|Title||Mechanistic movement models to predict geographic range expansions of ticks and tick-borne pathogens: Case studies with Ixodes scapularis and Amblyomma americanum in eastern North America|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2023|
|Journal||Ticks Tick Borne Dis|
|Authors||Tardy O, Acheson ES, Bouchard C, Chamberland E, Fortin A, Ogden NH, Leighton PA|
|Keywords||Amblyomma americanum, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, Climate warming, Ixodes scapularis, Reaction-advection-diffusion model, Spatial expansion|
Our results suggest that the attraction of migratory birds (long-distance tick dispersal hosts) to resource-rich areas during their spring migration and the mate-finding Allee effect in tick population dynamics are key drivers for the spread of infected blacklegged ticks. The modeled increases in temperature extended the climatically suitable areas of Canada for infected blacklegged ticks and uninfected lone star ticks towards higher latitudes by up to 31% and 1%, respectively, and with an average predicted speed of the range expansion reaching 61 km/year and 23 km/year, respectively. Differences in the projected spatial distribution patterns of these tick species were due to differences in climate envelopes of tick populations, as well as the availability and attractiveness of suitable habitats for migratory birds. Our results indicate that the northward invasion process of lone star ticks is primarily driven by local dispersal of resident terrestrial hosts, whereas that of blacklegged ticks is governed by long-distance migratory bird dispersal. The results also suggest that mechanistic movement models provide a powerful approach for predicting tick-borne disease risk patterns under complex scenarios of climate, socioeconomic and land use/land cover changes.