A look back on my summer experience

Now that my summer research is completely over, it seems appropriate to look back and reflect on the experience of data collection.  It’s difficult to do a true summary post since the data analysis phase of the project won’t take place until the spring of 2014, so, as of now, I don’t have much to report in terms of conclusions drawn from my data.  However, there are a few things to note:

1) As previously mentioned, we found far fewer ticks this summer than did the team who worked last summer, even in July, when the previous team worked.  It was not uncommon for us to work at sites and not find a single tick along the entire double transect, and only once did we find more than 100 ticks in a single 3 meter segment.  It was not uncommon for last summer’s group to find over 200 in the same length segment.

2) We were able to go back and re-sample a handful of sites that we looked at at the very beginning of the summer when we were starting out.  While, again, the data has not been officially analyzed yet, it appears that the numbers we found were fairly consistent, if not lower the second time around.  This is interesting because it seemed that, in general, more ticks are found the later in summer that you sample.

3) Weather was a bigger than foreseen issue, making it difficult to discern whether numbers of ticks varied based on differences between the 2 years, or differences based on more day-by-day factors like rainfall.

Overall I’m excited to do the analysis in the spring to get a more concrete sense of what is affecting tick populations and whether or not disease incidence is lower  proportional to the number of ticks collected or whether it is completely independent.


  1. What interesting experiences did you have when you were out gathering data?