Collecting ticks might not sound like a great summer job. But two students had the opportunity to perform real-world field research alongside one of their professors, and to contribute data that will be analyzed by the state in its effort to control the disease-carrying insect. Helping Dr. Jeanne Minnerath of the Biology Department last summer were two Biology Pre-Physical Therapy majors, Brandi Blattner and Jordyn Messling.
The work involved the invasive Japanese barberry plant, a prickly species that creates a habitat that the Minnesota Department of Health and Department of Agriculture suspects is desirable for ticks. Dr. Minnerath and her students conducted a pilot study in barberry-infested sites in Wabasha and Houston Counties. Additional sites without barberry infestations were also surveyed for comparison.
Dr. Minnerath considers this kind of research a win-win situation. She depends on student help—and students make good contacts, gain valuable experience, and build their résumés.