Wednesday, March 28, 2012

NSF EID Principal Investigators Meeting

We had a lot of fun catching up with friends and colleagues at the annual NSF EID PI meeting (oh, and learning lots about disease ecology and evolution, too). This year, it was in Berkeley. Here are a few photos, and we'll post more when they are sent to us!

Here I am with Beth Carlton. Beth was an undergrad whom I "mentored" back in the early 2000s. Despite how I may/may not have messed up her tick drop-off experiment, she's now an epidemiologist working on a schistosomiasis project in China! ;)

Another photo shows how we were graced with the presence of Dan Salkeld. Dan worked on Lyme disease in the California system. In addition to Dan, we were able to meet several of the California/Berkeley crew - Yvonne Girard, Kerry Padgett, Esther Olsen, and Lars Eisen. We missed, Bob Lane, however!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Florida: More hosts and ticks

An eastern woodrat with a tick two weeks ago (March 13) and two broadhead skinks with ticks from today (Mar 22).

Florida: Eastern Fence Lizard & a Tick!!!

No cricket necessary! Cody plain ol' noosed this big male!

Cody's Cricket Method for Luring Skinks

Works like a charm - most of the time! ;). Cody also has a noose tied onto the end of the fishing pole in case you want to switch methods. He says the best way is to get them to jump at the cricket so that they aren't gripping to anything (like a tree trunk). So, he recommends luring them down off the tree onto the leaf litter, where they really don't have much to grip onto. Key partner tool is the bucket into which you place the skink once you have hooked it. (Note: we put the skinks into separate bags: they are shown side by side here in a bucket to show possible different sexes.)

Gena's Florida Tick Life Cycle Arenas: Go, Mama, go!

On February 28, Cody added rabbit-fed engorged female blacklegged ticks to Gena's tick life cycle enclosures. He has been checking their progress weekly. Shown below are photos of a tick's egg laying progress 2 and 3 weeks later respectively. Go, Mama, go!

Friday, March 2, 2012

TTRS: Vulture? Why not?

While we did not catch many small mammals (only our trap-happy woodrat), we caught two very interesting critters today! A corn snake and a turkey vulture!!!

Cody got the corn snake from a metal coverboard, and the vulture was in a tomahawk trap. Both animals were from our tickiest grid here at TTRS, but we did not find ticks on either one!

Thanks to Rich Keith, Michelle Rosen, and Steve Schmitt for their advice on how safely to approach extracting and handling this bird!

Just had to include a neat invert photo, too! Are these termites? Lots of them out today!