Last week, the Duffy Lab said goodbye to postdoc Cat Searle, who is off to begin a faculty position at Purdue, and to REUs Alejandra Villalba and Magen Prado, who returned to Cal State University-Dominguez Hills. We’re going to miss them all!
Lab photo, summer 2014: left->right: John Marino, Magen Prado, Katie Hunsberger,
Cat Searle, Meghan Duffy, Alejandra Villalba, Clara Shaw
Magen and Alejandra working on their bucket experiments
Cat working on her bucket experiment
The new supplemental issue of the American Naturalist contains a paper by former postdoc Stuart Auld et al. that focuses on how predation and patterns of within-host growth by parasites can influence competition and evolution of parasites. Predation by the “sloppy predator” Chaoborus creates a niche for a common fungal parasite, Metschnikowia bicuspidata, allowing it to outcompete the slower bacterium Pasteuria ramosa. A selection experiment showed that the bacterium can evolve to grow more quickly, but that this comes at a cost in terms of reduced maximal spore yield. We are currently following up on these findings that suggest that parasite life history and predation can interact to influence the ecology, evolution, and epidemiology of infectious diseases. Coauthors on this study include long-term collaborator Spencer Hall, former Duffy Lab technician Jessie Ochs, former Duffy Lab REU Mat Sebastian, and Meghan.
The supplement opens with a paper highlighting some of the interesting open questions in disease ecology and evolution. Curt Lively is the lead author on this paper; Meghan is one of four co-authors.
We’ve started work on a new NSF grant, entitled “Friendly competition – infusing ecology and evolution at the frontiers of the dilution effect in disease ecology.” This grant is collaborative with Spencer Hall of Indiana University (who is lead PI) and Carla Cáceres and Zoi Rapti of the University of Illinois.
A story about the grant can be found here.
Bella and Mandy have both headed off to start PhD programs. Bella will be working in the lab of Dr. Jill Baron at Colorado State University, on a project related to biogeochemistry and aquatic ecosystem ecology. Mandy will be working in the lab of Dr. Romuald Lipcius at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Mandy’s project will focus on blue crab conservation and predator-prey interactions in marine communities. We’re sad to see them go, but know that they’re off to great things!
Mandy in her preferred habitat (outdoors!)
This weekend (L->R) Clara Shaw, Katherine Hunsberger, Catherine and Meghan Duffy all ran the Burns Park (5k & 10k) Run! They sported the new “Daphnia Wranglers” Duffy lab t-shirts, designed by the multi-talented Ainsley Seago. If you’d like a shirt of your own you can place at order here.
It’s research presentation season at the University of Michigan, and Duffy lab undergraduates always have a way of putting together great stories about their research. Recently Amanda Bromilow presented her honors thesis on the behavior of white sharks around diving cages and implications that may have for conservation.
Solanus de la Serna conducted research this academic year with guidance from Dr. Catherine Searle. He was sponsored through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). Solanus looked at the effects of an invasive species of Daphnia on disease dynamics in mesocosm experiments.
Alan Longworth also presented research related to the identification and characterization of a novel fungal parasite of Daphnia. Alan also was sponsored through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). We are very excited to see where this project will go!
Great job everyone!
This weekend, Dr. Meghan Duffy is attending the Atwood Colloquium in Ecology & Evolution at the University of Toronto. Dr. Duffy was invited to speak as the “Rising Star in Ecology” and will be presenting recent work led by former graduate student Dr. Penczykowski and current post-doctoral researcher Dr. Searle.