Society-Wide Newsletter: Spring 2021

Note: SICB Spring 2021 Elections are now open! Please read the candidate statements at the end of the society-wide and divisional newsletters, and vote here by May 15.

Message from the President

Melina Hale,

Melina Hale

After such a tough year on so many fronts, I hope that this spring and the coming summer are looking up for you, whether that means getting a break, seeing loved ones again or resuming deferred projects.

For me, the SICB 2021 Annual Meeting was a bright light in the past year. The community pulling together – whether organizing the meeting and events, participating in discussions or making great virtual presentations and leading activities – to create a fun, educational and science-rich virtual meeting was amazing.

Particularly impactful to me and I know many others was programming on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Challenging, eye-opening, humbling and empowering are just a few of the word that come to mind when I think about those conversations. Another one is gratitude – for the opportunity to participate in this programming (thanks particularly to the efforts of the Broadening Participation Committee, the Public Affairs Committee and the Education Council) and for the community’s openness to share and listen. Grappling with these important issues is critical for science as well as society and is an ongoing priority for SICB.

The question on a lot of peoples’ minds is: What about the 2022 Annual Meeting?  With positive signs from the CDC and other health experts, we are planning for an in-person meeting in Phoenix in January of 2022 that integrates virtual components, although what those will be is still unclear. There are a number of factors that need to be thought through in considering this hybrid model for conferences, including having a robust and engaging meeting format, the capabilities of the venue and our contractual arrangements with them, meeting finances and, as this past year, our aim to make the meeting broadly accessible. Thanks for your meeting survey responses and other input; it really helps. The executive officers look forward to continuing the conversation with you and sharing developments in planning in the coming months.

On communications, a major goal for this year is to continue to increase transparency in SICB’s activities. A few of the current related efforts are:

  1. Regular member forums that provide updates and other information on the work  of the society. The first Member Forum is April 21 at 12 EST. We hope you can make it to hear more about meeting planning and other efforts and to ask questions or provide your ideas and concerns. 
  2. Notification of Executive Committee meetings. All members are welcome to attend Executive Committee meetings where the business of the Society is conducted by elected and appointed SICB leadership. These opportunities are really to listen and learn about SICB operations and not a venue for community input (but we’re happy to hear that offline after the meetings!). There is always an Executive Committee meeting at the beginning and end of the annual meeting and they are listed in the meeting program. A recent ad hoc Executive Committee meeting was announced in the March Member Update. It is unclear whether more such meetings will occur in 2021 but, if so, we will announce them in future Member Updates.
  3. Later in the Newsletter you’ll find more information on the SICB website redesign project – we think the new site will launch soon and should make SICB activities more accessible. Thanks to the Web Redesign Committee for the hard work on the website!

Lastly, sparked by conversations on the value of SICB for different parts of the SICB community, we have established a Working Group on Primarily Undergraduate Serving Institutions (PUIs). Led by Jerry Husak, the Working Group will consider how SICB might better support members from PUIs. Whether you are currently at a PUI or interested in careers at PUIs, the Working Group would love your input on this short survey.  

 A number of other efforts are underway at SICB Journals, on Committees and Councils, and in Divisions that you can read about in this newsletter. We’ll also continue to discuss other priorities for the year at the Member Forums and cover them in future messages.

 I always love to hear from SICB colleagues so please don’t hesitate to reach out (!


Message from the President-Elect 

Patricia Hernandez

L. Patricia Hernandez, 

Hello all. I am so happy to be starting my duties as President-elect. Chief among these important duties is overseeing the many volunteers that this Society relies on to function smoothly.

If you are interested in serving on one of our standing committees, running for office, or even becoming more involved as a student member please take a moment to fill in this volunteer survey. There are a few positions in several of our committees that will need to be filled soon.


Message from the Program Officer

Jake Socha, 

SICB 2021: Report from a Virtual Annual Meeting

We did it! We pulled off a fully virtual meeting, in a two-month format, unlike most other pandemic-era conferences. Please, everyone who participated, give yourself a GIANT pat on the back for helping to make it all work. As we have all experienced through the pandemic, many things can be done virtually, but they can also be extra exhausting. Everyone who presented a talk or poster, organized a symposium, workshop, meeting, or social event, and everyone who simply took part: thank you.

Here’s a recap of the highlights. We had a total of 1,133 contributed talks, 382 contributed posters, and 142 symposium talks across 12 symposia. In the first week of the conference (the ‘standard’ week), we focused attention on symposia and plenaries, and we heard wonderful lectures from a diverse array of voices: Cassandra Extavour, Martha Muñoz, Rosyln Dakin, Claude Steele, and Michaela Hau. We also focused on the Best Student Presentation talk sessions, which occurred on a pressure-packed first day, and were rewarded with fantastic science from fresh faces. Throughout the two month period, we had a robust array of 9 wellness events put on by the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), as well as 19 workshops put on by our members. We also had multiple conversations on allyship led by Kendall Moore, spurred by the live viewing of her film “Can We Talk 2: White Allies” and by ongoing societal issues. Those conversations were also an extension of an ad hoc society-wide meeting held on January 6, which was held in rapid response to the Capitol attack. Committee meetings occurred later in the month, concentrated in the week of January 25. Although all contributed talks and posters were presented asynchronously, presenters got a chance to talk about their work in one-hour live discussion sessions that took place in February. The end of the conference was marked by special sessions in honor of Vicki Funk and George Gilchrist—both were celebrations of their work and their impact on our lives—and then a society-wide closing ceremony and social. Speaking of socials, there were numerous socials throughout the months of January and February, including division socials and weekly gametime events put on by the PAC. It was quite a conference. 

By the numbers, here’s where we ended up: 2,581 registered attendees accessed the online conference pages 664,511 times on a desktop computer and 139,050 times on a mobile device. There were 13,793 public conversations (largely, chat and comments on presentations) and 4,792 private messages sent. Given the difficult times and circumstances, this seems like a massive amount of activity and participation!

As of this writing, the conference survey is still active, so we can’t yet report on the results. But a few things were made abundantly clear from the experience. First, although the conference as a whole was a success, the virtual nature of things made it clear just how valuable in-person interactions can be. There’s only so much that can be done electronically—a good virtual conference is not a full replacement, no matter how strong. Second, there were a massive number of benefits of doing things virtually and with a relaxed timeline: it enabled content to be consumed at leisure, and it expanded access for people around the world to attend at far lower cost than usual. An offshoot of this virtual experiment is that we have built some potential new capabilities for our society, and we intend to adopt and adapt as much as we can for future conferences. We are currently planning and hope to roll out new features for SICB 2022 in Phoenix. Stay tuned!

Thanks to our previous symposium organizers!

We would like to give special thanks the organizers of the 12 symposia at the 2021 virtual annual conference: 

Meredith Kernbach, Stephen Ferguson, Valentina Alaasam, Colleen Miller, Clint Francis, Omera Matoo, Maurine Neiman, Patrick Green, Alejandro Rico-Guevara, Ali Hansen, Patrice Kurnath Connors, Hayley Lanier, Lisa Whitenack, Robert Full, Janneke Schwaner, Tonia Hsieh, Craig McGowan, Kim Hoke, Nate Morehouse, Sara Wasserman, Jess Kanwal, Niko Hensley, Florent Figon, Jérôme Casas, Leila Deravi, Mercedes Burns, Sarah Stellwagen, Karen Maruska, Julie Butler, Margaret Byron, David Murphy, Arvind Santhanakrishnan, Caleb Bryce, Ana Jimenez, Ignacio Moore, and Blake Jones. 

Look to the upcoming issues of ICB to see the outstanding papers that result from these symposia!

Upcoming Meeting: Phoenix 2022

Check out the “Upcoming meetings” web page on the SICB site for updates on the venue for the 2022 Phoenix meeting and program throughout the coming year. Yes, we are hoping to be back in person for this conference! Fingers are crossed.

Here’s the list of our exciting symposia for SICB 2022:

Society-wide symposia:

  • Causal mechanisms of interspecific metabolic scaling patterns; Organizers: Jon Harrison, Meghan Duell; Sponsors: DEE, DCB, DCPB, DEDB, DVM, DNNSB
  • Open source solutions in experimental design; Organizers: Kirk Onthank, Richelle Tanner; Sponsors: DCB, DCPB, DEDB, DIZ, DEDE, DVM, DNNSB, DCE, DOB, AMS
  • DNA metabarcoding across disciplines: sequencing our way to greater understanding across scales of biological organization; Organizers: Anna Forsman, Michelle Gaither, Anna Savage; Sponsors: DEE, DCPB, DIZ, DEDE, DNNSB, DPCB, DOB
Regular symposia:
  • The deep and shallow history of aquatic life’s passages between marine and freshwater habitats; Organizers: Eric Schultz, Lisa Park-Boush; Sponsors: DEE, DCPB, DEDB, DIZ, DNNSB, DPCB, DCE, DOB, AMS, TCS
  • Ecoimmunology: what unconventional organisms tell us after two decades; Organizers: Vania Assis, Stefanny Monteiro; Sponsors: DEE, DCPB, DEDE, DAB, DCE, DOB
  • Lesser known transitions: organismal form and function across abiotic gradients; Organizers: Charlotte Easterling, Mary Kate O’Donnell, Matthew Kolmann; Sponsors: DEE, DCB, DEDB, DIZ, DVM, DPCB
  • Morphology and evolution of female copulatory structures in amniotes; Organizers: Patty Brennan, Günter Wagner; Sponsors: DEDB, DVM, AMS, DAB, DPCB
  • Evolutionary conservation and diversity in a key vertebrate behavior: “walking” as a model system; Organizers: Haley Amplo, Alice Gibb, Sandy Kawano; Sponsors: DCB, DVM, DAB
  • Best practices for bioinspired design education, research and product development; Organizers: Marianne Alleyne, Aimy Wissa, Andrew Suarez, William Barley; Sponsors: DCB, DVM, DNNSB, DAB, DCE, AMS
  • Phenological plasticity: from molecular mechanisms to ecological and evolutionary implications; Organizers: Cory Williams, Lise Aubry; Sponsors: DEE, DCPB, DEDB, DNNSB, DAB
  • Integrating ecology and biomechanics to investigate patterns of phenotypic diversity: Evolution, development, and functional traits; Organizers: Lara Ferry, Tim Higham; Sponsors: DEE, DCB, DVM, DOB

Call for new symposia for Austin 2023

Looking ahead to the 2023 Annual Meeting in Austin, TX: It is already time to start planning symposia for the 2023 meeting. SICB welcomes symposium proposals from folks at all career stages, including early career faculty, postdocs, and graduate students. Organizing a forward-thinking symposium is a great way for you and your colleagues to bring a new direction to your field. It is also a great way for early career faculty and postdocs to increase their visibility and foster new collaborations.  

If you are thinking about organizing a symposium for 2023, contact your divisional program officer(s) and cc me ( to discuss the appeal of your ideas, and ask for suggestions that could help ensure broad appeal across the Society. The submission site is a good place to get started and full of helpful information on how to pitch your idea. Keep in mind too that SICB reimburses symposium speakers for the full meeting registration fee upon submission of their manuscript to ICB. Submit your proposal here by August 23, 2021.


Message from the Secretary

Michele Johnson, 

Michele Johnson

Like so many of you, SICB has been my science home for many years. Now, as the new Secretary of our society, I’ve been honored to see the work that goes into creating this home for all of us. In this newsletter, you’ll see contributions from more than 70 SICB leaders, and statements from 33 candidates who have been nominated to stand for election in one of the many officer positions.  This is a society that runs on the generosity and commitment of so many, and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to help us elect the new officers for the society and its divisions. Read the candidate statements, consider how you want to see SICB move forward, and vote! (Remember, if you attended SICB 2021, you are eligible to vote in this election – including all student members!)

Later this summer, we will have a special election for a wide-ranging slate of bylaws amendments. As our society is a dynamic one, we must continue to revisit the bylaws that govern our work, so please look for announcements about what changes are proposed, and how to vote on those changes, in the coming months.

There’s also been a good deal of interest and excitement about the possibility of SICB contributing to NSF’s new LEAPS initiative (“LEAding Cultural Change through Professional Societies). We’re still exploring how SICB might participate, and if you’d like to be involved in this work, please reach out to me or President Melina Hale.


Message from the Treasurer

Miriam Ashley-Ross,

With SICB’s first-ever virtual-only conference behind us, we can all take a deep breath and reflect with gratitude on the efforts of the executive officers (principally Jake Socha, SICB Program Officer, and Beth Brainerd, our newly-minted Past President) that made it happen. By all measures, it was an unqualified success – we had 2581 attendees from literally all over the world. I know that you all are very interested in how the virtual meeting worked out financially – but I’m going to have to disappoint you for this installment, because we do not yet have the final totals for expenses and revenue from the 2021 meeting. Remember that SICB uses a fiscal year running from July 1 – June 30; our FY 2020 ended on June 30, 2020, and we are still in FY 2021. I can state unequivocally that SICB is in sound financial shape overall – we have assets of over $2 million. Most of that amount is invested in various funds, and at the end of FY2020, the investments had lost $15,673 – unsurprising, given the pandemic. The good news is that those were paper losses; SICB does not have to sell off assets to make ends meet. The even better news is that since July 1, 2020, the stock market has rebounded, and we are currently up by ~$200,000. Thus, we expect our investments in FY2021 to show gains, not losses.

The annual meeting always dominates SICB’s budget. At the second Executive Committee meeting during the 2020 Austin annual meeting, we had no inkling that COVID-19 was on the horizon, and so we approved a budget that assumed that we would be having an in-person meeting in Washington, DC in January 2021. Over the summer, it became clear that the meeting, if it were to take place at all, would have to be largely, if not entirely, virtual. The Executive Officers began planning for the worst-case scenario: a completely virtual meeting. Costs had to be estimated for a wholly unfamiliar situation. Without boring you with the details, Burk and Associates, President Beth Brainerd, and PO Jake Socha put in a great deal of time and effort to finding a capable hosting service, eventually settling on Pathable. Costs for an entirely virtual meeting are lower than for an in-person meeting, but the revenues are as well, as registration costs were adjusted downward. The virtual Annual Meeting exceeded our projections, and in fact was the most well-attended meeting ever. For the 2022 meeting, we will definitely be in-person in Phoenix, but the enthusiastic reception of the virtual format has spurred the Executive Officers to plan for some virtual component to accompany the “normal” meeting. We do not know exactly what form it will take, but the Executive Committee approved a budget for FY2022 that includes money for online content (which will be offset by registration fees of virtual attendees).

As we move back toward “normal,” SICB is in excellent financial position to capitalize on our new facility with online tools that may increase international membership and attendance, as well as accessibility for domestic audiences. The Executive Officers are confident that we will finish FY2021 in the black, and be poised to grow in the future.


Congratulations to the Recipients of the 2021 SICB Awards!

2021 Dorothy H. Skinner Award

Anusha Shankar, Cornell University

Liming Cai, UC Riverside

2021 George A. Bartholomew Award

Roslyn Dakin, Carleton University

2021 M. Patricia Morse Award

Sara Hiebert-Burch, Swarthmore College

 2021 Libbie Hyman Memorial Scholarship

John Deitsch, Cornell University

 Taylor Naquin, California State University, Fullerton

2021 John A Moore Lecture

Claude Steele, Stanford University

2021 Howard Bern Lecture

Michaela Hau, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, University of Konstanz

2021 Carl Gans Award

Martha Muñoz, Yale University


Update from Communications Editor and Website Design Committee 

Molly Jacobs

Molly Jacobs, Communications Editor, and Lou Burnett, Website Redesign Committee Chair

We are pleased to report that the website redesign process that began two years ago is finally coming to fruition!  For much of the past year, the SICB Website Redesign Committee has been working with Knockmedia, a web design company, on a new website for SICB.  The new site will be more organized, easier on the eyes, easier to navigate, and friendlier to mobile devices.  We are currently working to update and finalize the content on the new site.  Stay tuned for the website roll-out in May!


Update from the Editor, Integrative and Comparative Biology 

Ulrike Müller, 

We would like to thank our authors and editors for helping Integrative and Comparative Biology successfully navigate through the COVID19 pandemic. The number of submitted manuscripts remained well above the five-year average and the time-to-first-decision remained at the five-year average. We conducted a study to monitor the effects of COVID19 on our authors and are happy to report that ICB has bucked the trend seen in other academic journals of women and BIPOC authors publishing less since the start of the pandemic.

ICB is proud of its collaboration with the Reintegrating Biology initiative.  We are grateful to the many Jumpstart participants who agreed to author Perspective papers on topics ranging from resilience, inclusion, to big data, and ICB will publish those papers in the 2021 volume of ICB.

We are grateful to the symposium organizers who continue to bring together authors around issues that matter to our members and to our scientific community. Papers from the 2020 symposia ‘Limbless Locomotion’ and ‘Reproduction: The Female Perspective’ are already getting a lot of attention, including from mainstream media.

ICB would also like to welcome new editors David Hu, Emily Taylor, Erica Westerman, and Kathryn Wilsterman, as well as this year’s guest editors Kelly Diamond, Nick Burnett, and Armita Manafzadeh, and editorial reviewer Felipe Cunha.

After our first bundle of papers on the topic of stress were published in 2020, ICB now welcomes new proposals from the SICB community and its authors. If you would like to bring together authors around a particular topic to write one or more papers, consider partnering with ICB. Aside from all topics around integrative and comparative biology, we particularly encourage manuscripts around equity, inclusion, and social justice, as well as science communication, STEAM, and issues that matter to our early career scientist community. 

Finally, there are a number of ways to engage with ICB content!
  • Our journal blog regularly publishes blogs every Tuesday, featuring great content about our ICB authors and books or podcasts that will interest SICB goers.
  • SICB, ICB, and IOB now have a YouTube channel that we are posting more regularly on. Please email if you’d like to submit content. One of our most recent posts from a 2021 ICB author gives an inside look on the feeding mechanisms of snakes.
  • This year, we also have products you can buy with images from our papers and art in bio blogs via All proceeds go toward our SICB student scholarships.
  • And of course, follow us at @ICB_journal on Instagram and Twitter.


Update from the Editor, Integrative Organismal Biology

A.P. Summers,

This was a banner year for Integrative Organismal Biology. We handled more manuscripts than ever before and Oxford University Press shepherded the journal through the indexing process. That means all back content is now on PubMed, and the journal is indexed as an emerging source in the ISI universe.

On the editorial side we have three new faces working on manuscripts, Kory Evans at Rice University, Martha Muñoz at Yale University, and James Newcomb at New England College. The strengths of this new group are diverse – evolution, physiology, neuroscience, invertebrates, fishes, and imaging to name a few.  Furthermore these new associate editors share the ethos of the group that founded our journal: publishing science should be an equitable process in which peer review improves the science without assaulting the scientist.

Most of all, I want all of our society members to think of IOB when submitting and open access article. The journal has a higher AltMetric impact than our competitors, we have a great review process, and your contribution directly supports the society. 

Subscribe to IOB’s blog via and our Twitter and Instagram accounts at @iobjournal and @IOBopen!


Primarily Undergraduate Institution Survey

Are you a faculty member at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution (PUI), or would you like to someday work at one? If your answer is yes to either of these questions, please take this short survey to help SICB understand how we can best support you.

Primarily Undergraduate Institutions are home to many SICB members, and their inclusion is important to the Mission of SICB. It is believed that faculty at PUIs are likely to attend SICB as early career faculty but that their participation decreases as their careers advance.  Thus, an ad hoc working group led by Jerry Husak ( will be formed to consider how SICB might better serve faculty from PUIs throughout their careers. The working group will recommend actions that SICB might take to support PUI faculty. Please join us!


Report from Broadening Participation Committee

Rita Mehta, Chair, 

The Broadening Participation Committee thanks everyone for their terrific attendance at our first virtual meeting! We were able to bring back Dr. Kendall Moore, documentary filmmaker and Professor from the Harrington School of Communication and Media from the University of Rhode Island. Kendall’s documentary, “Can We Talk 2: “White Allies”, a follow up to “Can We Talk: Difficult Conversations with Underrepresented People of Color on Allyship in STEM” was screened on the final day of the live meeting. The screening was followed by four live conversations on the topics of allyship, support for BIPOC and underrepresented members, and intersectionality. The final live conversation, which was held during the last week of the SICB meeting, was awarded a People’s Choice Award. The BP committee is grateful to Dr. Moore for the time and energy she put into making these conversations work for SICB members. We also extend much gratitude to our members who responded to our polls about the conversations throughout the month of February. These polls allowed us to tailor the final conversation to fit the needs of our attendees. Please let the BP committee know if there are any topics you might like to hear about or have any ideas for future BP-sponsored workshops. 

BP’s support for the 2020 virtual meeting was in the form of Professional Development (PD) Awards. The goal of these awards was to help facilitate meeting participation. We were able to support 33 SICB members (6 undergraduates, 2 masters students, 15 doctoral students, 7 postdoctoral researchers, 1 faculty member, and 2 non-academic researchers) with these awards. Our committee appreciates all who showed up for the award recognition ceremony and made the fun and lively event possible. Funding for the PD awards were made possible by a generous donation from the Gans Collections and Charitable Fund.  

Once again, BP organized the Mentor-Mentee program. We appreciate all who applied to participate. As the virtual platform allowed for extending mentor-mentee interactions past our typical January 3-7 meeting period, we invited participants of the program to provide feedback on their virtual mentor-mentee experience. We solicited feedback through a poll and received responses from slightly over a third of all of our participants (N = 34 respondents).  Everyone who responded was able to meet with their mentor or mentee at least once during the annual meeting and many met more than three times. One of the big concerns from members of our committee was whether mentors and mentees would find it challenging to navigate the different time zones. While we allowed participants to select what time zones they preferred to participate in during our initial poll, the vast majority of our participants checked the option “Being in the same time zone does not matter to me.” After the meeting, we were relieved to discover that our respondents felt that navigating different time zones was not a problem. Doctoral students comprised the largest group of participants in the program requesting participation as a mentee. We especially thank members of the Division of Ecology and Evolution and the Division of Animal Behavior, whose members had the most participants in the program. Some of the feedback we received suggested that SICB should try to make components of the annual meeting, such as the Mentor-Mentee program, accessible through virtual participation.

Last but not least, BP is very happy to announce the 2021 Call for Nominations/Self-Nominations For SICB’s JEDI Award for Promoting Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Integrative Biology. Information for this award may be found here. BP JEDI Award Nominations are due by Friday, April 30, 2021. Completed applications including self-nominations should be submitted by Friday, May 21, 2021. 

We look forward to planning and attending an in-person meeting for 2022. 


Report from Development Committee

Lara Ferry, Chair,

Development Chair, Lara Ferry

The Development Committee bids farewell to Lou Burnett as our fearless Chair.  Lou has been at the helm for many years now.  I hope you all will join me in offering Lou our deepest gratitude for steering this committee, as well as his many other contributions to SICB.  Many, many advancements have been made under Lou’s direction.  I had the pleasure of working with Lou on this committee for two years, and also working with Lou when I was a Divisional Secretary and he was the Society Secretary.  Lou’s passion for this organization is beyond measure, and he has left me with very big shoes to fill, indeed. I, for one, am very glad he will still be around as a member of the committee to offer advice and wisdom.  Lou – I’ll try not to bug you too much!

Student Research Awards are given each year through the Grants-in-Aid of Research (GIAR) and the Fellowship of Graduate Student Travel (FGST) programs of the Society.  SICB recently established, through donations to the GIAR and FGST honoring particular individuals, named awards for the most outstanding applicants competing for these awards. 

The following named GIAR awards were made to these students in 2021.  Congrats to all!

Named Honoree Student Winner and Institution
Steven Vogel Emily Webb, Arizona State University
Abbot S. “Toby” Gaunt Victoria Farrar, University of California Davis
Rosemary Knapp Laura Newman, New York University
Stephen Wainwright Thien-y Nguyen, University of California Riverside
William Dawson Joshua Manning, Florida State University
John Pearse Samuel Lane, Virginia Tech

Four awards, in particular, were approved recently, and now are named awards currently requiring donations to establish the award in perpetuity:

Rosemary Knapp Award:  Rosemary Knapp (1962-2019) earned a bachelor’s degree at Rutgers University and a Ph.D. at Arizona State University; she did postdoctoral work at Cornell University and was a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma. She studied endocrine systems in lizards, fishes, and amphibians. She was a long-time member of SICB, serving two terms as Program Officer for the Division of Comparative Endocrinology.

Stephen Wainwright Award: Stephen A. Wainwright (1931-2019) was a long-time Duke University biologist who was an early founder of the field of biomechanics. He applied engineering principles to organismal design and he explored life through art and especially sculpture. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke and a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. He was well-known for his passionate support of his many students. He was president of the Society (then ASZ) in 1988.

William Dawson Award: William R. Dawson (1927-2020) was an avian ecophysiologist who spent his academic career at the University of Michigan. He wrote his first paper on fossil sparrows from the La Brea tar pits in 1947. He earned a master of arts in 1950 and his doctorate degree in 1953 from the University of California at Los Angeles, where he was the first Ph.D. student of George Bartholomew. He was president of the Society (then ASZ) in 1986.

John Pearse Award: John S. Pearse (1936-2020) was an authority on marine invertebrates and intertidal ecology. He spent his academic career at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he was instrumental in establishing the marine science program. He earned his Ph.D. at Stanford University where he did some of the earliest marine biology research at Antarctica’s McMurdo Station. He was president of the Society in 2007 and 2008. (See the Experiences article he wrote in the Fall 2006 SICB Newsletter.)

If you are interested in contributing to these funds, we invite you to click the ‘Donate to SICB‘ link in the green box at the society’s website.  These have been added to the list of various specific funds to which you can direct your charitable giving.

SICB has many other ways in which you can invest, and through which we can, in turn, invest in our members.

  • We recently ended our 3-year Double Your Dues (DYD) Campaign where we have asked each member of SICB, including the students, to contribute over a period of three years the equivalent of SICB dues for one year.  We ended the campaign with over $13,500. Thanks to all who donated through the DYD campaign!
  • SICB, along with Burke Inc, also manages invested funds that provide support for students to attend the annual meeting and support their research, support for symposia, lectures, and several awards. There are separate funds that are designed for specific purposes, including the ones mentioned above.  Without these invested funds, most of the SICB activities would not occur in their current robust form. Again, we invite you to contribute to these funds
  • Also on this page, you will find information about Estate Planning, to assist you in planning a legacy gift to SICB.  Estate planning is a very personal endeavor and crafting documents to meet your specific needs can be done on a one-on-one basis. Please contact us if you have any questions. 
  • Finally, a simple way to donate to SICB, without actually taking a dime out of your own bank account, is to name SICB as your charitable organization of choice in Amazon Smile. A portion of your shopping dollars will go to SICB, so long as you remember to shop on your Smile page. And, if you are in a shopping mood (it has been a ‘click to add to cart’ kind of year!), as always, remember to order your SICB Apparel. Show your support of SICB and its programs and benefit SICB at the same time.

Recognition of Donors. We are grateful to our members who have donated to the Society. Click here for the full list of donors in Fiscal Year 2020.


Report from Educational Council

Lisa Whitenack, Chair,

Ed Council Chair, Lisa Whitenack

The Educational Council had a busy time at SICB 2021! We supported two TAL-X workshops: one on integrative creative writing into your courses (led by Chris Gillen) and one on biomaking and community partnership (led by Ali Hansen, Corrine Takara, and BioJam teens). We also supported the symposium “Biology beyond the classroom: Experiential learning through authentic research, design, and community engagement”; be on the lookout for papers from that symposium in an upcoming issue of ICB. We were honored to welcome Dr. Claude M. Steele, author of Whistling Vivaldi, as the plenary speaker for the John A. Moore Lecture. Dr. Steele talked about his past and present work on stereotype threat and how that affects students in STEM classrooms. If you have not read his book yet, we highly recommend it! Finally, we were pleased to award this year’s M. Patricia Morse Award for Excellence and Innovation in Science Education to Dr. Sara Hiebert Burch. You can find a profile on Dr. Hiebert Burch in this newsletter.

We need nominations for the SICB 2022 Moore Lecturer and Morse Award! Information about both of these awards is available under “Awards” on the SICB website. Nominations and supporting materials for both are due in mid-August. 

The Ed Council also continues to support SICB members during this time of pandemic pedagogy. During the fall, we facilitated “pandemic teaching circles” that connected SICB members that were teaching or planning on teaching similar courses. 47 SICB members participated with 13 different course topics covered, from introductory biology to upper-level courses. Many of those members participated in more than one teaching circle. We continue to provide COVID-19 teaching support through maintaining databases for resources for online biology instruction, online guest lecturers, and SICB’s Research and Education Resources (RER) library.

The RER is one of our main areas of focus for 2021, working alongside the redesign of the SICB website. We would appreciate your feedback to help us figure out the best way for the RER to serve the SICB community; we are gathering information using this survey. Please take a few minutes to let us know what would help you!


Report from the Public Affairs Committee

Shaz Zamore,

Shaz Zamore

The SICB Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has had an exciting annual meeting. At this meeting, we hosted a collection of workshops and social events for the entire 2-month duration of the conference. We welcomed Danny Rankin from CU Boulder, who discussed Tech Tools for a Virtual World, and we also hosted Sara ElShafie for her workshop on Inclusive Storytelling. Both were well-attended! To offer relief from the stresses of the global pandemic, the PAC hosted Wellness Wednesdays, with discussions on healthy tech use, fermentation, herbalism and botany, as well as sessions featuring meditation, yoga, and pilates. We also held game nights on Saturdays, allowing people to gather and connect across disciplines, unwind, and have a good time.  The 2021 meeting saw the first year with Dr. Shaz Zamore as PAC chair and welcomes new members, Ryan Hulett and Drs. Sebastian Alvarado and Noah Bressman

The PAC is continuing its efforts to foster an equitable and inclusive culture in SICB. This year, we focused our efforts on social media engagement as well as our workshops. First, the PAC social media team expanded from 2 people to 5, with impressive work from student social media ambassadors, Dani Crain, Bret Hodinka, Fadya Ruiz and Guadalupe Sepulveda-Rodriguez, who are led and managed by Noah Bressman. This year, in addition to partnering with the Broadening Participation Committee to share events with Dr. Kendall Moore, we also hosted an online roll call, which allowed members of the SICB community to celebrate and connect with other members of minoritized groups. We commend our new Correspondents for their hard work, and look forward to the changes to come!

The diversity of SICB is one of its standout hallmarks and the PAC is helping to increase it through its workshops. Sara ElShafie’s workshop, Inclusive Science Storytelling provided insightful knowledge on how to share one’s research with any audience and focused on sensitivity practices when communicating about or with underserved, underrepresented, or minoritized groups. The workshop was deeply engaging, with conversations that continued long after the session ended. We enjoyed working with Ms. ElSfafie and supporting her new business, Science Through Story, which helps academics improve their communication skills and extend their reach.

Finally, the PAC is happy to continue the enrichment of SICB’s communication efforts. First, we are proud to welcome the 2021 cohort of student journalists, Jackie Childers, Emily Lau, Peishu Li, Andrew Saintsing, Jacey van Wert and Sara Zlotnik. This year, we partnered with the Integrative and Collaborative Biology team to produce content for their blog. These stories focused on this year’s symposia speakers, offering a human touch to stories that are often rather technical. Please check out the ICB Blog to read their contributions, and other ICB blog content! These writers are also working on press releases, which will be available on the SICB website in the next two weeks! We are thrilled with our journalists’ work and look forward to working with them again in the future!

If you have successes to announce, such as paper acceptances, grant awards, and upcoming employment opportunities, please email us or reach out to us on Twitter. We would love to share your news with the community!


Report from Student-Postdoctoral Affairs Committee

John Hutchinson, Chair,

The hard-working members of the Student-Postdoctoral Affairs Committee (SPDAC) are listed here.

SPDAC conducted three main activities for SICB this year:

  1. We produced numerous “how to” brochures including advance distribution of “how to design a talk/poster” for SICB2021, and held “office hours” at the SPDAC booth, one per Representative.
  2. We made a video for first-timers to SICB/[virtual] conferences, featured on Pathable.
  3. We hosted our virtual workshop on “Transferable Skills in Academia and Non-Academia.”  About 75 attendees showed up. We first had a 30-minute panel discussion of skills/careers, then 45 minutes of breakout-room discussions. There was a lot of interaction with our panel of 10 experts on the topics raised in those rooms. Feedback has been very positive; even the guest experts commented on how they learned something about skills in careers.
SPDAC Chair, John Hutchinson

Also connected to the SPDAC activities and directed toward students/postdocs, the Royal Society (a SICB sponsor) held a workshop with SPDAC Chair JR Hutchinson on 9 February about “Increasing your publishing success (for early career researchers)” – a general overview of the entire process of peer-reviewed publication (not specific to Royal Society journals). This publishing workshop went well, with >50 attendees and plenty of discussion that filled the whole 90 minutes.


On to next year! For SICB 2022, we brainstormed ideas and settled on:

  1. We are working on a new brochure on mental health and (online) resources, including ways to cope for students and postdocs, to add to our repertoire of brochures.
  2. We will run a booth again, with our brochures and two main activities (e.g., at coffee breaks):
    1. “Rockstars” or other persons of interest in SICB (e.g., Division officers) available for chats at the booth, with reps and other students and postdocs there to keep company and facilitate. Sort of like DEE “Beers and brains” without the beer! 12 divisions/6 days = 2 per day.
    2. Skills workshops: 10-15 minute demos of discrete skills – making a figure, editing 3D graphics, yoga/meditation, scicomm, interview strategies, invisible skills, whatever! 12 divisions/6 days = 2 per day? We’d need to find suitable people attending SICB, from any career stage, to do interesting demos of a “skill” that can be acquired hands-on in a short time, so not something complex.
  3. Finally, we plan to hold a workshop on science communication. We thought we’d try to do this with volunteers from SICB expert attendees. We will feature a 90-minute session with rotating tables on:
    1. Sharing and composing stories about your science
    2. Art/editing scicomm audiovisuals
    3. Ways to maximize accessibility of scicomm
    4. Open software tools for scicomm (including art, editing)
    5. More? Free-for-all social networking time at end?

We will be developing these ideas as 2021 rolls onwards.


Profile of Patricia M. Morse Award Winner

Morse Award, Sara Hiebert Burch

Dr. Sara Hiebert Burch is the winner of the 2021 M. Patricia Morse Award for Excellence and Innovation in Science Education. Dr. Hiebert Burch is the Edward Hicks Magill Professor Emerita of Biology and Swarthmore College and a longtime SICB member. Her scientific research focuses on hypometabolic states and the influence of dietary lipids in birds and small mammals. She is currently studying the hummingbird microbiome.

Dr. Hiebert Burch’s contributions to physiology education, and to science education more generally, are numerous. Her publications in the field range from laboratory exercises and laboratories she has developed, to methods for teaching and assessing experimental design. She has supervised summer undergraduate research by students at Swarthmore, University of Washington, and the University of British Columbia, and has overseen dozens of independent study, summer, and thesis projects. Her dedication to fostering undergraduate research experiences has resulted in eleven manuscripts and more than two dozen abstracts that are co-authored with undergraduates since 2004. One of her nominators writes, “She has transformed the lives of students and positively influenced the teaching of innumerable colleagues.”

Much of Dr. Hiebert Burch’s service also relates to education and pedagogy. She is an active reviewer for Advances in Physiology Education and has facilitated numerous teaching workshops at institutions such as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Harvard University. At SICB, she served on the Educational Council (2010-2011), was a founding member of SICB’s Digital Library advisory board, and chaired a symposium about the Digital Library (2007).

It is clear that Dr. Hiebert Burch serves as a mentor and inspiration to her students and colleagues, and that her dedication has carried over to future generations. One of her nominators writes: “In the same way that Sara’s teaching inspired my love of science and allowed me to engage authentically in the scientific process as a novice, I see the impacts in my own students.” 


Remembering Former SICB Presidents

In the past year, we’ve lost three former presidents of SICB. Each of these were remarkable leaders, who impacted not only our Society and our field, but had meaningful, lasting effects on the lives of so many scientists as well.

William Dawson

Bill Dawson (1927-2020) was Professor Emeritus in the Department of Zoology at the University of Michigan, and served as President of the American Society of Zoologists, the precursor to SICB, in 1986. Please click here to read an account of Bill’s contributions, with a personal memory from Richard Marsh.

John S. Pearse

John Pearse (1936-2020) was Professor Emeritus in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and served as President of SICB in 2007-2008. Please click here to read a tribute to the wide-ranging impacts of John’s visionary service to SICB, by David Lindberg and Douglas Eernisse.

Stephen Wainwright

Steve Wainwright (1931-2019) was the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biology at Duke University,  and served as the President of American Society of Zoologists, the precursor to SICB, in 1988. Please click here to read a celebration of Steve’s life, with a summary of his influence by Mark Westneat and John Long, and a compilation of his personal impacts on more than 30 other scientists.


Candidate for SICB Program Officer-Elect

Janet C. Steven 

Janet Steven

Current Position: Associate Professor, Christopher Newport University, Newport News, VA

Education: BS Davidson College (1996); PhD University of Wisconsin-Madison (2003)

Professional Experience: Postdoc, Indiana University (2003-2005); Assistant and Associate Professor, Sweet Briar College (2005 -2014); Assistant and Associate Professor, Christopher Newport University (2014-present).

SICB Activities: Division Program Officer (DPO) and founding member of the Division of Botany; judge for divisional best student presentation competitions.  

Other Memberships: Botanical Society of America, Torrey Botanical Society, Society for the Study of Evolution

Research Interests: Evolution of functional traits in plants; life history evolution and mating patterns in ferns; heavy metal hyperaccumulation as a defensive mechanism in plants

Statement of Goals: Although I am a recent convert to SICB for its relatively new focus on plants, I have been thrilled by the discovery of the many opportunities to indulge my interests in organismally-focused evolutionary biology. I have thoroughly enjoyed attending talks of all kinds and thinking about what we can learn through broad comparative approaches. Serving as a divisional program officer for the virtual 2021 conference provided an opportunity to think about the critical functions of our annual meeting and the role meetings play in the scientific community. Meetings provide not only the opportunity to network and share the newest science, but also space to discuss ongoing research, generate new ideas, and consider new approaches. If elected Program Officer, I would work hard to provide the high-quality, smoothly run annual meetings that members expect, while also promoting opportunities for discussion and idea exchange. SICB also provides a collaborative environment in which to explore interdisciplinary boundaries, and I would create spaces for members to germinate ideas related to convergence research across disciplines to address broad, fundamental questions in biology. In addition, I would continue current broadening participation efforts by promoting and supporting new members, members new to their divisional roles, and members proposing their first symposium or workshop. I am continually impressed by both the collegiality and the amazing science at SICB meetings and in the journals, and I would be delighted to serve as Program Officer.


Candidates for SICB Member-at-Large

Andrew J. Clark

Andrew Clark

Current Position: Associate Professor, Department of Biology, College of Charleston

Education: B.S., Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park (2002); Ph.D. Ecology
and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine (2009).

Professional Experience: Associate Professor, Department of Biology, College of Charleston (2016-present);  Visiting Scientist, Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington (2012-present);  Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, College of Charleston (2010-2016); Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Biological Sciences, Clemson University (2009-2010); Part-time Faculty, Department of Physical Therapy, Chapman University (2008).

SICB Activities: Divisional Secretary for DVM (2015-2018); Nominating Committee for DCB (2019-2020); Nominee for secretary of the DCB (2013); Organized “Effective Presentation Skills” workshop (2013); Broadening Participation Committee (2012-2015; 2019-present); Organized the SE Regional DCB/DVM Meetings (2012); Chair and judge for the DVM Best Student Paper Award Committee (2011)

Other Memberships: American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists

Research Interests: I am interested in the mechanics of biomaterials, morphology, and movement. The main theme of my research program investigates how hagfishes implement their jawless feeding apparatuses as proper jaws. Most research activities in my lab involve creating and analyzing 3D anatomical reconstructions of feeding apparatuses, assessing the
material properties and puncture resistance of loose skins in hagfish, and characterizing the 3D kinematics of knotting. I also address biomechanics questions with other organisms like lizards, snakes, guinea fowl, cockroaches, and marine algae.

Goals Statement: I am honored to be nominated as a candidate for Member-at-Large. I have been a SICB member for more than eighteen years. Even though I had little previous experience in research when I first attended SICB, I felt encouraged to share the results from my data without feeling awkward or out-of-place. As a Member-at-Large, I am most excited about
helping SICB continue to be a healthy and supportive venue that promotes intellectual growth and professional development of students and postdocs. I will facilitate SICB’s mission by encouraging participation of a broad spectrum of scholars and placing them in a unifying environment where discoveries can be shared and collaborations can be formed. With my connections to the Broadening Participation Committee and my participation in the Dorothy Skinner Award Program, I will work on furnishing more support for underrepresented minorities, women, and first-generation students. Furthermore, I want to help SICB with its public outreach efforts and help it maintain constructive dialogues with government officials. Thank you for considering my candidacy.


Kory M. Evans 

Kory Evans

Current Position: Assistant Professor at Rice University (2020-Present)

Education: B.S. Nova Southeastern University (2013) Ph. D. University of Louisiana Lafayette (2017)

Professional Experience: Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow, Brown University (2019-2020); Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Minnesota (2017-2019)

SICB Activities: Member of SICB for four years. Associate editor for IOB.

Other Memberships: American Society for Ichthyology and Herpetology, Society for the Study of Evolution

Research Interests: Evolution and development of the vertebrate skull. Interface between morphology, ecology, and performance.

Goals Statement: I consider SICB to be one of my home societies. Ever since I attended my first meeting, I have always been impressed by the welcoming and collaborative environment for young researchers and the commitment to diversity and inclusion within the society. I am honored to be nominated to run for Member-at-Large. I will zealously advocate for interdisciplinary collaboration and diversity within the society. Thank you for considering my candidacy.