Posts

Week 8 (7/15/24)

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 This was my last planned shortened week of the internship, so this entry starts on Wednesday (7/17/24) Wednesday: Today I started with starting a new GIS project I gave myself, where I am making a heat map to show how close areas of the county are relative to the actual sampling sites. This was inspired by my own experience, because the site for my town is 20 minutes from my house, and I do not even live in the biggest town. After spending about an hour trying to do this me and Steve had to get out and hit the weekly surveillance sites because it is supposed to rain overnight and possibly into the day Thursday. We got to East Moriches (Longhorn site) and West Hampton (Lonestar site). Each site was on the opposite ends of the extremes in terms of the quantity of ticks we found at each site. At East Moriches, we each easily got over 100 ticks each in under 20 samples. We left this site pretty quickly and after sampling at West Hampton, we collected maybe 40 ticks in total, with at over

Week 7 (7/8/24)

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I have decided to shake up the way I do my blogs from now on, I always write paragraphs at the end of each day to go back to when  I write about my week on Friday. However I realized I could make these posts more in depth if I just use the paragraphs. Monday : We did not go out in the field today, me and Steve stayed in and we began counting the rest of the other species of ticks we have collected from the Deer Tick sights, as we only counted the Deer Tick Nymphs at each site to save time earlier in the internship. We got maybe 2/3rds of the way through before lunch. After, Chris had me teach the new hire, also named Michael, how to properly ID the ticks and the process of sorting and labeling the petri dishes. We started by going through sample from one of the Longhorn tick sites together, and I checked over his work as we went. After, me and Michael picked up where me and Steve were before lunch, and I showed him the process we go through for counting ticks. This is what we did for t

Week 6 (7/1/24)

This week is a short week for fourth of July, and I am taking a personal day off on the 5th, so not to much happened. On Monday we went to Cedar Point and Montauk to finish the sites off before the Deer Tick nymph season slows down to much. We got the ticks we needed, and right before it started to pour for the whole ride home. There was a bunch of traffic so that is all we did on Monday. I got back, did a few odd chores around the lab such as folding the ticking flags before the day ended. Tuesday was entirely opposite from Monday, and I was in the whole day sorting and counting mosquitos. I have the gravid traps down to a science, but I keep messing up the backend with entering data into the computers and today a sample may have gone missing but we do not know, and couldve been a zero. From now on if I get any empty traps I am going to mark them as such in my notebook just to be sure. Lastly wednesday Me, Steve, and the new lab tech hire, another Michael, went to the site in West Ham

Week 5 (6/24/24)

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We are coming super close to being done with our first round of collecting Deer Ticks. On Monday me and Steve and Jules went to our sites at Tuckahoe and Laurel one last time, putting the totals for both sites well over 100. The next day me and Steve went to William Floyd Estate, which we needed 8 more to get our total, and we struggled to find them over the course of an hour. The last sites we need to go to now are Montauk and Cedar point again. There is another site in Belmont but it has such a small amount of Deer ticks that it is hardly worth going  to try with all the other sites that also need collecting, and have more potential. After these are completed, I believe we just have to do the scheduled site visits that monitor Lonestar or Longhorn populations at East Moriches, East Patchogue, and West Hampton. Unfortunately, we were down two interns this week that worked on Mosquitos, so I had to step in and once again, besides site visits, this week I mostly ID'd and counting mo

The Stars of the Show

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There are the pictures of the most common ticks I see. Visit this site to learn more about ticks. Notice: Long Horn Ticks have stubbier Palps + Hypostome

Week 4 (6/17/24)

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This week has been a very Mosquito-heavy week due to a combination of many mosquito-focused interns were out most of the week and we had a short week with the federal holiday for Juneteenth. I was able to get a little more involved in the process for the mosquitos, and did a new, but simple task for of recharging all the batteries for the light traps. I was also able to get familiarized with the mosquito ID and counting process and realized I may not be as good at them as I thought, and I definitely still need the dichotomous key for the Mosquito ID outside a few species. Even after I ID species from a trap, my coworker Sammy checks to make sure I am correct. Admittedly, it was a nice break from the norm with going out flagging for ticks, being able to be in an air conditioned room during an especially hot week, but I am always excited for doing work outdoors with the tick flagging. On that note for ticking, we only went to two sites this week, and they were far. Caumsett, in Huntingto

Week 3 (6/10/24)

This week was go go go with collecting ticks in the field. The window for Deer Ticks nymphs is starting to close, and what little there was to begin with is starting to disappear. So this week I went out all five days to various sites including: Manorville, Blydenburgh, East Moriches, and Brookhaven twice. I got very good with being able to identify ticks habitats, but I am still working on noticing the Deer Tick nymphs in the field. I have gotten very good at doing tick ID in the lab, and I am able to go much faster and get it done in a timely manner. I have finished my first project on excel for now, I would like to use GIS but the IT department has not responded to me. I have started another small project where I am calculating how many mosquito samples per square miles we are able to do, compared to other counties, and comparing that to their populations. The last minor thing I did this week was completely resort the Tick petri dishes in the deep freezer, which were a total mess la

Types of Ticks!

 I realized my species IDs may be confusing: Deer Ticks (Blacklegged Ticks): Ixodes Scapularis (I.s.): These are the most important to find for this time of year, as the targets change with the seasons. They are incredibly difficult to find amongst the Lone Stars. Lone Star Ticks: Amblyomma americanum (A.a.): This time of year these are everywhere. We need these for surveillance as well but we do not struggle to collect these, which is why we count the Deer Ticks. Asian Longhorn: Haemaphysalis longicornis (H. Long): These are new and invasive to LI, preferring dryer grasses (like by the beach). They look exactly like Lone Starts except for one minor difference. We have multiple surveillance sites for these ticks that we have to visit often to study their life cycles. American Dog Ticks: Dermacentor variabilis (D.v.) These ticks are massive and tend to stick to 1-2 hosts throughout their lives, so we do not find them as often. The male is my favorite tick for its cool patterns on its ba

Week 2 (6/3/24)

This week was majority spent in the field collecting ticks. I have gotten much better at identifying tick species on the flags, and in particular spotting the Deer Tick Nymphs, which are what we aim to collect. It was nice being able to see parts of Long Island I have not been to before, and being outside in general for most of the day. In the lab I have gotten much quicker at using the tweezers and microscope to sort the ticks by ID, and almost all the time I did not spend in the field this week was identifying the ticks we have collected, since we are sort of backed up right now. I have not done much with the mosquitos this week, only working on IDing those for a few minutes on Wednesday. My side project of making some Lyme Disease data presentable got feedback on monday, and so I have been chipping away at it slowly each morning, before most people are at work. I find excel to be sort of like a puzzle, so I find it fun and it helps wake me up a little. I hope to have this revised ve

Week 1 (5/28/24)

     A lot happened in my first week interning here! I met my supervisors, Chris Romano and Scott Campbell, who showed me around the lab and assigned me a desk. I have begun to help set up for mosquito traps, and IDing Mosquitoes from the traps, and sorting them into vials to be tested for diseases. The amount of mosquitos coming in already for the start of the year has been nearly triple from years before apparently, so I was sort of thrown into it quickly and made a few mistakes, but there is always a learning curve for everything. For the Ticks, my coworker who collects them Steve, had me measure how long 20 paces were for me, so we could get an idea of how far I go when sampling ticks. Wednesday, I went with Steve in the morning to collect ticks in Brookhaven, which is done with a flag that gets dragged along the ground for 20 paces, and then ticks are picked up with tape or tweezers and put into a vial. Steve also showed me the life stages of ticks, being larvae, nymph, and adult,