Congratulations, Haley!


Congratulations to Haley Essington who just graduated with High Honors in recognition of her excellent undergraduate honors thesis on virulence evolution in the Daphnia-Pasteuria system! We’ve loved having Haley in the lab, and look forward to hearing about her adventures in Spain!

Congratulations to Libby and Teresa!


Current first year Duffy Lab graduate student Libby Davenport had two pieces of great news recently: she received an Honorable Mention in the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program competition, and the paper resulting from her undergraduate honors thesis was published in the journal Evolution! You can read more about fitness effects of spontaneous mutations in a warming world here! Libby is currently gearing up for her first field season here in Michigan, including by ordering a rather impressive number of data loggers.

Incoming Duffy Lab graduate student Teresa Sauer also got great news: she received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! Teresa will be moving to Ann Arbor this summer, and is very interested in doing work at the intersection of ecosystem ecology & disease ecology; you can read more about her plans here. We’re very excited about Teresa joining the lab!

Congrats, Libby & Teresa!

Above left: Libby Davenport; above right: Teresa Sauer

Technician and lab manager positions available in the lab!


In addition to having two postdoctoral positions available (more info here, review of postdoc applications begins on March 1st), the Duffy Lab at the University of Michigan is searching for a technician and a lab manager. The technician and lab manager position applications will be available until Feb 26 2021. The projected start date for both positions is June 2021 in Ann Arbor.

Technician position:
The responsibilities for this position include maintaining Daphnia, algae, and parasite cultures, field sampling of lakes in the Ann Arbor area, carrying out lab experiments, helping to develop and test protocols, assisting with general lab maintenance and upkeep, and organizing and maintaining protocols. This position requires an Associate’s degree or higher; a Bachelor’s in biology, ecology, microbiology, or environmental science is preferred.

More information, including on how to apply, is available here. Any questions can be directed to Meghan Duffy (

Lab manager position:
The responsibilities for this position include many of the same responsibilities as those for the technician position, but also include working independently to analyze data, coordinating the field sampling and lab personnel, supervising hourly employees, and leading development and testing of protocols and equipment. This position requires a Bachelors degree in science with 1-3 years of experience; a Master’s degrees in biology, ecology, microbiology, or environmental science is preferred.

More information, including on how to apply, is available here. Any questions can be directed to Meghan Duffy (

A flat bottomed rowboat loaded with oars, pfds, and sampling equipment, on the edge of a large lake on a calm day. Big puffy clouds are visible in the sky and reflected in the lake's surface
Photo credit: Bruce O’Brien

Postdoc positions available in the lab!


Two postdoctoral positions focusing on host-symbiont interactions in inland lakes are available in the lab! We study the ecology and evolutionary biology of host-parasite interactions, using the aquatic crustacean Daphnia and their microparasites as a model system. The successful candidates will have access to a vibrant intellectual community and state-of-the-art facilities in the new Biological Sciences Building at Michigan.

In addition to being super cute, Daphnia are a great system for studying the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases at scales ranging from genes through ecosystems!

There is a lot of flexibility in terms of what successful applicants can work on, and postdocs will be encouraged to develop projects that are well-suited to their strengths and interests. Some themes of ongoing work in the lab include:

  • characterizing the diversity of symbionts in zooplankton in inland lakes
  • understanding the drivers of shifts between mutualism & parasitism
  • investigating the ecosystem-level impacts of shifts along a mutualism-parasitism gradient
  • discovery of the factors that allow parasites to move between host species
  • characterization of the distribution of parasites in the water column of lakes
  • interactions between symbionts (including parasites) within host individuals and at the population level
  • how host diversity influences parasitism
  • impacts of predators on host-parasite interactions
  • how symbionts alter Daphnia interactions with phytoplankton, and how phytoplankton influence Daphnia-symbiont interactions.
Mill Lake, one of our beautiful study sites in Southeastern Michigan!

The successful candidates for these positions will be expected to carry out independent research relating to aquatic symbiosis, using Daphnia and their symbionts (especially their microparasites) as a model system. Projects will be developed based on the strengths, interests, and expertise of the successful candidates. The projects will likely involve field and lab work. Depending on interest and abilities, postdocs will also have the ability to work on mathematical modeling of disease.

These positions will also involve mentoring of undergraduate researchers in the lab.

How to Apply
Interested individuals should send a CV, a brief description of research accomplishments and future goals, and the names and contact information for 3 references to Meghan Duffy by e-mail ( Review of applications will start on March 1, 2021 and will continue until the position is filled. The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer.

Required Qualifications
PhD (by start date) with experience in aquatic ecology, disease ecology, community ecology, eco-evolutionary dynamics, evolutionary ecology, microbiology, protistology, mycology, or a related field.

Desired Qualifications
Experience working with Daphnia and/or isolating parasites from the field would be beneficial, but is not required.

Other information
Preference will be given to applicants who can start by mid-summer 2021, though start dates as late as Fall 2021 are possible. Funding is available for each postdoc for at least two years, but is contingent on satisfactory progress in year one. The anticipated starting salary for the positions is $48,500 per year plus benefits.

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer.

Welcome to newest lab members Michelle, Libby, and Marcin!


We’ve had three new folks join the lab since this summer (yes, we are once again behind on welcoming new folks!):

Michelle Fearon: We are very excited that Michelle joined our lab as a postdoc this summer! Michelle is well known to us, as she did her PhD with Liz Tibbetts and was a regular attendee at our lab meetings while she was a grad student. Michelle will be working on multihost-multiparasite interactions, and is especially interested in questions related to the effects of biodiversity on disease.

Libby Davenport: We are also very excited that Libby Davenport joined the PhD program & our lab this fall! Libby was an undergraduate at the University of South Carolina and did her undergraduate honors thesis with Jeff Dudycha, so she comes to us with lots of Daphnia experience! Libby recently presented the results of her undergraduate research at the Virtual Asilomar meeting in January, and is excited about getting into the lab this semester to start doing some work with parasites!

Marcin Dziuba: Our newest lab member is Marcin Dziuba, who just joined the lab as a postdoc in February. (We managed to welcome one person promptly, at least!) Marcin comes to us from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland. His PhD work included studies of how Daphnia respond to increased water temperatures (recently published in L&O!), as well as work on Daphnia-parasite interactions. We are extremely impressed that Marcin somehow managed to accomplish everything that needed to be accomplished to move here in the middle of a pandemic, and are very excited to have him in the lab!

We’re hoping that we’ll all actually get to work together in person some time in the not-too-distant future!

Meghan takes part in virtual Moore Foundation Investigator meeting


Meghan spent time last week taking part in a virtual meeting of the 15 new Moore Foundation Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative investigators. Meghan received the award last spring. More about the award, which supports “innovative, risky research that has high potential for significant conceptual and methodological advances in aquatic symbiosis”, can be found here. Meghan is looking forward to meeting everyone in person some time in the future! And the whole lab is really excited about carrying out this work!

Congratulations, Dr. Gowler!


Congratulations to Camden, who successfully defended his dissertation last week! He’ll be staying in the lab for a short postdoc before moving on to his next position. We’re excited he’ll be in the lab a bit longer!

Here’s the photo from the end of his Zoom oral exam:

Six people smiling at their cameras, arranged in a zoom window. Camden is in the lower right with a big smile.

It’s (socially distanced) field season!


We’re excited to have begun socially distanced field work! Things are different this year — we’re taking two trucks out so people don’t have to share a truck cab, and are sampling from two kayaks rather than our usual jon boat. But we’re sampling! Here are some pictures from the beginning of field season. (Photo credits: Becca Bilich and Laura Lopez)

path through lilies, with a lake in the distancefront end of a kayak with a water bottle and coffee mug visible, with a calm lake in front and trees in the distanceIMG_1457Kayak with a Secchi disk visible on the front

Congratulations, Khadijah!


Many congratulations to Khadijah Payne, who graduated with her Masters degree this summer. Khadijah is going to begin teaching high school science this fall. We’re going to miss her in the lab, but are very excited about her new position!


Bonus photo of Khadijah and Katie in the field!