Giant Daphnia at the Detroit Zoo!



What animals/organisms do you know that live in a lake? The answers I got during Family Day at the Detroit Zoo were pretty much the same (whether I asked a 5 year old, a 10 year old or a 35 year old person!) fish, plants, ducks…and when asked if they ever heard of water fleas or Daphnia? Most people where surprised to know that a weird looking animal that looks like my masterpiece above, but really really really tiny lives in lakes and are important for lake ecosystems. Since Daphnia are tiny, and only easy to clearly see under a microscope, I decided to make this “gigantic” Daphnia so that kids can really appreciated the beauty of working with them. They could clearly see through some of the main organs but visitors were mainly surprise about 2 things: 1) when they saw a picture of a real Daphnia kids were amazed to see the incredible resemblance (not to brag!!!) of my Daphnia to a real Daphnia. Second they were really stoked to learn that as babies Daphnia have 2 eyes, but when they grow their eyes fused into one. Besides learning basic Daphnia 101 on my booth, visitors also got a glimpse into my research on how different diets impact parasitism (I will blog on a different day on how I got this message through!).

This lady had her debut on May 13 and will have other appearances some time in August again the Detroit Zoo so stay tuned on where you can find her!

posted by Kristel

Meghan speaks at the March for Science in DC


Meghan spoke on the main stage at the March for Science in Washington, DC this past weekend. Her talk focused on the value of basic research and the importance of diversity in science. The weather wasn’t great, but the turnout was! You can watch the speech here (skip to the 1 hour mark) and some pictures from the weekend are below.


Speaker pass!


The stage at the rehearsal, the day before the march


Meghan and Kristel got a selfie with Bill Nye!


Meghan meeting Questlove just before speaking!


Screen cap of Meghan during her talk


Meghan receives ASLO award & AAAS Fellowship


Meghan has been selected as the winner of the Association for the Study of Limnology & Oceanography (ASLO)’s Yentsch-Schindler Early Career Award which “honors an aquatic scientist normally within 12 years of the completion of their terminal degree, for outstanding and balanced contributions to research, science training, and broader societal issues such as resource management, conservation, policy, and public education”. A writeup of Meghan’s selection can be found here.

Meghan also was recently named as a AAAS Leshner Leadership Institute Public Engagement Fellow for 2017-2018.  This article talks more about the fellowship, including giving this description:

The fellows have demonstrated leadership and excellence in their research careers, as well as an interest in promoting meaningful dialogue between science and society, according to AAAS, the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

The new fellows will convene in June at AAAS headquarters in Washington, D.C., for a week of intensive public engagement and science communication training, networking and public engagement plan development.

When asked about the award, Meghan said “I’ve always thought that public engagement was important, but the current climate makes this work feel absolutely critical.”

Mary gives talk at Water@Michigan Forum


Mary gave a talk on “Maladaptation to Heavy Metal Exposure in Lake Zooplankton Populations” at the Water@Michigan forum on January 31st. This forum was attended by people from various UMich units as well as regional water organizations, agencies, and businesses. Mary’s talk was clearly effective, as a local politician approached her after the talk to establish a connection with a local lake association group interested in her work. Mary gave talks to lake associations as a grad student, and was happy to say yes to this opportunity!

(General note for readers: if you are in Southeast Michigan and interested in having someone give a talk about lakes at your library, school, lake association meeting, Rotary Club meeting, etc., please just get in touch! We would love to help people in the area learn more about our local lakes. Send an email to to get in touch.)

Rogalski photo for website

Mary Rogalski




News story about FEMMES outreach activity


Here’s a news story that covers an outreach activity the Duffy Lab led for the fall FEMMES capstone. As the article says, FEMMES is “an educational outreach organization that strives to encourage participation of females and underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.” Clara Shaw led our lab’s activity, with assistance fromMeghan Duffy, Michelle Fearon (Tibbetts lab), Camden Gowler, Katie McClean, and Andrew Wood (Duda lab).

From the article:

The Duffy Lab activity, “Survival of the Fittest,” taught the girls about how birds feed on different types of foods, including how that is influenced by natural selection and adaptation. They began by viewing photos of iconic birds and discussing what they might be good at eating, considering their beak sizes and shapes, explained Shaw. Next, they “became birds” using different utensils (such as toothpicks, straws, clothespins) as their “beaks” to try to “eat” a variety of food options like marshmallows, pasta shells, dry beans and hard candy. After experimenting with their ability to pick up various foods, they graphed their results and discussed how differential abilities to eat particular food could result in natural selection.

We had a great time with the girls!