Photo credit John Woodcock, Lincoln sparrow with three ticks attached. Header photo by John Woodcock, Veery with tick attached.

Citizen Science

With the emerging and rapidly expanding issues of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases nationwide, citizen science can be a powerful tool to start answering questions and filling in the gaps of knowledge. See what we are doing here in Colorado and learn how you can participate in nationwide efforts!

Colorado Bird Study

Studies in both the US and Canada have shown that wild birds are important concern for both transport of tick species and as host reservoirs of tick borne infections. In 2016, COTBDAA launched a study in collaboration with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies to determine which, if any, ticks and tick borne diseases birds may be transporting in Colorado. This was the first season of a multi-year study in which bird banding researchers from Bird Conservancy of the Rockies are collecting ticks from birds in Colorado. Ticks are being identified by USDA, National Veterinary Services Laboratory Entomologist, Dr. H. Joel Hutcheson, and then tested for multiple pathogens by Nieto Lab at Northern Arizona University. Results from this study will be posted in the near future.

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Tick Testing

Bay Area Lyme Foundation has initiated a tick testing study. Their goal is to provide individuals with free information as to whether a tick they have encountered is an infected or uninfected tick. By sending in your tick(s) you are participating in a citizen science project and national tick-collection/testing effort which will enable their scientists to compare past and potential future distributions of ticks and tick-borne disease. Their hope is that by collecting this data, they may be able to predict where risk of disease is most common. Only 17 ticks were sent in from Colorado last year. Consider participating in this Nationwide study…and get your ticks in!

TickEncounter-TickSpotters Program

TickEncounter is keeping track of tick encounters, and they need all of the TickSpotters they can get! Thousands of citizen scientists are submitting REAL data that’s helping drive tick awareness tools. Millions of people across North America encounter various types and stages of ticks every year. Pets are even more at risk. By recording location and date, and submitting an identification or picture, you can improve tick bite risk warning systems to bring seasonally and spatially relevant prevention messages to the broadest audience possible.

LymeDisease.Org-MyLymeData

MyLymeData is a patient powered research project by LymeDisease.Org. It was conceived by patients, is run by patients, and addresses the issues that patients care about. It lets Lyme disease patients learn from each other and provides data that can help drive research to improve their lives. It is a new survey tool that tracks patient progress over time. It allows patients to use today’s computer technology to quickly and privately pool diagnosis and treatment experiences. LDO used results from MyLymeData for a poster presentation at the Lyme Disease Association/Columbia CME conference in St. Paul Minnesota in 2016. They also demonstrated the variable reporting of Lyme disease through various surveillance sources in Colorado.  Adding your data to MyLymeData will more accurately reflect Colorado Lyme numbers.

Image courtesy of LymeDisease.org