Dr. Kenneth Drouillard, professor at the University of Windsor's Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, explains why the emergence of mayflies can be an indication of lake health.Dr. Kenneth Drouillard, professor at the University of Windsor's Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, explains why the emergence of mayflies can be an indication of lake health.

UWindsor prof clears the air on mayflies

Most years, they rise from the water and blanket unsuspecting communities.

Children scream as their friends run in pursuit with one of these winged-insects pinched tight between their fingers.

But what are they exactly and should we be encouraged when some years produce seemingly record levels and others don’t?

Are they fishflies, June bugs, or mayflies?

Kenneth Drouillard, professor at the University of Windsor’s Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, has been studying the Hexagenia limbata for more than 20 years and helps to sweep away the misinformation about the annual invasion.

“The small-winged ephemeral mayflies that usually come out around June or July live for about two years around here,” explained Dr. Drouillard.

“They basically live in the sediment below the water for two summers and then shoot out of the water like little bullets and fly to the nearest landmass.”

Drouillard said people often think mayflies have short lifespans because the adults emerge with no mouthparts and die after they are unable to ingest food.

“Basically, they’re just here to reproduce.”

The Latin name for the insect that blankets Essex County’s waterfront communities is Hexagenia limbata; it is a species of mayfly in the family Ephemeridae.

Drouillard said they are found all across North America. If you're searching for refuge, the only states without mayflies are Alaska and Arizona.

The mayfly, sometimes referred to as fishflies because of their odour, are very sensitive to oxygen levels in water and Drouillard said they are great indicators of lake health.

“Mayflies are kind of like the canary in the coal mine for the aquatic ecosystem,” he said.

“If you find mayflies present then it means that there’s sufficient oxygen and food resources to support our fisheries.

“So, they really are a good news story for the Great Lakes.”

— Dylan Kristy

Masoud AkhshikMasoud Akhshik is a founder of a company that will use kits to detect whether or not water is safe for consumption.

New start-up aims to clean our water

A PhD student at the University of Toronto has created a company that will use kits to help detect viruses and microbes in water.

Masoud Akhshik and two other friends started Advanced Hi-Tech Centre Ltd., a company that will use kits to detect whether or not the water is safe for consumption. He was able to create his company thanks to the RBC EPIC Founders program.

Akhshik learned about the Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre (EPICentre) through his university and decided to use the annual entrepreneurial program to start his business.

“I realized that there’s this program that actually pays you to work on your business idea so that’s why I applied,” Akhshik says. “It’s a very good opportunity for me to be around people and to be at the right place at the right time.”

Akhshik hopes to improve his business skills and showcase a viable product at the end of the 12-week program.

“I really hope I can have at least one minimum viable product and at least one proven business model canvas to showcase and start my journey more seriously.” says Akhshik.

This is the fourth in a series of articles introducing this summer’s participants leading up to a showcase of their prototypes in August at the EPICentre. Learn more on the centre’s website.

—Dana Roe

Vraj VyasCanadians prefer quality over quantity in their writing, in contrast to his Indian education, says Vraj Vyas.

Directness in communication a valuable lesson, says international student

People follow the rules in Canada, says Vraj Vyas — a noted difference from what he has observed in his native India.

“When I came to Canada, the first thing I noticed was people are very disciplined,” says Vyas, who will take up studies toward an M.Eng. in mechanical engineering now that he has completed the English Language Improvement Program.

He says he chose Windsor because he knew the city was recognized for its expertise in manufacturing and automotive industries, and for its affordability.

“I do appreciate the lower fees,” he says with a smile.

Vyas says he hears many differences in pronunciation between the English spoken in Canada and what he was used to in India, but the greatest adjustment he made was in his writing.

“The biggest change I made was my sentence structure,” says Vyas. “I had to become familiar with Canadian writing patterns, because I found that people here prefer a more direct style. They value quality over quantity.”

The Centre for English Language Development will celebrate international language students and their contributions to campus and community on World Student Day, Friday, July 26.

UWindsor faculty, staff, and students are invited to join in free activities, entertainment, and a lunch in the David A. Wilson Commons from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Education students George Paterson and Caroline Voyer follow a youthful instructor through a traditional dance during their visit to Changlang Primary School in Suzhou, China.Education students George Paterson and Caroline Voyer follow a youthful instructor through a traditional dance during their visit to Changlang Primary School in Suzhou, China.

Faculty of Education students make news in China

Teacher candidates from the University of Windsor made news in China for their enthusiastic efforts to learn elements of that country’s culture during a three-month study trip.

The students, participants in the Teacher Education Reciprocal Learning Program, received instruction in traditional dance and textile techniques listed by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

From March 16 to June 17, the group visited Chinese universities and K-12 schools in Beijing, Chongqing, Chengdu, and Suzhou. Members attracted reporters from the local newspaper and national broadcasters to document them learning from pupils of Changlang Primary School in Suzhou.

B.Ed student Taylor Pare said the first-hand experiences proved very educational.

“I have learned so much about how to be a teacher just being in China,” Pare said. “The Reciprocal Learning Program is extremely worthwhile not only for those who like to travel around the world, but also for the people who enjoy learning different cultures.”

The program, an important phase of a SSHRC Partnership Grant Project by professor Shijing Xu and Michael Connelly, promotes exchange of future educators between the University of Windsor and Southwest University China. It is sponsored by the Mitacs Globalink Research Award and the University of Windsor Strategic Priority Fund.

Mike Fisher sends his ball through a wicket.Mike Fisher sends his ball through a wicket in the championship match of the ITS croquet tournament, Monday in the residence quad.

Champs outwit and outplay on pitch

Some cool play on a hot day helped decide the championship of the annual IT Services croquet tournament, played under a heat advisory Monday in the residence quad.

Fish and Computer Chips — Mike Fisher, John Murer, and Lana Barei — defeated the previously unbeaten Flannagan’s Shenanigans (Karen Flannagan, Viren Parasram, and Tara Das) 21-14 in a hotly-contested final.

It was a measure of redemption for Fish and Computer Chips, whose only loss this season came in the round-robin stage to the Shenanigans.

Murer, speaking for the winners, noted that the team benefited from the contributions of several substitute players in the earlier rounds to qualify for the playoffs.

“My teammates and I want to thank the subs who helped us get here,” he said during the post-victory celebration.

John Murer, Lana Barei, Albert Luo, Karen Flannagan, Viren Parasram, Tara Das

John Murer, Lana Barei, and Albert Luo, subbing in for Mike Fisher, celebrate their win over second-place Viren Parasram, Tara Das, and Karen Flannagan in the ITS croquet championship.

Assumption College athlete gets a slam-dunk portrayal

At a time when racism was all-too prevalent, a black Windsor athlete never had the opportunity to play in a leading sports league.

Fred ThomasAssumption College grad Fred Thomas (BA 1949) was a groundbreaking athlete who dominated any sport he played. He played baseball in the Cleveland Indians farm system and football with the Toronto Argonauts, and in 1945 led a contingent of local basketball players in a victory over the Harlem Globetrotters.

In a profile titled “The greatest Canadian athlete you’ve never heard of” published on the TV Ontario website, writer Sam Riches details how racial barriers kept Thomas out of major leagues, including his exclusion in 1952 from the Canadian Olympic basketball team.

UWindsor history professor Miriam Wright is quoted as citing the continuing relevance of Thomas’s experience.

“In Canada, we can’t overlook these stories of racial segregation and overt discrimination,” she said. “So many of these stories have been buried. African-Canadian history was not something that was considered important or was only considered in the context of the Underground Railroad story.”

Local accolades included the naming of Fred Thomas Park in downtown Windsor and his posthumous induction in the inaugural class of the University of Windsor Alumni Sports Hall of Fame, but Riches writes Thomas may finally get his due.

“Last year, he was nominated for Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, the nation’s highest sporting honour, starting the clock on a three-year consideration window.”

Read the entire piece at TVO.org.

—Dana Roe

Food Services worker filling Tim Hortons percolatorFood Services will close its outlets in the student centre and engineering building for the week Thursday at 2 p.m.

Food Services to close outlets at week’s end

Food Services will close its operations for the week at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 18, due to a campus-wide shutdown of steam services.

Both the Marketplace in the CAW Student Centre and the Tim Hortons Express in the Centre for Engineering Innovation will remain closed through Friday, and will return to normal operations on Monday, July 22.