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Harvard Forest Data Archive


Incidence of Ticks and Tick Bites at Harvard Forest since 2006

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  • Lead: Aaron Ellison
  • Investigators: Manisha Patel
  • Contact: Information Manager
  • Start date: 2006
  • End date: 2019
  • Status: ongoing
  • Location: Harvard Forest
  • Latitude: +42.53 degrees
  • Longitude: -72.19 degrees
  • Elevation: 340 meter
  • Datum: WGS84
  • Taxa: Dermacentor variabilis (American dog tick), Homo sapiens (human), Ixodes scapularis (blacklegged deer tick)
  • Release date: 2023
  • Language: English
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.299.5
  • DOI: digital object identifier
  • EDI: data package
  • DataONE: data package
  • Related links:
  • Study type: long-term measurement
  • Research topic: biodiversity studies; physiological ecology, population dynamics and species interactions
  • LTER core area: population studies
  • Keywords: disease, humans, insects
  • Abstract:

    In an effort to determine exposure to ticks and to determine appropriate preventative measures to reduce the occurrence of Lyme Disease in summer research interns at Harvard Forest, data are collected about where students work at Harvard Forest; the time spent in the field; the number of ticks students find on themselves after each trip to the field; and the number of ticks that actually bite and embed themselves in the skin. From these data, we estimate areas of high tick densities and estimate time of summer during which ticks are most prevalent. The results are used to develop recommendations for appropriate precautions that students can take to avoid tick-borne diseases.

  • Methods:

    Upon returning from work in the field each student will observe the number of wood ticks and deer ticks, and the number of new tick bites found on his or her body. Students will be responsible for self-reporting their individual data (number of ticks found, number of ticks that bit, location of field work, and hours spent in the field) on a data sheet. Data will be collected after each trip to the field (daily) for the duration of the summer. Harvard University IRB 14-2587.

  • Organization: Harvard Forest. 324 North Main Street, Petersham, MA 01366, USA. Phone (978) 724-3302. Fax (978) 724-3595.

  • Project: The Harvard Forest Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program examines ecological dynamics in the New England region resulting from natural disturbances, environmental change, and human impacts. (ROR).

  • Funding: National Science Foundation LTER grants: DEB-8811764, DEB-9411975, DEB-0080592, DEB-0620443, DEB-1237491, DEB-1832210.

  • Use: This dataset is released to the public under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (No Rights Reserved). Please keep the dataset creators informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset should include proper acknowledgement.

  • License: Creative Commons Zero v1.0 Universal (CC0-1.0)

  • Citation: Ellison A. 2023. Incidence of Ticks and Tick Bites at Harvard Forest since 2006. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF299 (v.5). Environmental Data Initiative:

Detailed Metadata

hf299-01: tick survey data

  1. year: year of participation
  2. week: week of data collection
  3. random number assigned to student
  4. student.entry: location of student as entered by student
  5. standardized location name
  6. field.lab: whether in the field or the lab
    • F: field
    • L: lab
  7. hours: number of work hours (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  8. wood.found: number of wood ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) found on self (unit: number / missing values: NA)
  9. deer.found: number of deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) found on self (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  10. wood.bite: number of wood ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) attached/bite on self (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  11. deer.bite: number of deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) attached/bite on self (unit: number / missing value: NA)

hf299-02: dates for tick survey

  1. year: year of participation
  2. start date
  3. end date