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Division of Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry (DCPB) - Spring 2000 Newsletter

Message from the Chair

Steven C. Hand

First of all, a special note of thanks is in order for our outgoing Division Chair Tim Bradley. His dedicated leadership of DCPB over the last two years has been invaluable.

The Atlanta meeting was another success for SICB. The two meetings prior to Atlanta set new attendance records, and the Atlanta meeting logged 10 percent more registrants than either of those. The new topical, theme-based program was generally well received. A new society-wide Program Innovation Fund was approved in Atlanta to be used primarily for the Chicago 2001 meeting. These funds are not intended to support our normal symposia, but rather to encourage the inclusion of keynote speakers, panel debates or other avenues designed to enrich the meetings. Thanks to those individuals who organized symposia sponsored or co-sponsored by our division this year: David Towle, Joan Ferraris, Randi Weinstein and Bob Full.

The recipient of the Bartholomew Award, Kathleen Gilmour (Carleton College, Ottawa), was honored at the Atlanta meeting immediately after the DCPB business meeting and then treated the audience to an enjoyable presentation of her past and ongoing investigations into the role of carbonic anhydrase in fish acid-base balance (see below). The winner of the Best Student Paper Award was L. Roxburgh (Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, Sede Boger, Israel) for the presentation entitled "Protein requirements of the orange-tufted sunbird (Nectarinia osea)." Two presentations were selected this year for Best Student Poster: K. P. Choe (University of Florida) for "Expression of sodium/proton exchanger (NHE) proteins in the gills and kidneys of the little skate, Raja erinacea," and C.M. Moe (Univ. of Maryland Biotech. Inst.) for "Characterization of a vertebrate gastric chitinase." These three students are congratulated for their fine contributions.

I would like to mention an international meeting of interest to our membership scheduled for this summer. Cambridge 2000 is a special joint meeting of SEB/CSZ/SICB and will be held July 30-August 3. Several exciting symposia in comparative physiology and biochemistry are scheduled, including one co-organized by David Towle and Nora Terwilliger and sponsored in part by DCPB: "Enantiostasis and Unstable Physiological Systems." The symposium is planned as a tribute to Charlotte Mangum. (See the Secretary's Column for links to Web sites).

Later this spring, the DCPB Nominating Committee will be inviting candidates to stand for election as program officer and chair-elect this fall. If asked, I would encourage you to take the opportunity to serve your society in this important way.

Finally, the next SICB Annual Meeting will be held in Chicago, January 3-7.

Let's continue the upward trajectory in attendance seen in recent years.

Message from the Program Officer

Michele Wheatly

The first SICB meeting of the millennium is now behind us. Symposia sponsored were "Intermittent Locomotion: Integrating the Physiology, Biomechanics and Behavior of Repeated Activity," organized by Randi Weinstein and Bob Full, and "Osmoregulation: An integrated Approach," organized by David Towle and Joan Ferraris. In addition, authors of 60 contributed papers identified DCPB as their primary affiliation and there were 73 posters in the DCPB section. Oral presentations were organized by topic which was well received by the membership of the division. In fact, it was so well received that members approved topical organization of posters in coming years! This means that one needs to pay great attention to the check off boxes on the submittal Web site! If you cannot find a category for your contribution, please contact the division program officer.

Symposia are already in the works for Chicago 2001. DCPB has sponsorship of "Taking Physiology to the Field: Advances in Investigating Physiological Function in Free-Living Vertebrates" by David Goldstein and Berry Pinshow as well as co-sponsorship of "Stability and Maneuverability" by Frank Fish and Robert Full. Several other symposia are of interest to the divisional membership and two have meeting-wide sponsorship (education, symbiosis). A symposium added in late and proposed by Martin Feder and Steve Hand concerns synergism between animals and plants in environmental physiology and is an attempt to lure plant physiologists to our Annual Meeting. In addition, SICB President Martin Feder has made available program enhancement funds ($25,000) for the Chicago meeting. These can be used for any session that would bring new members to the meeting or former members back. Any serious proposal will be considered!

Please watch your e-mail for announcements about Anaheim 2002. Proposals for symposia will be due soon. I will repeat my admonition from last year. If you have been attending these meetings regularly for several years, it is your responsibility to consider putting together a symposium! Publication of symposia in American Zoologist provides the revenue for SICB and our Annual Meeting.

Message from the Secretary

Jeannette Doeller

The DCPB business meeting was called to order on January 7, 2000, 5:30 p.m. by Chair Tim Bradley. This year's recipient of the Bartholomew Award, Dr. Kathleen Gilmour, was introduced (see The George A. Bartholomew Award article below), as was the new DCPB Chair Steve Hand. SICB is in good financial condition, with funds in reserve. As a result, membership dues and registration fees will be reduced, and abstract fees will be eliminated. However, all members are encouraged to sign up new members as increased membership is necessary for our society.

Several society issues were discussed briefly. Topical sessions at this Annual Meeting were considered good in general, especially for our division. Electronic communication was also considered good in general, although an informal vote indicated that about half the DCPB business meeting participants would like a hard copy of program and abstracts before the meeting. Some members agreed that an early program with titles would be helpful, perhaps allowing the abstract submission date to be later. The software for submitting abstracts online should be more user friendly. Some members thought that the addition of plant and microbial fields to the meeting would be very useful to our division, as long as the meeting focus remains organismal. Since our division is the largest in the society, proposed changes would most likely not undermine our divisional structure.

Grace Wyngaard of NSF thanked President Martin Feder for asking how SICB could help NSF, and her response is that members of SICB could consider serving in recently opened positions at NSF. These include a program director in integrative animal biology, an integrative biologist with functional genomics expertise in ecological and evolutionary physiology, a systematicist with invertebrate expertise in the Division of Environmental Biology and the director of the Division of Integrative Biology and Neuroscience. Anyone interested should contact Grace or any program director at NSF.

Steve Hand presented the 1999 annual report of the editorial staff of the journal, Physiological and Biochemical Zoology (see below). Michele Wheatly discussed upcoming symposia for next year's Annual Meeting in Chicago and urged members to make symposia plans for the 2002 meeting in Anaheim (see Message from the Program Officer). Meeting was adjourned as David Towle transferred the past-chair ribbon to Tim Bradley. I would encourage the membership to send their opinions on the efficacy of the electronic newsletter to me at doeller@uab.edu. These opinions are necessary to help plan the future of SICB electronic communications.

Check out the following list of upcoming international meetings:

June 15-17, 2000, German Zoological Society International Symposium on Animal Physiology, University of Bonn, Germany

July 23-28, 2000, 12th International Conference on Invertebrate Dioxygen Binding Proteins, Roscoff, France

July 24-28, 2000, European Society for Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry, Liege, Belgium

July 30 -August 3, 2000, SEB, ANZSCPB,APS,CSZ,SICB, 2000 Milestones and Goals, Cambridge, UK

September 5-9, 2000, European Society of Endocrinology, Faro, Portugal

August 18-24, 2001, Second International Conference of Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry in Africa, Chobe National Park, Botswana

August 26-31, 2001, IUPS XXXIV International Congress of Physiological Sciences, Christchurch, New Zealand

February 2-8, 2003, ICCPB, La Trobe University, Australia; contact Peter Frappell (La Trobe University) or Russ Baudinette (University of Adelaide)

Annual Report of the Editorial Staff of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology

From July 1, 1998, through June 30, 1999, 79 manuscripts were published. This represents an increase of about 8 percent from last year's figure. Of the 79 manuscripts published, 74 were research papers, two were technical comments, two were invited perspectives and one was a memorial to Charlotte Mangum. The number of invited perspectives and technical comments was the same as published last year.

One hundred forty-eight manuscripts were submitted during the report period, nearly the same number as last year's submission (147). As of this writing, 44 (30 percent) of those manuscripts have been accepted for publication; 28 of the accepted manuscripts have already appeared in print, and 16 are in press. Of the submitted manuscripts, 10 (6 percent) are still in review, 43 (29 percent) are in revision and 51 (34 percent) have been rejected.

Of the manuscripts submitted during this period, 69 (47 percent) originated from first authors affiliated with U.S. institutions and the other 79 (53 percent) came from abroad. The average time from initial submission of a manuscript to acceptance was seven months. Comparable data from previous years are not available. We have recently instituted changes in procedures in the editorial office (such as encouraging electronic communication) in an effort to move the review process along more efficiently. We will continue to track this review/revision time.

The decrease in average time from submission to publication noted in last year's report continues. The lag time from acceptance to publication is now only 13.6 weeks on average, down from five months last year. This continues a reduction from an 11-month average lag only a few years ago. Few, if any, other journals in the field can claim faster publication. This is yet another reason for the members to submit their manuscripts to us.

The number of invited perspectives published this year, as last year, was rather small. We would like to remind you that we welcome suggestions for timely, appropriate topics for these perspectives, and that we rely in part on suggestions from the DCPB membership to identify and recruit authors for IP manuscripts.

We urge the membership to continue to direct their manuscripts to us!

Editorial Office Update

The editorial office was moved to the University of Colorado in early spring 1998, and we are running smoothly. Our team in Boulder consists of Editor-in-Chief Greg Snyder, Associate Editors Todd Gleeson and Steve Hand and Managing Editor Kristin Lopez, who came on board in June 1999. We invite members to make note of our address and to visit our web page (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/PBZ/home.html) at the University of Chicago Press, where they will find the tables of contents for forthcoming issues as well as instructions to authors regarding the preparation of manuscripts for submission.

New Business

Online publication of PBZ is now a reality, thanks to the efforts of the dedicated people at University of Chicago Press. The online journal debuted in January 1999 with the first issue of volume 72; at this time, issues 1-5 of volume 72 are available on the Web. Access to the electronic version of PBZ is currently unrestricted and available to everyone. However at some point in 2000, access control will be turned on, and the electronic version will be available only to subscribing individuals and institutions (in addition to a paper edition). We encourage you to explore the features of PBZ online at http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/PBZ.

The Editorial Board

Two new members joined our Editorial Board in the fall of 1999 - Ian Hume and Jon Harrison. The Editorial Board members remain our primary source of suggestions for reviewers, as well as providing occasional reviews and arbitrating disputes when other reviewers have fundamental disagreements about the merits of a manuscript. We believe that this system provides us with the most highly expert reviews we can obtain, and we extend our sincere thanks to all who participated in 1998-1999.

Respectfully submitted,

Gregory K. Snyder


Todd Gleeson

Steve Hand

Associate Editors

Kristin Lopez

Managing Editor

Message from the DCPB IUBS/IUPS Representative

Nora Terwilliger

The U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Physiological Sciences (USNC/IUPS) met in Washington, D.C. in early February right after the Superbowl and the second big snowstorm of 2000 for the city. Two of the main items on the agenda were the upcoming IUPS Congresses. Next summer, August 26-31, 2001, the XXXIV International Congress of Physiological Sciences will be meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand. That is still a long way in the future, but you may wish to start planning now for a conference down under. There will be five days of lectures and synthesia covering the whole range of physiology and pathophysiology, as well as posters and workshops. In addition, there will be more than 40 satellite meetings in New Zealand and Australia before and after the Congress plus a special gathering on Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry in Botswana (see Chobe 2001, Botswana, below). At the New Zealand meeting, the IUBS committee (as in Liege, Baton Rouge, Tokyo, Birmingham UK, Calgary) will be meeting to plan the next Comparative Physiology conference in 2003.

Incidentally, there will be another international conference of Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry in Africa from August 18-24, 2001, the week before the IUPS meeting in New Zealand. Some of you remember what a fantastic experience it was to hear the hippos singing in the river as we walked to the morning sessions at Kruger National Park, South Africa, two summers ago. While not an official satellite of the IUPS, the dates have been arranged so you can go directly from the meeting in Botswana (Chobe 2001) to the IUPS in New Zealand on a "round the world ticket."

The USNC will be hosting the XXXV ICPS in Washington, D.C., August 7-12, 2005. If you would like to play a role in the initial program planning and recognize this opportunity to include more comparative physiology in the IUPS meetings, here is a chance to volunteer. Within the next month, our DCPB Executive Committee will be nominating three to six people to the USNC/IUPS for two people to be selected for the national organizing committee for the D.C. meeting. The organizing committee will have one to three meetings a year, and the USNC is looking for active biologists, perhaps with international meeting experience, to help design the program. SICB/DCPB will have two members on the organizing committee, along with representatives from American Physiological Society, Microcirculatory Society, Society for Neuroscience, Society of General Physiologists and Biomedical Engineering Society. Please nominate yourself or your colleague; e-mail Steve Hand (hands@spot.colorado.edu) or me (nterwill@oimb.uoregon.edu) soon with your suggestion.

Message from the DCPB Student Affairs Representative

Brian D. Eads

After attending the SICB Annual Meeting in Atlanta last month, I came away with the distinct impression that ours is a society on the cusp of several exciting trends in biology. For starters, the comparative aspects of the research programs of our members demonstrate the power of this approach. A wide range of problems have been amenable to a comparative approach, creating hybrid fields in evolution and development, molecular biology and systematics, and even physiology and genetics. The novelty of these emergent fields and the range of questions they promise insight into are truly engaging. In fact, there are two points to raise about how we in this society can and will continue to use the comparative approach.

The first is to note that the inclusion of plant scientists into this group constitutes a quantum leap in comparative power, to a level which was not possible before the molecular revolution. With the advent of new techniques, however, sophisticated questions can fruitfully be raised, and meaningful comparisons can be made from molecules to species. For example, some types of questions we can begin to examine might include: how similar are cell level responses to environmental stresses across kingdoms? how similar are the pathways for signaling stress? how is developmental plasticity engendered, and how are environmental cues mediated during early development? Comparing patterns, processes and mechanisms in a phylogenetic context can help to elucidate the sources and consequences of natural variation, and inclusion of other groups can only increase the power of such findings.

On the other hand, it seems difficult for historically separate branches of science to act syncretically (or at least, individual scientists often find crossing disciplines to be a daunting task), which indicates that a comfortable fit for plant biologists in the former American Society of Zoology may be some time coming. However, other examples of new collaborative and interdisciplinary research being encouraged at an institutional level are rife: in biology departments reconsolidating after years of splitting, in the increasing economic and infrastructural links between academics and industrial research, in professional organizations such as ours and even in funding agencies, notably the NSF. All of these trends help to counter the strictly specialist bent of our work and force us to reconsider not only how we are educating ourselves and our students but also the very nature of our research.

This brings me to the second of my points from above, which is that new funds (i.e., increases above the current level of support) allocated by the NSF are being given to large, multi-investigator, cross-disciplinary projects. In other words, in real-dollar terms, the traditional single PI grant is in decline, and money to answer the big questions using multiple investigators from divergent fields is increasing. Thus, as many of the students and postdocs who attended workshops in Atlanta led by NSF panel members and agency types can attest, strong indications are being given that future funding may very well depend on our ability to be team players, to communicate well to those who may be far outside our field and to think in terms of the larger picture.

As an aside, I would note that these developments have important implications not only for research but also for teaching. The greater emphasis being placed on cross-disciplinary investigation will necessitate that we educate each other better than we have been, and I would predict that these benefits will accrue to undergraduate students as well.

In closing, the hopeful message I got from Atlanta (as a student, waiting my turn to begin looking for a job and research money) is that the tremendous growth in biology over the last century has the momentum to carry us all forward, provided we are willing to persevere and to reevaluate how we do business as usual.

The George A. Bartholomew Award

The 1999 Bartholomew Award recipient, Kathleen Gilmour

Kathleen Gilmour graduated from McMaster University, Canada, in 1988 with a B.Sc. (Hons) in biology and a strong interest in respiratory physiology (primarily of fish). She then promptly set off for the University of Cambridge, England, to pursue a Ph.D. on insect flight muscle under the supervision of Dr. Charlie Ellington. Having learned her way around the inside of a bumblebee's thorax and the myriad of Cambridge colleges, she returned to Canada to take up a postdoctoral position (Eastburn Fellowship) in Dr. Steve Perry's laboratory and became enthralled by the intricacies of carbon dioxide excretion and acid-base status in fish. A second postdoctoral stint with Dr. Chris Wood provided experience in fish gill cell culture and ionic regulation, and she then moved to the University of Glasgow, Scotland, as a temporary lecturer where she worked on putting all that she'd learned into practice.

In 1998, Katie joined the Department of Biology at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada where she is currently an assistant professor. Her research, which is funded by NSERC, is focused on understanding strategies of respiratory gas transfer in fish, with an emphasis on carbon dioxide excretion and the role of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase. In particular, her work on extracellular carbonic anhydrase is both challenging and changing the traditional models of carbon dioxide excretion for fish. She has authored or co-authored 29 journal publications and three book chapters since 1993, and currently holds an NSERC University Faculty Award, one of 19 awarded across Canada in 1999.

Bartholomew Award Nominations

DCPB is soliciting nominations for the Bartholomew Award. The Bartholomew Award recognizes a distinguished young investigator (within seven years post-Ph.D.) in comparative physiology, comparative biochemistry and related functional fields. The recipient presents a special lecture at the Annual Meeting. Past recipients are Barbara Block, Peter Wainwright, Michael Dickinson, Stephen Secor, Gretchen Hoffman, Tyrone Hayes and Kathleen Gilmour.

Self-nominations are encouraged and should be accompanied by a current curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation and reprints of three recent publications. Letters of nomination should include a brief description of the nominee's research accomplishments. Nominations should be submitted by May 30, 2000, to:

Dr. Steven Hand, Chair, DCPB

Department of EPO Biology

N122 Ramaley Building

University of Colorado

Boulder CO 80309-0334

E-mail: hands@spot.colorado.edu

The award, which is sponsored by DCPB, was named in honor of George A. Bartholomew, who championed young students throughout his career. Please send your donations to the SICB Business Office.