Date of Award
Bachelor of Science
tick, distribution, soil, pH, expression
Ixodes scapularis, or the black-legged tick, is the major vector of Lyme disease in the U.S. I. scapularis has expanded its range in recent decades, making the study of factors affecting its distribution a high priority. Studying the effects of various conditions in the soil could help in predicting range expansions, because ticks spend the majority of their lives in contact with the soil. We investigated the effects of soil pH on the molting success of engorged I. scapularis nymphs collected from Eastern Chipmunks (Tamias striatus). The experiment was conducted in a laboratory to control for covariates such as temperature and moisture. Soil was collected from two sites in upstate NY with different soil textures, the Albany Pine Bush Preserve (loam soil) and Wolf Hollow (silty-loam soil). High (6.0-6.5) and low (4.2-4.5) pH treatments were crossed with the two soil textures in a factorial design. Results suggest that nymphal tick molting success is not affected by soil pH or by soil texture. Additionally the nymphal chipmunk body burdens in this study did not deviate significantly from previous studies. Future experiments could incorporate higher pH values to predict the range expansion of I. scapularis to western states which have basic soils.
Rice, Daniel, "The Effects of Soil pH on the Molting Success of Blacklegged Ticks (Ixodes scapularis): A Laboratory Experiment" (2014). Honors Theses. 590.