WVII interviews Gardner, grad student for report on tick research in Acadia

WVII (Channel 7) spoke with Allison Gardner, assistant professor of arthropod vector biology at the University of Maine, and Sara McBride, a master’s student in ecology and environmental sciences at UMaine, for a report about their research on ticks in Acadia National Park. “Visitors were reporting that one of the things they’re most concerned about as a consequence of climate change is increased risk of exposure to diseases transmitted by insects and arthropods,” said Gardner. A team of UMaine researchers is working on a guide to raise awareness and reduce this risk. “The idea is to take these sites and be able to build a model or map with where ticks may be in high or low numbers across the entire park,” said McBride, the field research leader of the project. So far, the areas with the most ticks found are the ones with heavy tree cover, WVII reported. “I think it shouldn’t discourage people. I think it should inform their decisions when they go into these areas and encourage them to do tick checks,” said McBride, who recommends park visitors also cover up and use bug spray to protect themselves. “This can also inform infrastructure for the park so if they maybe wanted to create a new trail or boardwalk or something like that, they can pick safer areas for visitors to be going to,” McBride said. WGME (Channel 13) also reported on the research.