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Unexpected Links Found Among Acorns, Gypsy Moths And Lyme Disease

Date:
February 25, 1998
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
If an acorn falls in the forest, will you contract Lyme disease? Perhaps so, according to some surprising research funded by NSF's division of environmental biology, and performed by scientists at the Institute for Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York.

If an acorn falls in the forest, will you contract Lymedisease?

Perhaps so, according to some surprising research funded byNSF's division of environmental biology, and performed byscientists at the Institute for Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook,New York.

Researchers Clive Jones, Richard Ostfeld and colleaguesconducted a study in which forest plots at the institute wereexperimentally manipulated, first by removing white-footed miceand then by adding acorns.

Scientists found several interrelationships between acornproduction, populations of white-footed mice, gypsy moth larvaeand Lyme disease-carrying black-legged (formerly deer) ticks. Inyears of large acorn production - mast years - populations andsurvival rates of white-footed mice increase. In years of loweracorn production, mice populations decrease. The rise and fallin mice population impacts the cycles of gypsy moth production.And, in a complex process, acorn production affects the densityof larval ticks.

"Mast events may be very useful in predicting the risk of Lymedisease and gypsy moth outbreaks," Jones said. "A remarkableamount of nature is interconnected, with unexpected players andinteractions over time that have important implications for humanhealth, and for how we understand, predict and manage thefunctioning of complex ecosystems."


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The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Unexpected Links Found Among Acorns, Gypsy Moths And Lyme Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/02/980225075810.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (1998, February 25). Unexpected Links Found Among Acorns, Gypsy Moths And Lyme Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/02/980225075810.htm
National Science Foundation. "Unexpected Links Found Among Acorns, Gypsy Moths And Lyme Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/02/980225075810.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

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