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ARS Home » Plains Area » Kerrville, Texas » Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory » LAPRU » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #325632

Research Project: Cattle Fever Tick Control and Eradication

Location: Livestock Arthropod Pests Research

Title: Translating ecology, physiology, biochemistry and population genetics research to meet the challenge of tick and tick-borne diseases in North America

Author
item Esteve-gassent, Maria - Texas A&M University
item Castro-arellano, Ivan - Texas A&M University
item Feria-arroyo, Teresa - University Of Texas Rio Grande Valley
item Patino, Ramiro - University Of Texas Rio Grande Valley
item Li, Andrew
item Medina, Raul - Texas A&M University
item Perez De Leon, Adalberto - Beto
item Rodriguez-vivas, Roger - Autonomous University Of Yucatan

Submitted to: Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/20/2016
Publication Date: 4/11/2016
Citation: Esteve-Gassent, M., Castro-Arellano, I., Feria-Arroyo, T., Patino, R., Li, A.Y., Medina, R., Perez De Leon, A.A., Rodriguez-Vivas, R. 2016. Translating ecology, physiology, biochemistry and population genetics research to meet the challenge of tick and tick-borne diseases in North America. Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology. 92(1):38-64.

Interpretive Summary: Emerging and re-emerging tick-borne diseases threaten public health and the wellbeing of domestic animals and wildlife globally. The adoption of an evolutionary ecology framework aimed to diminish the impact of tick-borne diseases needs to be part of strategies to protect human and animal populations. We present a review of current knowledge on the adaptation of ticks to their environment, and the impact that global change could have on their geographic distribution in North America. Environmental pressures will affect tick population genetics by selecting genotypes able to withstand new and changing environments and by altering the connectivity and isolation of several tick populations. Research in these areas is particularly lacking in the southern US and most of Mexico with knowledge gaps on the ecology of these diseases, including a void in the identity of reservoir hosts for several tick-borne pathogens. Additionally, the way in which anthropogenic changes to landscapes may influence tick-borne disease ecology remains to be fully understood. Enhanced knowledge in these areas is needed in order to implement effective and sustainable integrated tick management strategies. We propose to refocus ecology studies with emphasis on metacommunity-based approaches to enable a holistic perspective addressing whole pathogen and host assemblages. Network analyses could be used to develop mechanistic models involving multi host-pathogen communities. An increase in our understanding of the ecology of tick-borne diseases across their geographic distribution will aid in the design of effective area-wide tick control strategies aimed to diminish the burden of pathogens transmitted by ticks.

Technical Abstract: Emerging and re-emerging tick-borne diseases threaten public health and the wellbeing of domestic animals and wildlife globally. The adoption of an evolutionary ecology framework aimed to diminish the impact of tick-borne diseases needs to be part of strategies to protect human and animal populations. We present a review of current knowledge on the adaptation of ticks to their environment, and the impact that global change could have on their distribution in North America. Environmental pressures will affect tick population genetics by selecting types able to withstand new and changing environments and by altering the connectivity and isolation of several tick populations. Research in these areas is particularly lacking in the southern US and most of Mexico with knowledge gaps on the ecology of these diseases, including a void in the identity of reservoirs for several tick-borne disease agents. Additionally, the way in which changes to landscapes caused by humans may influence tick-borne disease ecology remains to be fully understood. Enhanced knowledge in these areas is needed to implement effective and sustainable integrated tick management strategies. We propose to refocus ecology studies aiming to understand how ticks, hosts, and disease agents interact among local communities at larger scales to enable a holistic perspective addressing whole pathogen and host groups. Network analyses could be used to develop models involving multi host-pathogen communities. An increase in our understanding of the ecology of tick-borne diseases across their geographic distribution will aid in the design of effective area-wide tick control strategies to diminish the burden of disease agents transmitted by ticks.