Notes from the Field: Small Mammals and Lyme Disease

This summer I had the opportunity to be a field assistant for Dr. Virginie Millien and her research on the role of the white-footed mouse in the spread of Lyme disease in Quebec. For the past two months I have helped her grad students trap small mammals and collect ticks throughout the Monteregie. Through being stuck in thunderstorms, stuck in woods filled with mosquitoes, stuck in muddy cornfields, stuck with the pungent smell of rodent droppings, and stuck doing dissections in a sweltering hot tent, we had an amazing field season. The mice were plentiful (unfortunately, so were the ticks), and there was lots of time for reading and exploring the various places we were staying at. From Saint-Anicet to Saint-Etienne-de-Beauharnois to Saint-Liboire to Longueuil to the Morgan arboretum, it was nice to camp out and practise my French more. Though I’m not sure I’ll ever want to pick a million tiny ticks off of a flannel sheet ever again, I’ve definitely learned some valuable field skills that will be useful in the future.

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