Experimental and Applied Acarology

, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 107–124 | Cite as

Assessing the statistical relationships among water-derived climate variables, rainfall, and remotely sensed features of vegetation: implications for evaluating the habitat of ticks

  • J. Alonso-Carné
  • A. García-Martín
  • A. Estrada-Peña


Ticks are sensitive to changes in relative humidity and saturation deficit at the microclimate scale. Trends and changes in rainfall are commonly used as descriptors of field observations of tick populations, to capture the climate niche of ticks or to predict the climate suitability for ticks under future climate scenarios. We evaluated daily and monthly relationships between rainfall, relative humidity and saturation deficit over different ecosystems in Europe using daily climate values from 177 stations over a period of 10 years. We demonstrate that rainfall is poorly correlated with both relative humidity and saturation deficit in any of the ecological domains studied. We conclude that the amount of rainfall recorded in 1 day does not correlate with the values of humidity or saturation deficit recorded 24 h later: rainfall is not an adequate surrogate for evaluating the physiological processes of ticks at regional scales. We compared the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), a descriptor of photosynthetic activity, at a spatial resolution of 0.05°, with monthly averages of relative humidity and saturation deficit and also determined a lack of significant correlation. With the limitations of spatial scale and habitat coverage of this study, we suggest that the rainfall or NDVI cannot replace relative humidity or saturation deficit as descriptors of tick processes.


Rainfall Saturation deficit Relative humidity NDVI Ticks 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Alonso-Carné
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • A. García-Martín
    • 2
    • 3
  • A. Estrada-Peña
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Geography and Territorial PlanningUniversity of ZaragozaSaragossaSpain
  2. 2.Centro Universitario de la Defensa de ZaragozaSaragossaSpain
  3. 3.GEOFOREST Group - Instituto Universitario de Ciencias Ambientales (IUCA)University of ZaragozaSaragossaSpain
  4. 4.Department of Animal Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of ZaragozaSaragossaSpain

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