Ixodes scapularis, the main North American vector of Lyme disease and several other debilitating diseases. Since funding commenced, project personnel have been hired trained. Seventeen white-footed mice (a key host for the tick) have been infested with sufficient numbers of native larval I. scapularis ticks to provide the necessary materials for field experiments. Ticks have been housed in humidified conditions through their post-feeding molt from larval to nymphal stage. Sites in and near Syracuse and Millbrook, NY, have been selected, and the field deployment of ticks in specially designed chambers has commenced. Weather station data on the key temperature and precipitation variables are being monitored. Samples of ticks are to be removed from autumn through spring at regular intervals to assess abiotic factors associated with mortality events. Data arising from the regular retrievals of ticks and assessment of mortality events will provide the basis for rigorous, empirical models of climate-dependent demography of I. scapularis. This will allow researchers to make specific predictions about the impacts of climate change on population dynamics of extant populations of ticks, and on the spread of ticks and associated diseases into areas where they currently do not occur.

Jobs Summary: 2 part-time jobs were created for project assistants to collect data on this project. 25% of 1 job was retained for a co-PI to assist in the oversight of the data collection and dissemination on this project. (Total jobs reported: 1)

Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed

This award's data was last updated on May. 19, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.


Funds Recipient

CARY INSTITUTE OF ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INC
MILLBROOK, NY 12545
See more awards to this recipient

Place of Performance

2801 Sharon Turnpike
PO Box AB
Millbrook, NY 12545
See more awards in this zip code

Funds from this award have been disbursed to sub-grantees. Click here to see a list of sub-grantees.




Wiki Description

No comments have been added for this project.

Edit the Wiki Description (editing policy)


Post a comment