Update #1: Refining My Project

So far, I have been at the College for about three and a half weeks, and I am loving every second of it! Most of my time has been spent out in the field collecting ticks, which has been quite thrilling. However, having to dedicate most of my time to field work means that I cannot plausibly look at all of the questions I originally posed in my proposal and abstract. Thus, I think it is time to refine what I am looking to do with my current project. Given the data that we already have, I think it would be wisest to direct my focus towards what was originally my second question: Can we find factors that influence the abundance of blacklegged ticks that we collect?

On rainy days, I have been reading scientific articles about Ixodes scapularis, especially how weather plays a role in affecting tick behavior. We have collected temperature and humidity data at each site. I am planning on determining if I can detect any relationships between the microclimate data and tick abundance data that we have. I also want to see if there are any trends in tick abundance over the course of our collection period (both on a monthly and yearly basis).

I would also like to see if there are certain sites where we find ticks more often. Given my current skills, I do not think this analysis will be very detailed. For now, I am interested if there are sites where we consistently see black-legged ticks or places where we see consistently more ticks. One of the things that really excites me is that there are so many questions that can be asked about blacklegged ticks in the area, and I hope that my research this summer will help prepare me to answer more questions later in my academic career!

I will return home at the end of the month, and from there I intend to start analyzing the data that we have collected this year and in years prior. I’m excited to see what I find!

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