As in the previous year, this field season was marked by active tick surveillance and the collection of environmental data to characterize tick habitat. But new for this year’s plan was the addition of small-mammal trapping, since mice and other rodents are good reservoirs for Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme disease.
In this field season, our active tick surveillance team (consisting of me, Benoit, Andreea, and Jay) went beyond the borders of Ottawa-Gatineau to conduct research at sites within the Kingston area including the Queen’s University Biological Station as part of the Canadian Lyme Disease Research Network (CLyDRN) and a new NSERC project.
A week-long foray to these regions, which are environmentally suitable for tick population establishment, was very productive and brought a lot of biological material. This made it possible to test and familiarize ourselves with new field equipment which we used for collecting environmental data, for example, the Forest Densitometer.
Along with tick dragging, we collected white-footed and deer mice in various sites. This work included trap baiting, distribution at sites and next morning search (just like an Easter egg hunt) through the forest. Processing the mice was a fascinating practical field experience in working with wildlife.