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1998 Annual Meeting Co-Sponsors
1998 Annual Meeting Symposia

SICB 1997 Fall Newsletter

Fall Newsletters by Division

Message from the President,

Alan J. Kohn

As the autumnal equinox signals the last quarter of 1997, our society continues to advance on a number of fronts. Plans for an exceptional Annual Meeting, January 3-7, 1998 in Boston, are in place, and registration packets have been mailed. The Boston meeting will be larger than those of the past several years and will feature several innovations. More societies are meeting with us for the first time, including the Ecological Society of America, International Society for Reef Studies and the new Julia B. Platt Club, an interdisciplinary forum for evolutionary morphology and development. In addition our regular affiliated societies, the Animal Behavior Society, American Microscopical Society, and The Crustacean Society, will be joining us. For more information on these co-sponsoring societies, see pages 12-13.

Abstracts for papers and posters submitted number 730, a 42 percent increase from last year! We'll have nine symposia, plus the innovative late-breaking symposium titled, "Innovations in Evolutionary Biology," featuring Stephen Jay Gould and Lynn Margulis. 
Another major event at the Boston meeting will be the launching of Integrative Biology: Issues, News, and Reviews. This journal will be published by John Wiley & Sons as an official SICB publication starting in January, 1998, and will be free to all SICB members for at least its first two years of publication. 

In its inaugural year, our Grants-in-Aid of Research program made awards totaling $5,000 to seven highly deserving graduate student members of four SICB divisions. (They are listed in the spring 1997 newsletter.) Although our Grants-in-Aid endowment is growing rather slowly, interest gained this year should permit us to increase the amount awarded, I hope by as much as 20 percent. The Student Support Committee chaired by Malcolm Gordon will meet in Boston to select the 1998 awardees. In order to continue this momentum and increase support of the research of our student members, I encourage you to send a contribution to the SICB Grants-in-Aid of Research endowment (a donation form is included with this newsletter). 

Facilitated by the ease of meetings via the internet, in late spring the Executive Committee discussed and approved two major initiatives. SICB has begun a program of interaction with our professional counterpart in Cuba, the Cuban Zoological Society (CZS). Since 1989, more than 200 U.S. and Cuban zoologists have been involved in what is probably the most active area of cultural exchange between our two countries. This collaboration has been possible because the regulations of the U.S. embargo include provisions to encourage the free flow of information as well as scientific research. 
Initially, the collaboration focused on biodiversity, and it included biological inventories inside Cuba by U.S. systematists and reciprocal visits by Cuban systematists to U.S. research collections where most of the world's specimens of Cuban origin are located. Leading institutions in U.S.-Cuban collaborative research projects include the New York Botanical Garden, American Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution and Center for Marine Conservation. An article describing the collaborative activity is available on the Internet at (see also The Scientist,10(8), Apr 1996).

Thanks to the efforts of Michael Smith and a license granted by the U.S. Department of Treasury, SICB members are now permitted to become regular individual members of CZS. The cost of membership is a one-time fee of $5 and annual dues of $10. I hope that many SICB members will join CZS. Even if your research interests do not involve the neotropics or Cuban colleagues, the modest dues make it possible for us to support hard-pressed scientists in that country and to enhance the interchange of ideas and information with colleagues. (Ten dollars is more than the monthly salary of a scientist in Cuba, and thus will go far toward the support of biological science there.) For more information on how to join CSZ, see the sidebar on this page.

Secondly, the Executive Committee addressed the question: In addition to our affiliated societies and other co-sponsors, what societies should we invite to join us in Denver in January, 1999? When ASZ met in the west, we traditionally invited the Western Society of Naturalists (WSN) to meet with us, and this has been a very successful, mutually stimulating arrangement. WSN traditionally meets in early January, and we have invited them to join us at the 1999 meeting. In addition, we have re-extended the invitation to the Ecological Society of America (ESA) to meet with us again, and we have invited the new International Symbiosis Society. We have also invited the three societies that, in recent years, have joined in the very successful evolution meetings in June: Society of Systematic Biologists, Society for the Study of Evolution and American Society of Naturalists. 
Many SICB members also belong to one or more of these societies. In part because of the overlap of interests with SICB and in part because many of their members commit to field work in the summer, one or more of these groups may find meeting with us in January attractive, as has ESA. To date, we have not received any definitive responses to these invitations.

Plans for the two Annual Meetings following Denver are also finalized. Following our policy of meeting in a different geographic region each year, the site in 2000 will be Atlanta, January 4-8, and in 2001 we will meet in Chicago, January 3-7. We are beginning to plan for January, 2002, probably in southern California.
Also during the summer, the Conservation Committee under the active leadership of Fraser Shilling completed a strong letter in support of strengthening the Endangered Species Act should this be brought for re-authorization consideration in Congress. The final version of the letter, a draft of which appeared in the spring newsletter, is being circulated to obtain signatories from other societies as well. 

On a more mundane matter, this summer SICB made a major investment in new software and associated staff training to improve the processing of abstracts and creation of the Annual Meeting program. While the advantages to members of such activities may seem obscure, we will all benefit from the more expeditious processing, and I am especially pleased that this particularly reduces the clerical responsibilities of our overworked program officer, Willy Bemis.

Finally, SICB membership continues to be a major source of concern. Although the decline in numbers has been nearly stanched, all of us need to exert strong efforts toward attracting new members and increasing our numbers. As past president Michael Hadfield stated in last fall's newsletter, "Our decreased ranks threaten the very existence of the society. Membership numbers determine the strength of our 'voice,' when we speak on matters of national and international importance to biological scientists. They affect the cost of belonging to SICB. They impact the cost of our meetings, because only increased participation by paying attendees can the costs to all members decrease." Specifically, membership stood at 2,119 at the end of 1996, and 2,095 as of the end of August, 1997. If each of us could convince a single colleague to become a member, this problem would be immediately solved!

Message from the Program Officer,

Willy Bemis

SICB 1998 Annual Meeting Highlights

As the name of our society indicates, our purpose is to integrate and compare the research findings in the fields of evolutionary biology, ecology, physiology and other biological sciences. At the SICB 1998 Annual Meeting in Boston, Jan. 3-7, we will have an opportunity to do just that. This year's meeting offers symposia and workshops covering the wide range of interests of our members and co-sponsors. Let me tell you a bit about these opportunities.

Highlighting the meeting, we have a fantastic line-up of 10 symposia, including the late-breaking symposium "Innovations in Evolutionary Biology" featuring Stephen Jay Gould and Lynn Margulis. We were thrilled to receive approximately 730 abstracts in August. This is a 42 percent increase over the 514 abstracts that we received for last year's meeting in Albuquerque. In addition, we have received approximately 290 abstracts over the Web this year, which is an increase of 80 percent over the 167 abstracts we received last year over the Web. For more details on the symposia, see the next page.
In addition to the ten pre-arranged symposia, SICB is continuing its program of interdivisional sessions to foster new links in biology. This year, four interdivisional sessions will be held: "Locomotion and Movement;" "Feeding and Foraging;" "Reproduction and Life History;" and "Education."

New developments for teaching comparative biology will be explored in a new workshop series, the first entitled "Comparative Biology in the Classroom." This half-day workshop will expose participants to some examples of the new ways to provide experience and transmit the information technology provides.

For the Boston meeting, we are proud to have six co-sponsors participate. They include the Animal Behavior Society, American Microscopical Society, Ecological Society of America, Julia B. Platt Club, International Society for Reef Studies and The Crustacean Society. We look forward to enhancing our relationships with these societies.

The Julia B. Platt Club, a new group, will meet on January 2, one day prior to the SICB Annual Meeting, to provide a new international forum for evolutionary morphology and development. The International Society for Reef Studies will meet the day following the SICB Annual Meeting on January 8.

Send in your registration form today to sign up for this inspiring meeting. See you in Boston!

Willy's Top Ten Reasons to Join SICB at the 1998 Annual Meeting

  1. Ten fantastic symposia and hundreds of contributed papers.
  2. Learn about "Innovations in Evolutionary Biology," a late-breaking symposium featuring Stephen Jay Gould and Lynn Margulis.
  3. Check out our newly expanded exhibit floor.
  4. Four topical interdivisional sessions.
  5. Visit the New England Aquarium, Museum of Comparative Zoology, and Boston Museum of Science.
  6. Meet the future of biology at our consistently student-friendly Annual Meeting.
  7. The Ecological Society of America and the International Society for Reef Studies join the Annual Meeting.
  8. Enjoy New England's regional delicacies and Boston's international cuisine.
  9. Find updated job advertisements and research opportunities.
  10. Make new friends and colleagues in a wonderful meeting environment.

Remember: You'll never find a more totally committed or 
fun group of scientists.

Message from the Secretary,

Thomas G. Wolcott

As Polonius said before Hamlet stabbed him right through the arras, "Brevity is the soul of wit..." and, having little, I shall be very.

Guidance on how to present effective posters and talks was a need perceived at the Albuquerque meeting, for both new and old hands. Lacking the succinctness of Moses, who descended Sinai to tell the errant Israelites, "Take these two tablets and call me in the morning...," I've penned more extensive expositions based on lessons drawn from many stultifying experiences. These are provided in this newsletter on pages 10-11 as (partial) lists of "mortal sins," or sure-fire ways to flop in either format.

Summer field station opportunities, especially for the benefit of undergraduates who could see organisms in their normal settings rather than in plant presses or pickle bottles, were to be the subject of a Web page ready for spring applicants. In last spring's SICB Newsletter I asked field stations to send us their addresses, Web sites, offerings and so forth. Harbor Branch did (bravo, Susan Cook!). Their Web site is, or phone 800/333-HBOI. Other field stations desiring exposure need to get us info, pronto!

I look forward to seeing many of you in Bahston, where I will be gathering grist (compromising pictures, outrageous out-of-context quotes) for the next edition of this newsletter!

Message from the Treasurer,

Mary Beth Saffo

Judging from my recent e-mail, there are still a few members who do not understand our policy regarding meeting registration fee waivers for symposium speakers. I will once again summarize that policy.

SICB will waive registration fees for all symposium speakers, provided that the symposium organizers have applied for outside funding. Note that we only require that organizers apply for, not necessarily receive, outside funding. Note also that any outside funding qualifies: we encourage you to consider not just NSF and NIH as potential sources of symposium funds, but also other government agencies, private foundations and even your own universities. Our registration waiver policy is summarized in our information sheet for SICB symposium organizers. I also ask division chairs and divisional program officers to remind prospective symposium organizers of this policy, to minimize (or, dare I hope, eliminate?) chances for any future misunderstanding.

Balance Sheets

We are currently in good shape financially, with a current projected net 1997 income that is slightly greater than expected. This surplus is due largely to efficient management of expenses rather than to increased revenues. In fact, our expected revenues are currently lower than our budget forecast.

Our total membership renewals have fallen short of budget; as of this date, membership is still declining. There has also been a decrease in American Zoologist subscription renewals and video and merchandise revenue has been minimal this year. To stem these trends, we plan to revitalize our Membership Committee in 1998 and hope to implement a new marketing plan aimed at increasing membership growth and at maximizing American Zoologist renewals. Membership and subscription growth must be a priority of the society in 1998.

The SICB Business Office has worked diligently to reduce their administrative expenses, which are currently four percent under budget. Our expenses have also been reduced by lower than anticipated printing expenses. Luckily, these expense savings are substantial enough to offset our declining revenues.

As always, the success of our Annual Meeting – a potentially significant revenue source and also a major expense – will affect our year-end financial picture.

We look forward to the realization of several new ventures in 1998, including the debut of Integrative Biology: Issues, News, and Reviews and the publication of our new career brochure. Projects such as these promise not only to enhance our bottom line, but also will contribute to the continuing expansion and renewal of the society.

The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
1313 Dolley Madison Blvd Suite 402
McLean VA 22101
Phone: 703-790-1745 or 800-955-1236
FAX: 703-790-2672