Rising sophomore and ReBUILDetroit scholar from Wayne State University, Xavier Walker, is spending his summer digging through pond muck and dissecting water mites.
Walker is a research assistant in WSU School of Medicine professor Dr. Jeffery Ram’s aquatic research lab, located in Belle Isle’s historic aquarium. It’s here that he’ll spend much of his summer, wading through the lakes and lagoons of Detroit’s island park, searching for new samples of water mites to poke and prod.
Walker is examining traces of DNA left in the mites’ digestive systems. Specifically, they’re looking to find what the mites eat to determine whether they compete with fish for food and also reduce insect pests, such as mosquitoes, by eating their larvae.
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