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March 21, 2019 | 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Category: Seminar
Location: Undergraduate Library, David Adamany Bernath Auditorium | Map
5155 Gullen Mall
Detroit, MI 48202
Cost: Free
Audience: Academic Staff, Current Graduate Students, Current Undergraduate Students, Faculty, Staff

The Office of the Vice President for Research is pleased to host the next Water@Wayne seminar on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 2:30 p.m to 4:00 p.m. in the Bernath Auditorium located in the David Adamany Undergraduate Library. The seminar is free and open to the public; registration is requested.

The Water@Wayne Seminar Series presents "Competition for fish?  Water mite diet and diversity in Blue Heron Lagoon, Belle Isle" with Jeffrey Ram, Ph.D., Professor, Wayne State University. Dr. Jeffrey Ram is a Professor of Physiology in Wayne State University, a researcher on invertebrate physiology, and a leader of education programs at the Belle Isle Aquarium, Detroit. Jeff began research on invasive species with zebra mussels shortly after they were reported in the Great Lakes. Jeff has a B.A. in physics, magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania and earned his Ph.D. from Caltech studying biophysics and biochemistry in a marine mollusk model system.


Venturing into the world of microscopic freshwater eukaryotes we encounter multitudes of little known species and only vaguely understood predator-prey relationships.  Among macroscopic aquatic organisms, it is rare to find an unknown fish or plant—most have been named and a cytochrome oxidase I (COI) molecular barcode marker determined. However, among water mites, voracious carnivores less than a mm in diameter, fewer than half of North American species are named, and the assumed diets of these organisms have largely been based on laboratory experiments and not on predator-prey relationships observed in the field.  In the ongoing research we have used three different next generation sequencing approaches to detect the DNA of prey organisms actually found in water mites in nature, and, in doing so, they uncovered a “dark matter” trove of previously unknown prey organisms. While confirming aquatic insect larvae as part of water mite diets, this talk will also reveal a large number of previously unknown DNA markers, especially from oligochaete worms, which have largely been ignored in previous studies of water mite diets. Together with behavioral studies, these studies thereby reveal previously unknown predator-prey relationships and show water mites to be an excellent “collecting tool” for discovering previously unknown diversity among oligochaetes and other components of water mite diets."

A short reception will immediately follow the seminar.

For more information about this event, please contact Kayla Watson at 3135775600 or