Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2024

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences

Program or Major

Biomedical Science: Medical and Veterinary Sciences

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

David B. Needle


In Northern New England, ungulates are often parasitized by ticks, which is one of the leading causes for the decline in population. Ungulates are a good host for ticks, specifically deer ticks and winter ticks, and these ticks cause many tick-borne diseases in humans as well. The purpose of this study was to assess passive sampling from harvested animals as a means of tick surveillance in Vermont and New Hampshire. Ticks were collected from deer and moose and mapped throughout the two states by ArcGIS to visualize the trends in distribution. Relative abundance was greater in southeastern Vermont, with no difference noted in New Hampshire. Less ticks were submitted from moose and and more were submitted from deer. Trends may be due to the environment that ticks prefer; the southern part of New England has warmer climates than the northern part, which is a more suited environment for ticks, however it is well known that many thousands of ticks parasitize a single moose, so sampling bias seems most likely. The higher the host density in these areas, the higher the tick abundance will be since there are more hosts that ticks can parasitize. These findings suggest that passive collection is not suited for modeling density and abundance but can contribute to maintaining ungulate populations and monitoring tick-borne diseases in Northern New England.