Master Thesis: Ecology of host-tick-pathogen interactions

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Master Thesis: Ecology of host-tick-pathogen interactions

Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) is among the most important vector-borne diseases in Europe and Eurasia. Both the distribution and number of cases have increased during the past decades, and the virus is now also endemic in the Netherlands. In this project, we aim to understand how factors such as microclimate, wildlife community structure, host reservoir competence, and co-feeding of ticks on rodent hosts are involved in the transmission dynamics and ecology of TBEV. Fieldwork involves live trapping of small mammals, tick drag sampling, camera trapping, and some vegetation surveys.

We are looking for motivated students who work well in a team. Several sub-themes can be chosen, for example: which intrinsic and extrinsic ecological factors are related to…
1)       …tick infestation on rodent hosts?
2)       …questing tick abundance and questing height?
3)       …TBEV antibody prevalence in rodent hosts?
4)       …and more

Fieldwork will take place from ca. 15 February – 15 May 2018

For more information and contact: Fred de Boer (fred.deboer@wur.nl)