Research NewsEcology

Of Mice and Moths--and Lyme Disease?

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Science  13 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5353, pp. 984-985
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5353.984

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In a 3-year study described on page 1023, a team of ecologists traced the links between several forest species to show that bumper crops of acorns lead to an explosion of mice. The mice in turn protect the oak trees by eating tree-ravaging gypsy moths, but they also host ticks that can spread Lyme disease. The results suggest that it may be possible to warn people when the risk of Lyme disease is high.