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!



Patrick’s paper on how to predict multipathogen epidemics is out in Proc B!


Duffy Lab postdoc Patrick Clay is lead author on a new paper in Proceedings B showing that shifts in epidemic phenology (as might occur in a changing climate) can alter epidemic dynamics as a result of within-host priority effects. The work combined experimental epidemics (from work Patrick did when he was a visiting grad student in the lab) with models of within-host and between host dynamics. More info on the study is in this press release from Rice. The Clay, Duffy, and Rudolf paper can be found here.

New paper on light sensitivity of Pasteuria out in Journal of Plankton Research


Meghan is a coauthor on a new paper that looks at the sensitivity of the common bacterial parasite Pasteuria ramosa to light. The paper finds that Pasteuria is sensitive to UV-B, UV-A, and visible light. The first author of the paper, Erin Overholt, was also the lead author of an earlier study showing that Metschnikowia is sensitive to light. In both studies, we found that the parasite is more sensitive to damage from light than the Daphnia hosts are.

Here’s the abstract of the new paper (link to full paper):

Climate change is altering light regimes in lakes, which should impact disease outbreaks, since sunlight can harm aquatic pathogens. However, some bacterial endospores are resistant to damage from light, even surviving exposure to UV-C. We examined the sensitivity of Pasteuria ramosa endospores, an aquatic parasite infecting Daphnia zooplankton, to biologically relevant wavelengths of light. Laboratory exposure to increasing intensities of UV-B, UV-A, and visible light significantly decreased P. ramosa infectivity, though there was no effect of spore exposure on parasitic castration of infected hosts. P. ramosa is more sensitive than its Daphnia host to damage by longer wavelength UV-A and visible light; this may enable Daphnia to seek an optimal light environment in the water column, where both UV-B damage and parasitism are minimal. Studies of pathogen light sensitivity help us to uncover factors controlling epidemics in lakes, which is especially important given that water transparency is decreasing in many lakes.

2019 field season is done!


The 2019 field season is over! Normally our field season runs from mid-July through November 14th, since November 15th is the start of deer gun hunting season in Michigan. But this year Mother Nature made us end field season a little early. We had a blizzard (11 inches of snow!) followed by extremely cold (single digit Fahrenheit) temperatures in what would have been the last week of field season, so we ended it early. Here are some pictures from this past field season!