Summer Research Opportunities!


Dr. Duffy is once again looking for two students from Cal State-Dominguez Hills to carry out research in her lab during Summer 2015. During summer 2014, two CSUDH students, Magen Prado and Alejandra Villalba, carried out research in the lab. Research in the Duffy Lab focuses on Daphnia-parasite interactions. Daphnia are very important members of freshwater food webs, and also are a great system for studying the ecology of infectious diseases.

We will work with students to identify projects of mutual interest, but some possibilities include a project looking at how infection alters host feeding rate (we know that Daphnia often eat less when they’re sick, kind of like people!), effects of UV irradiation on parasite fitness (we know lakes vary a lot in how much UV penetrates, and wonder if this can explain patterns of disease that we see), and genetic structuring of parasite populations (are parasites more similar in different hosts in one lake, or in the same host across lakes?).

Each of the two students will work closely with Duffy Lab members on the project, but will be expected to be fully involved in the project and write up a final report at the end of the summer. The students will definitely be involved in lab research, and will have the option of doing some fieldwork on local lakes, too.

Students will be expected to be in residence in Ann Arbor for 10 weeks for the program. Each student will receive a $5000 stipend, plus will have housing and travel expenses covered.

Interested? Email Dr. Duffy: duffymeg at umich dot edu

Postdoc search — come join us!


Here’s the ad that was posted to ecolog and evoldir:

A postdoctoral position focusing on the evolutionary ecology and/or community ecology of host-parasite interactions is available in the laboratory of Meghan Duffy at the University of Michigan. The successful candidate for this position will be expected to carry out independent research relating to the ongoing research in the Duffy Lab. Some major themes include the evolution of hosts and parasites, eco-evolutionary dynamics in host-parasite systems, and the evolutionary and community ecology of multihost-multiparasite interactions. There will also be the potential to develop additional projects building on the strengths, interests, and expertise of the successful candidate. Research will involve using Daphnia and their microparasites as a model system, and will involve a combination of field work and lab experiments. Experience in disease ecology, community ecology, and/or evolutionary ecology is expected. Experience working with Daphnia would be beneficial, but is not required.

More information on the Duffy Lab can be found at:

More information on the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan can be found at:

The start date for this position is flexible, but preference will be given to applicants who can start by mid-summer 2015. Funding is available for at least two years, but is contingent on satisfactory progress in year one. Interested individuals should send a CV, a brief description of research and professional goals, and the names and contact information for 3 references to Meghan Duffy by e-mail (

Review of applications will start on 1 February 2015 and will continue until the position is filled. The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer.

Exciting news from recent lab undergrads!


Several recent Duffy Lab undergrads have exciting updates! Mat Sebastian started an MD-PhD program at the University of Florida this past fall, and Mandy Bromilow started a graduate program at the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, where her thesis will focus on blue crabs. Zuri Hudson and Stephanie Hernandez were both recently accepted to medical schools, which they will start in the fall; they both worked for AmeriCorps NCCC-FEMA Corps doing disaster relief work after graduation. Finally, Chloe Lash and Alejandra Villalba are in the process of applying to graduate programs in ecology and conservation biology. We’re very proud of our undergrads!



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

Two new AmNat papers!


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.