Date of this Version
Ecosphere (May 2016) 7(5): Article e01271.
Parasites and pathogens are increasingly recognized as significant drivers of ecological and evolutionary change in natural ecosystems. Concurrently, transmission of infectious agents among human, livestock, and wildlife populations represents a growing threat to veterinary and human health. In light of these trends and the scarcity of long-term time series data on infection rates among vectors and reservoirs, the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) will collect measurements and samples of a suite of tick-, mosquito-, and rodent-borne parasites through a continental-scale surveillance program. Here, we describe the sampling designs for these efforts, highlighting sampling priorities, field and analytical methods, and the data as well as archived samples to be made available to the research community. Insights generated by this sampling will advance current understanding of and ability to predict changes in infection and disease dynamics in novel, interdisciplinary, and collaborative ways.