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!


Rachel P to start faculty position in Fall 2017!



Meg’s first grad student, Rachel Penczykowski, will be starting a faculty position at Washington University in St. Louis this coming fall. She has a new website set up and is looking to recruit grad students to work on the ecology and evolution of disease in wild plant populations (application deadline 12/1). Congrats, Rachel! And we hope you’ll end up back in Daphnialand some day!


New AmNat paper on effects of invasive species on disease


Daphnia lumholtzi (upper left) and Daphnia dentifera (lower right). Photo by Bella Oleksy

We have a paper in the November issue of the American Naturalist! The lead author on the paper is former lab postdoc Catherine Searle, who is now an Assistant Professor at Purdue University. The paper is entitled, “Population Density, Not Host Competence, Drives Patterns of Disease in an Invaded Community“. The paper was the subject of a press release by UMich, entitled “Invasive Species May Unexpectedly Reduce Disease Prevalence“. The paper focuses on the potential impacts of the invasive species Daphnia lumholtzi on a native host (Daphnia dentifera) and a common native parasite (Metschnikowia bicuspidata).

In addition to Cat and Meg, the authors on the paper are Mike Cortez (our theory collaborator at Utah State) and other members of Meghan Duffy’s lab at the University of Michigan, including technicians Katherine Hunsberger and Isabella Oleksy (now a graduate student at Colorado State), graduate students Dylan Grippi (now at the US FDA) and Clara Shaw, and undergraduates Solanus de la Serna, Chloe Lash, and Kailash Dhir.