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Maura Bennett Citizen Scientist Help Tick Research PT 2
by Maura Bennett, click here for bio

Program: Colorado Ag Today
Date: July 27, 2018

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Researchers at Colorado State University have tapped the power of citizen scientists in collecting data for important research into tick-borne diseases.

A team led by Daniel Salkeld, a research scientist in CSU’s Department of Biology joined researchers at Northern Arizona University.

The goal was to collect about 2,000 ticks, mostly from regular folks living in the San Francisco Bay Area. They received over 16,000 ticks sent in by citizen scientists from 49 states (all but Alaska) and Puerto Rico. Nearly 90 percent of the ticks were reported to have been removed from either humans or dogs.

Salkeld says they tested for several bacteria, including those that cause Lyme disease and babesiosis in cattle and livestock.

now have more data than they could have dreamed of having.

“You just have this reach that you could never hope to achieve if you were trying to do this on your own. It’s taking people who are interested and willing to give some of their time and effort and we can use all that to get insights. You could not do this US national scale tick investigation if you didn’t have citizen scientists.”

Salkeld says they hope to use citizens scientists in the future and have learned how to improve the data by asking more about where people had travelled. He says this could lead to new insights such as how diseases spread, and new human pathogens yet to be discovered.

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