Cornell professor to explain how water fleas show adaptations – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Cornell professor to explain how water fleas show adaptations

Nelson G. Hairston Jr. of Cornell University will speak on “Eggs of the Living Dead: Reconstruction Pollution History and Pelagic Ecosystem Response Using Dormant Daphnia Eggs,” starting at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23 in the Finger Lakes Institute Classroom at 601 S. Main St.

Hairston is senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Environmental Science at Cornell University. He is an internationally known biological limnologist – a scientist who studies bodies of fresh water, including lakes and ponds. His research has explored ways organisms deal with variable environments and respond to natural and people-caused changes in those environments. Daphnia is a genus of tiny water flea, some species of which are commonly used as food for aquarium fish, newts and salamanders.

In his many published works, Hairston has explained the interaction among micro-evolutionary, population, community and ecosystem processes. He has studied how zooplankton and fish respond to polluted systems and why species populations differ in pigmentation, vertical distribution in the water column, and in population dynamics, depending on their specific environment.

When he speaks on campus, Hairston is expected to use examples from nearby Onondaga Lake as well as Lake Constance, which is on the border of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, to tell about the importance that species type and diversity have on the functioning of an aquatic ecosystem.

His talk is free and open to the public. Registration required by calling ext. 4382 or e-mailing