Predicting habitat suitability for Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes persulcatus ticks in Finland
Uusitalo, R., Siljander, M., Lindén, A., Sormunen, J. J., Aalto, J., Hendrickx, G., Kallio, E., Vajda, A., Gregow, H., Henttonen, H., Marsboom, C., Korhonen, E. M., Sironen, T., Pellikka, P., & Vapalahti, O. (2022). Predicting habitat suitability for Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes persulcatus ticks in Finland. Parasites and Vectors, 15, Article 310. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-022-05410-8
Published inParasites and Vectors
DisciplineEkologia ja evoluutiobiologiaResurssiviisausyhteisöEcology and Evolutionary BiologySchool of Resource Wisdom
© 2022 the Authors
Background Ticks are responsible for transmitting several notable pathogens worldwide. Finland lies in a zone where two human-biting tick species co-occur: Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes persulcatus. Tick densities have increased in boreal regions worldwide during past decades, and tick-borne pathogens have been identified as one of the major threats to public health in the face of climate change. Methods We used species distribution modelling techniques to predict the distributions of I. ricinus and I. persulcatus, using aggregated historical data from 2014 to 2020 and new tick occurrence data from 2021. By aiming to fill the gaps in tick occurrence data, we created a new sampling strategy across Finland. We also screened for tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) and Borrelia from the newly collected ticks. Climate, land use and vegetation data, and population densities of the tick hosts were used in various combinations on four data sets to estimate tick species’ distributions across mainland Finland with a 1-km resolution. Results In the 2021 survey, 89 new locations were sampled of which 25 new presences and 63 absences were found for I. ricinus and one new presence and 88 absences for I. persulcatus. A total of 502 ticks were collected and analysed; no ticks were positive for TBEV, while 56 (47%) of the 120 pools, including adult, nymph, and larva pools, were positive for Borrelia (minimum infection rate 11.2%, respectively). Our prediction results demonstrate that two combined predictor data sets based on ensemble mean models yielded the highest predictive accuracy for both I. ricinus (AUC = 0.91, 0.94) and I. persulcatus (AUC = 0.93, 0.96). The suitable habitats for I. ricinus were determined by higher relative humidity, air temperature, precipitation sum, and middle-infrared reflectance levels and higher densities of white-tailed deer, European hare, and red fox. For I. persulcatus, locations with greater precipitation and air temperature and higher white-tailed deer, roe deer, and mountain hare densities were associated with higher occurrence probabilities. Suitable habitats for I. ricinus ranged from southern Finland up to Central Ostrobothnia and North Karelia, excluding areas in Ostrobothnia and Pirkanmaa. For I. persulcatus, suitable areas were located along the western coast from Ostrobothnia to southern Lapland, in North Karelia, North Savo, Kainuu, and areas in Pirkanmaa and Päijät-Häme. Conclusions This is the first study conducted in Finland that estimates potential tick species distributions using environmental and host data. Our results can be utilized in vector control strategies, as supporting material in recommendations issued by public health authorities, and as predictor data for modelling the risk for tick-borne diseases. ...
Publication in research information system
MetadataShow full item record
Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Academy Programme, AoF; Academy Research Fellow, AoF
Additional information about fundingThis study was funded by the Doctoral Programme in Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences (DENVI) of the University of Helsinki and by the Academy of Finland through the VECLIMIT project (decision No #329323).
Showing items with similar title or keywords.
Cayol, Claire (University of Jyväskylä, 2017)Infectious diseases are amongst the ten major causes of human mortality worldwide, 60% of them being animal-borne. Variations of abiotic and biotic conditions are likely to modify the transmission of parasites and ...
Monitoring of ticks and tick-borne pathogens through a nationwide research station network in Finland Sormunen, Jani J.; Andersson, Tommi; Aspi, Jouni; Bäck, Jaana; Cederberg, Tony; Haavisto, Noora; Halonen, Hanna; Hänninen, Jari; Inkinen, Jasmin; Kulha, Niko; Laaksonen, Maija; Loehr, John; Mäkelä, Satu; Mäkinen, Katja; Norkko, Joanna; Paavola, Riku; Pajala, Pauliina; Petäjä, Tuukka; Puisto, Anna; Sippola, Ella; Snickars, Martin; Sundell, Janne; Tanski, Niko; Uotila, Antti; Vesilahti, Ella-Maria; Vesterinen, Eero J.; Vuorenmaa, Silja; Ylönen, Hannu; Ylönen, Jari; Klemola, Tero (Elsevier, 2020)In 2015 a long-term, nationwide tick and tick-borne pathogen (TBP) monitoring project was started by the Finnish Tick Project and the Finnish Research Station network (RESTAT), with the goal of producing temporally and ...
Sympatric Ixodes-tick species : pattern of distribution and pathogen transmission within wild rodent populations Cayol, Claire; Jääskeläinen, Anu; Koskela, Esa; Kyröläinen, Sami; Mappes, Tapio; Siukkola, Anja; Kallio, Eva (Nature Publishing Group, 2018)The generalist tick Ixodes ricinus is the most important vector for tick-borne pathogens (TBP), including Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, in Europe. However, the involvement of other sympatric Ixodes ticks, such as the ...
Ma, Yuying; He, Ge; Yang, Ruonan; Wang, Yingying X. G.; Huang, Zheng Y. X.; Dong, Yuting (MDPI AG, 2022)The spatial extent and incidence of Lyme disease is increasing in the United States, particularly in the Upper Midwest and Northeast. Many previous studies have explored the drivers of its spatial pattern, however, few ...
Rodent host population dynamics drive zoonotic Lyme Borreliosis and Orthohantavirus infections in humans in Northern Europe Aminikhah, Mahdi; Forsman, Jukka T.; Koskela, Esa; Mappes, Tapio; Sane, Jussi; Ollgren, Jukka; Kivelä, Sami M.; Kallio, Eva R. (Nature Publishing Group, 2021)Zoonotic diseases, caused by pathogens transmitted between other vertebrate animals and humans, pose a major risk to human health. Rodents are important reservoir hosts for many zoonotic pathogens, and rodent population ...