GANSER, GLASS, KESSLERA Survey of Tick-Borne Bacterial Pathogens in Florida

Carrie E. De Jesus, Claudia Ganser, William H. Kessler, Zoe S. White, Chanakya R. Bhosale, Gregory E. Glass, and Samantha M. Wisely

Article first published online: 13 SEPT 2019 Insects

DOI: 10.3390/insects10090297

ABSTRACT: Within the past three decades, new bacterial etiological agents of tick-borne disease have been discovered in the southeastern U.S., and the number of reported tick-borne pathogen infections has increased. In Florida, few systematic studies have been conducted to determine the presence of tick-borne bacterial pathogens. This investigation examined the distribution and presence of tick-borne bacterial pathogens in Florida. Ticks were collected by flagging at 41 field sites, spanning the climatic regions of mainland Florida. DNA was extracted individually from 1608 ticks and screened for Anaplasma, Borrelia, Ehrlichia and Rickettsia using conventional PCR and primers that amplified multiple species for each genus. PCR positive samples were Sanger sequenced. Four species of ticks were collected: Amblyomma americanum, Amblyomma maculatum, Dermacentor variabilis, and Ixodes scapularis. Within these ticks, six bacterial species were identified: Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia lonestari, Ehrlichia ewingii, Rickettsia amblyommatis, Rickettsia andeanae, Rickettsia parkeri, and Rickettsia endosymbionts. Pathogenic Borrelia, Ehrlichia, and Rickettsia species were all detected in the North and North-Central Florida counties; however, we found only moderate concordance between the distribution of ticks infected with pathogenic bacteria and human cases of tick-borne diseases in Florida. Given the diversity and numerous bacterial species detected in ticks in Florida, further investigations should be conducted to identify regional hotspots of tick-borne pathogens.

Read the full publication at Insects.

Floating Fish Camp, Apalachicola River, Florida. Image courtesy The Florida Geographer.

CHEN, MOSSAFloating fish camps on the Apalachicola River, Florida: Increases and Implications

Joann Mossa, Yin-Hsuen Chen

Article first published online: 09 FEB 2018 The Florida Geographer


Peoples from various cultures and locations have been living on the edge or margin of water-land interfaces in floating houses of various types, either permanently or part-time. In some cases, people build these to access natural resources from both water and land environments. Through fieldwork on the Apalachicola River and branches, including the lower Chipola and Brothers Rivers in the Florida panhandle, a large variety of floating camps were observed. The purposes of this paper are to: 1) review historical information on the occurrence of floating dwellings and camps worldwide to give context to the study area; 2) map patterns and change since 1994 in different parts of the basin, including whether adjoining public or private lands to interpret potential areas of concern; and 3) examine the vernacular architecture of floating structures. Much of our discussion concerns current policy regarding floating structures in light of the need to maintain the ecological integrity of the river.

The earliest known references to floating homes or camps in the study area date back to the Great Depression of the 1930s, when society was in need of low-cost housing. Rather than being clustered in communities, the fish camps of the Apalachicola River and branches are spaced across this system. The number of floating camps along the Apalachicola River and some of its major branches, as measured using Google Earth and historical aerial photography, has increased from 63 in 1994 to 132 in 2004 to 177 in 2015. Since dredging associated with the Navigation Project stopped in 2002, 78% of the growth or 34 of 45 new floating structures has been on the main-stem Apalachicola River, compared to 54% or 37 of 69 from 1994 to 2004. Nearly half of the fish camps are located next to public lands, which in some cases are impacted by people residing within the camps. The rustic structures typically are built of reused building materials; amenities can include air conditioning and satellite dish television, and decorations include flags or name plaques. Studies of floating dwellings elsewhere, and communication with local officials, provides some guidance on the benefits and concerns for these increasingly numerous dwellings in terms of public safety, crime, and environment in relation to existing and potential policy.

Read the full publication at The Florida Geographer





Wild Futures in Conservation and Climate

November 9th, 3pm, Rion Ballroom, Reitz Union

Mac Stone, Conservation Photographer, Author and Educator

Title: Dispatches from the Field – A World in Flux

Mac Stone travels the globe to bring back stories from the frontiers where mankind and the natural world collide. Copies of Mac’s book Everglades: America’s Wetland will be available to purchase.

Shaun Martin, Senior Director, Climate Change Adaptation, and Resilience at World Wildlife Fund

Title: Learning to Live with Climate Change

Shaun will discuss the need to consider climate change risks on biodiversity and natural resources and the necessary paradigm shift in conservation away from managing for persistence to facilitating change.

The Kevin and Jeannette Malone Distinguished Scholar Series began in 2014 with a generous donation for the purpose of bringing world class scholars and educational opportunities to the University of Florida. The invited scholars have been renowned experts in fields such as food security, sustainable development, climate and energy, wildlife and natural systems, resource policies, and other environmentally-focused research. In addition to delivering a lecture to both campus and the public, the scholars meet with students, faculty, and private industry partners to discuss their work, establish potential collaborations, and develop continuing relationships with the University of Florida.

Image courtesy Dr. Robert Walker.

WALKER – Fountain of Youth

Robert Walker

Article first published online: 02 FEB 2017 Kudzu House

INTRODUCTION: Upon my unanticipated return to Florida six months ago, I hurried to Silver Springs where I’d spent many a summer day as a child.  To escape the heat of the Tampa Bay area, my parents would load my kid brother and me into a Chevy station wagon and head north.  After a couple of hours, we’d pull into Ocala and make the short jog to the spring, with its necklace of amusement parks, and clean, cool waters.  My brother and I would jump from the car and run-off, too excited to wait for mom and dad.  I remember the water slides and spools of cotton candy that cost a dime.  I remember the shiny boots of the snake man and the nonchalance with which he’d squeeze venom from a six foot rattler.  I remember the whoops of the Seminoles attacking soldiers behind the palisades of a movie-set Fort King.  I remember the petting zoo with the deer and giraffes, the alligators in the sunken cages, sluggish beneath the sun.

Read the full publication at Kudzu House

Image courtesy Dr. Jane Southworth
Image courtesy Dr. Jane Southworth

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Geography is recruiting a Post-Doctoral Associate positon for Dr. Southworth with her research group to work on (1) time series analysis of remotely sensed and climate data in savanna systems; (2) land grabs in Ethiopia analyzed via remotely sensed data; and (3) land cover analysis in the State of Florida. Dr. Southworth is looking for individuals familiar with remote sensing, GIS and related technologies, with related skills in programming, time series analysis and advanced remote sensing approaches. You must have interest in applying such skills to vegetated systems and an interest in Africa would be desirable, be available for fieldwork in the US and abroad, be able to work independently, be able to lead and collaborate on research articles and potentially on research proposals, be interested in working as part of a dynamic and highly interdisciplinary research team, and be motivated.


Apply at Careers at UF!

Hurricane Matthew composite radar 07-10-2016 0848UTC.png
Hurricane Matthew. Image courtesy WikiMedia Commons.

Hurricane Matthew’s near miss of Florida may result in more widespread damage than a direct hit – according to UF’s Dr. Corene Matyas – who was quoted in an October 7th Tampa Bay Times article. Dr. Matyas’ National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research focuses on rainfall from tropical cyclones.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

“But Florida’s near miss may simply have spread the damage and flooding over a wider swath of the state than a direct hit, warned Corene Matyas, a UF associate professor of geography who investigates the frequency and intensity of hurricanes.

Matthew knuckled along the coast for hundreds of miles, increasing the areas exposed to tropical storm-force winds, storm surge and rainfall, she said.

“The complete picture of damage has yet to emerge,” she said.

Dr. Matyas clarifies that the “Hurricane Matthew tracking parallel to the coast has increased the areas exposed to tropical storm-force winds and water rise from storm surge and wave energy, plus rainfall.”

Read the entire article at the Tampa Bay Times.