ORONO — The Maine Forest Tick Survey on the College of Maine has issued its 2020 Citizen Science Outcomes Report for 9 southern and coastal counties within the state, and is looking for forest landowners to be a part of its citizen science analysis program this summer season.
To know the rising dangers of tick-borne ailments in Maine and examine potential danger mitigation methods, UMaine researchers developed the state’s first lively tick surveillance program in partnership with volunteer landowners with as much as 1,000 wooded acres in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Hancock, Knox, Kennebec, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo and York counties. Land managers and citizen science landowners gather ticks on their wooded properties, that are then recognized and examined for pathogens.
The researchers main the multiyear, multidisciplinary challenge — analysis affiliate Elissa Ballman and college members Allison Gardner, Jessica Leahy and Carly Sponarski — are also finding out the connection between land administration practices and tick-borne illness publicity danger to assist higher shield landowners, recreationists and forest staff in Maine.
In keeping with the outcomes report, grownup tick populations final yr have been strong within the early summer season, however the nymph populations have been significantly diminished in comparison with current years. This was probably a results of the unusually scorching, dry climate in mid-summer.
In 2020, the primary yr of the challenge, 116 volunteer citizen scientists in 9 southern and coastal Maine counties collected greater than 2,000 specimens, 1,643 of which have been ticks. Researchers examined 445 of these ticks, blacklegged tick nymphs, for pathogens. The most important variety of blacklegged tick nymphs have been collected in Knox County, adopted by Kennebec County.
Of these nymphs, greater than 25% have been carrying Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium chargeable for Lyme illness. All 9 counties within the research had ticks optimistic for the pathogen, with the very best charges in Hancock and Cumberland counties.
Greater than 7% of the blacklegged tick nymphs have been carrying Anaplasma phagocytophilum, the bacterium chargeable for anaplasmosis. It was detected in ticks in six of the counties, with the very best prevalence in Knox County.
Greater than 5% of these nymphs have been carrying Babesia microti, the organism chargeable for babesiosis. It was present in six counties, with the very best prevalence charges in Knox and Cumberland counties.
The 2020 Citizen Science Outcomes Report additionally discovered that properties with timber harvests previously 20 years had considerably fewer blacklegged ticks. As well as, properties with invasive crops had considerably extra blacklegged ticks; that was very true of land with Japanese barberry and bush honeysuckle, corroborating earlier analysis findings.
This yr’s Maine Forest Tick Survey within the 9 counties seems to broaden with the recruitment of 150 new volunteer forest landowners within the 9 southern and coastal Maine counties. The citizen scientists will gather ticks for identification and testing for related pathogens, and ship them to the college for evaluation. On-line coaching and assortment supplies, together with drag cloths and vials, can be supplied for volunteers in June.
Sampling will start in July, the month when blacklegged tick nymphs (the life stage chargeable for most human infections) are lively. Collaborating citizen scientists can be requested to pattern for ticks on three days all through the month for an hour every day, and can obtain the identification and pathogen take a look at outcomes of their tick samples, in addition to stories in regards to the findings of the complete challenge, throughout the winter.
Extra details about the tick survey, together with volunteer, is accessible on-line at umaine.edu/forestticksurvey/ or by contacting Ballman, the citizen science coordinator, at [email protected]. Observe challenge updates on Fb and Twitter.