Discover features citizen science involvement in UMaine tick research

Discover reported on the Maine Forest Tick Survey, led by researchers at the University of Maine, which trained hundreds of woodland owners in Maine to systematically comb their properties for disease-toting ticks to discern how forest management may influence the pest’s prevalence. The survey approach pioneered by Allison Gardner, a UMaine medical entomologist and associate professor, and colleagues involved using active survey techniques, a first among tick community science projects. “The involvement of community scientist volunteers in data collection allowed us to quantify tick densities and habitat at an unprecedented scale. Individual research labs simply lack the capacity to visit hundreds of properties in a single year. We anticipate that this extensive data set will provide new insight into landscape features and forest management approaches that ultimately may inhibit tick-borne pathogen transmission,” Gardner said.