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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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Winter temperature and tick prevalence.Relationship between mean winter temperature in Kongsfjorden (average monthly temperature between January and March) and the prevalence of tick infestation on Brünnich’s guillemot (Uria lomvia) at the Ossian Sarsfjellet colony, Svalbard archipelago (R2 = 0.89, p = 0.005). The total number of guillemots caught each season is noted in brackets near each circle. The relationship remains marginally significant when the warmest year was excluded (R2 = 0.73, p = 0.067).
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pone-0065374-g002: Winter temperature and tick prevalence.Relationship between mean winter temperature in Kongsfjorden (average monthly temperature between January and March) and the prevalence of tick infestation on Brünnich’s guillemot (Uria lomvia) at the Ossian Sarsfjellet colony, Svalbard archipelago (R2 = 0.89, p = 0.005). The total number of guillemots caught each season is noted in brackets near each circle. The relationship remains marginally significant when the warmest year was excluded (R2 = 0.73, p = 0.067).

Mentions: Mean winter temperature had a significant effect (p = 0.005) on tick prevalence at the Ossian Sarsfjellet colony (Fig. 2). The slope of this effect was 5.2, resulting in an average 1°C increase in winter temperature that was associated with a 5% increase in the prevalence of ticks the following summer. Winter temperature explained 89% of the variance in tick prevalence from 2007–2012. The 2012 winter was exceptionally warm (−5.4°C; i.e., >5°C above the average for the previous decade) and tick prevalence in the following summer was very high as well (>35%). However, the relationship between winter temperature and tick prevalence was not only driven by this single year because the relation remained nearly significant after excluding the year 2012 (R2 = 0.73 and p = 0.067). Moreover, this relationship was not driven by a common trend in both data series (i.e., neither winter temperature nor tick prevalence showed a significant trend over the study period).


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

Descamps S - PLoS ONE (2013)

Winter temperature and tick prevalence.Relationship between mean winter temperature in Kongsfjorden (average monthly temperature between January and March) and the prevalence of tick infestation on Brünnich’s guillemot (Uria lomvia) at the Ossian Sarsfjellet colony, Svalbard archipelago (R2 = 0.89, p = 0.005). The total number of guillemots caught each season is noted in brackets near each circle. The relationship remains marginally significant when the warmest year was excluded (R2 = 0.73, p = 0.067).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0065374-g002: Winter temperature and tick prevalence.Relationship between mean winter temperature in Kongsfjorden (average monthly temperature between January and March) and the prevalence of tick infestation on Brünnich’s guillemot (Uria lomvia) at the Ossian Sarsfjellet colony, Svalbard archipelago (R2 = 0.89, p = 0.005). The total number of guillemots caught each season is noted in brackets near each circle. The relationship remains marginally significant when the warmest year was excluded (R2 = 0.73, p = 0.067).
Mentions: Mean winter temperature had a significant effect (p = 0.005) on tick prevalence at the Ossian Sarsfjellet colony (Fig. 2). The slope of this effect was 5.2, resulting in an average 1°C increase in winter temperature that was associated with a 5% increase in the prevalence of ticks the following summer. Winter temperature explained 89% of the variance in tick prevalence from 2007–2012. The 2012 winter was exceptionally warm (−5.4°C; i.e., >5°C above the average for the previous decade) and tick prevalence in the following summer was very high as well (>35%). However, the relationship between winter temperature and tick prevalence was not only driven by this single year because the relation remained nearly significant after excluding the year 2012 (R2 = 0.73 and p = 0.067). Moreover, this relationship was not driven by a common trend in both data series (i.e., neither winter temperature nor tick prevalence showed a significant trend over the study period).

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