Warm places, warm years, and warm seasons increase parasitizing of moose by winter ticks

Item Metadata

Dublin Core

Title

Warm places, warm years, and warm seasons increase parasitizing of moose by winter ticks

Description

Abstract:
Observed links between parasites, such as ticks, and climate change have
aroused concern for human health, wildlife population dynamics, and broader
ecosystem effects. The one-host life history of the winter tick (Dermacentor
albipictus) links each annual cohort to environmental conditions during three
specific time periods when they are predictably vulnerable: spring detachment
from hosts, summer larval stage, and fall questing for hosts. We used
mixed-effects generalized linear models to investigate the drivers of tick loads
carried by moose (Alces alces) relative to these time periods and across
750 moose, 10 years, and 16 study areas in the western United States. We tested
for the effects of biotic factors (moose density, shared winter range, vegetation,
migratory behavior) and weather conditions (temperature, snow, humidity) during
each seasonal period when ticks are vulnerable and off-host. We found that
warm climatic regions, warm seasonal periods across multiple partitions of the
annual tick life cycle, and warm years relative to long-term averages each contributed
to increased tick loads. We also found important effects of snow and
other biotic factors such as host density and vegetation. Tick loads in the western
United States were, on average, lower than those where tick-related die-offs
in moose populations have occurred recently, but loads carried by some individuals
may be sufficient to cause mortality. Lastly, we found interannual variation
in tick loads to be most correlated with spring snowpack, suggesting this environmental
component may have the highest potential to induce change in tick
load dynamics in the immediate future of this region.

Bibliographic Citation

DeCesare, N. J., R. B. Harris, M. P. Atwood, E. J. Bergman, A. B. Courtemanch, P. C. Cross, G. L. Fralick, K. R. Hersey, M. A. Hurley, and T. M. Koser. 2024. Warm places, warm years, and warm seasons increase parasitizing of moose by winter ticks. Ecosphere 15:e4799. DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.4799

Creator

DeCesare, NIcholas J.
Harris, Richard B.
Atwood, M. Paul
Bergman, Eric J.
Courtemanch, Alyson B.
Cross, Paul C.

Subject

Alces alces
Dermacentor albipictus
Moose
Climate change
Parasite
Winter tick

Extent

15 pages

Type

Text

Format

application/pdf

Language

English

Is Part Of

Ecosphere

Rights Holder

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided
the original work is properly cited.

Date Accepted

11/17/2023

Date Issued

03/21/2024

Date Modified

11/14/2023

Date Submitted

08/08/2023

Collection

Citation

DeCesare, NIcholas J. et al., “Warm places, warm years, and warm seasons increase parasitizing of moose by winter ticks,” CPW Digital Collections, accessed June 17, 2024, https://cpw.cvlcollections.org/items/show/457.