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Winter temperature affects the prevalence of ticks in an Arctic seabird.

Descamps S - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: An increase of 1°C in the average winter temperature at the nesting colony site was associated with a 5% increase in the number of birds infected by these ectoparasites in the subsequent breeding season.Guillemots were generally infested by only a few ticks (≤5) and I found no direct effect of tick presence on their body condition and breeding success.However, the strong effect of average winter temperature described here clearly indicates that tick-seabird relationships in the Arctic may be strongly affected by ongoing climate warming.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Norwegian Polar Institute, Fram Centre, Tromsø, Norway. descamps@npolar.no

ABSTRACT
The Arctic is rapidly warming and host-parasite relationships may be modified by such environmental changes. Here, I showed that the average winter temperature in Svalbard, Arctic Norway, explained almost 90% of the average prevalence of ticks in an Arctic seabird, the Brünnich's guillemot Uria lomvia. An increase of 1°C in the average winter temperature at the nesting colony site was associated with a 5% increase in the number of birds infected by these ectoparasites in the subsequent breeding season. Guillemots were generally infested by only a few ticks (≤5) and I found no direct effect of tick presence on their body condition and breeding success. However, the strong effect of average winter temperature described here clearly indicates that tick-seabird relationships in the Arctic may be strongly affected by ongoing climate warming.

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Engorged ticks Ixodes uriae on the neck of a Brünnich’s guillemot, Ossian Sarsfjellet colony, Svalbard (picture by D. Ruché).
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pone-0065374-g001: Engorged ticks Ixodes uriae on the neck of a Brünnich’s guillemot, Ossian Sarsfjellet colony, Svalbard (picture by D. Ruché).

Mentions: Since 2007, all captured birds have been checked systematically for tick presence (visual inspection of the feet, cloacae, eyes and external plumage, with a manual check of the head and neck feathers; Fig. 1). This enables the detection of adults and nymphs as larvae are too small to be sampled in this way [26]. For most captured birds tick presence/absence (i.e., prevalence) was recorded but not the number of ticks (i.e., abundance); no distinction was made between adults and nymphs.


Winter temperature affects the prevalence of ticks in an Arctic seabird.

Descamps S - PLoS ONE (2013)

Engorged ticks Ixodes uriae on the neck of a Brünnich’s guillemot, Ossian Sarsfjellet colony, Svalbard (picture by D. Ruché).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3672161&req=5

pone-0065374-g001: Engorged ticks Ixodes uriae on the neck of a Brünnich’s guillemot, Ossian Sarsfjellet colony, Svalbard (picture by D. Ruché).
Mentions: Since 2007, all captured birds have been checked systematically for tick presence (visual inspection of the feet, cloacae, eyes and external plumage, with a manual check of the head and neck feathers; Fig. 1). This enables the detection of adults and nymphs as larvae are too small to be sampled in this way [26]. For most captured birds tick presence/absence (i.e., prevalence) was recorded but not the number of ticks (i.e., abundance); no distinction was made between adults and nymphs.

Bottom Line: An increase of 1°C in the average winter temperature at the nesting colony site was associated with a 5% increase in the number of birds infected by these ectoparasites in the subsequent breeding season.Guillemots were generally infested by only a few ticks (≤5) and I found no direct effect of tick presence on their body condition and breeding success.However, the strong effect of average winter temperature described here clearly indicates that tick-seabird relationships in the Arctic may be strongly affected by ongoing climate warming.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Norwegian Polar Institute, Fram Centre, Tromsø, Norway. descamps@npolar.no

ABSTRACT
The Arctic is rapidly warming and host-parasite relationships may be modified by such environmental changes. Here, I showed that the average winter temperature in Svalbard, Arctic Norway, explained almost 90% of the average prevalence of ticks in an Arctic seabird, the Brünnich's guillemot Uria lomvia. An increase of 1°C in the average winter temperature at the nesting colony site was associated with a 5% increase in the number of birds infected by these ectoparasites in the subsequent breeding season. Guillemots were generally infested by only a few ticks (≤5) and I found no direct effect of tick presence on their body condition and breeding success. However, the strong effect of average winter temperature described here clearly indicates that tick-seabird relationships in the Arctic may be strongly affected by ongoing climate warming.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus