Current Lab Members


Weider Lab Group Fall 2018; l-r Kristina Floyd, Matt Wersebe, Ritu Kulkarni, Silvia Markova, Larry Weider, Emily Kiehnau, Ekene Nwakoby, Brandon Day


Current Graduate Students:

2015-       Emily Kiehnau (B.S. Lawrence University 2015; current Ph.D. student)

Emily Kiehnau holding a Glew gravity corer for sampling sediments in the Muskoka Lakes, Ontario, Canada  July 2016.

Emily’s research focuses on quantifying the plastic and evolutionary responses of native species to exotic introduced species and on identifying how these responses influence community level processes. She has been studying the exotic introduced zooplanktivore, Bythotrephes longimanus (a.k.a. spiny waterflea).  This species is a threat to pelagic biodiversity of North American lakes because of its heavy predation on native zooplankton, particularly Daphnia. Of the many Daphnia species found in North American lakes, only D. mendotae appears to thrive in the presence of B. longimanus. Emily’s research centers around identifying the antipredator response of Daphnia species to Bythotrephes via a variety of behavioral and morphological kairomone (i.e., chemical cue) studies conducted on pre- and post-invasion Daphnia populations.


2018-        Matt Wersebe (B.S. SUNY-Binghamton 2018; current Ph.D. student)

Matt joined the lab in July 2018, and is beginning to develop his dissertation research plans, which will center on using resurrection ecology to study the effects of man-made salinization (i.e., road salt) on phenotypic plasticity and evolutionary trajectories of Daphnia pulicaria populations from lakes in Minnesota.

Current Undergraduate Students:

2017-2018  Ritu Kulkarni  (B.S. Honors – U. of Oklahoma)

Ritu Kulkarni – Honors B.S. (Microbiology)

Ritu joined our lab in fall 2017.  Her Honors Research project has been  focusing on the interactions between food quality and predator kairomones on the life-history features of Daphnia pulex, D. pulicaria, and an experimentally-created hybrid clone between these two parental species.   She is currently analyzing and writing up her Honors Research Thesis, which she will defend in the fall 2018 semester.


2018-2019 Kristina Floyd (B.S. Honors, U. of Oklahoma)

Kristina worked as a summer Undergraduate Research Assistant (UGRA) for our lab in summer 2018.  She has started her Honors Research project, which will be examining the effects of food quality differences (i.e., high phosphorus – P vs low P food) on life-history fecundity patterns in a set of F2 recombinant inbred lines (clones) of Daphnia pulicaria established by selfing a F1 hybrid clone from two F0 parental lines from South Center (SC) Lake in Minnesota.


2018-2019 Ekene Nwakoby (B.S. Honors, U. of Oklahoma)

Ekene joined the lab in fall 2018.  She is beginning to develop her Honors Research project, which will focus on F1 hybrid clones of Daphnia pulicaria that are the products of crossing a “modern” (i.e., decade-old “dam”) clone with an “ancient” (i.e., centuries-old “sire”) clone from South Center (SC) Lake in Minnesota.  She will examine physiological and life-history characteristics of this “clonal triad” when exposed to high-quality (high P) and low-quality (low P) food.


2018-2019 Brandon Day (B.S., U. of Oklahoma)

Brandon joined the lab in fall 2018, and will be conducting Independent Study, in collaboration with Matt Wersebe.   Brandon will be conducting salinity tolerance experiments in Daphnia pulicaria clones isolated from Minnesota lakes.