ODU BIOLOGY

The department has teaching and research interests in many aspects of Biology from the cellular and molecular level to organismal to global ecological and conservation issues

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ornithology class makes the news

ODU's Field Ornithology class led by Dr Eric Walters was at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge on Nov 20,2012, when his students identified a Northern Lapwing. Two ODU Biology graduate students in the class, Natasha Hagemeyer and Robyn Nadolny, were the ones to first identify the rarity.

This European / Asian species has never been seen in Virginia before. It is making national headlines among the birding community.


http://www.odu.edu/news/2012/11/northern_lapwing_sig

http://blog.aba.org/2012/11/abarare-northern-lapwing-virginia.html

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Biology faculty in the news......

With the summer heat approaching, Biology faculty make the news with their various projects in teaching or research:

Eric Walters, our community ecologist, is working with NASA to study bird migration:  

Dan Sonenshine, emertius professor, was involved in the development of an app for tick identification as well as working on a new edition of his book on the biology of ticks:
http://ww2.odu.edu/ao/ia/insideodu/20120628/topstory2.php

Lytton Musselman,  Mary Payne Hogan Professor of Botany, spent time this summer teaching in Iraq:
http://ww2.odu.edu/ao/ia/insideodu/20120628/morenews3.php

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

TICK Time in Hampton Roads

Recent increases in the number of cases of tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis in Virginia demonstrate the need for public awareness of ticks and tick-borne diseases. Educational campaigns can provide the public with scientifically valid information to help prevent tick bites or prevent delays in diagnosis of tick-borne diseases. The key to awareness is to target the information during the times when that information is most crucial rather than during seasons of low tick encounter risk. This timing will help prevent complacency because ticks are not seen during various seasons of the year.

In the Hampton Roads area, the month of June is when anyone outdoors is most likely to encounter a tick based on a weekly survey of the area from 2009 to the present. Ticks are consistently collected at a number of surprising locations including sand dunes along the beach, on vegetation in a flooded marsh, along the edges of golf courses and even in the industrial areas near urban downtown areas. The most likely species to encounter is the Lone Star tick, which is does NOT spread Lyme disease but does spread ehrlichiosis. 95% of ticks collected were Lone Stars, and the “tick bombs” that people may encounter in late summer are larvae of this species. While it is certainly disconcerting to have 300-500 black specks suddenly crawling up one’s leg, this life stage is extremely unlikely to harbor any pathogens. The black-legged tick, also known as deer tick, is the vector of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. The tiny nymphs of this species are usually to blame for biting humans and are active late May into June. The Gulf Coast tick is a recent invader from the south and has brought a new disease currently called Tidewater spotted fever. The adults of this species also peak in late May to early June.

Anyone outdoors can encounter a tick in nearly any season of the year, but the month of June is a crucial time to be completely aware. Regular tick checks including checking children can help reduce risk as can tucking pants into socks. Additionally, it is important to dispel the myths that exist regarding ticks. For example, ticks do NOT fall from trees. Ticks will not “back out” if you burn them, cover them in petroleum jelly, etc. The best removal is to use a pair of tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull directly up. Keep the tick in a plastic bag in your freezer for at least two weeks, and take the tick along to the doctor if any symptoms appear including fever, rash or fatigue.

Tick risk in Hampton Roads
Species
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Diseases
Lone Star
*
*
M
H
H
H
H
H
M
L
*
*
Ehrlichiosis
Dog ticks
*
*
L
M
H
H
L
*
*
*
*
*
#
Black-legged
*
*
L
L
M
H
M
L
L
L
L
*
Lyme disease
Gulf Coast
*
*
L
M
H
H
L
*
*
*
*
*
Tidewater spotted fever
Overall
*
*
L
M
H
H
H
M
M
L
*
*

* Ticks could be found but unlikely 
# Dog ticks can spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but that has not be found in any samples to date.
 
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