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Division of Invertebrate Zoology (DIZ): 2001 Spring Newsletter

In this newsletter:

Message from the Chair

Rachel Ann Merz

Greetings All! The Chicago meeting of SICB had the largest number of attendants in recent memory, providing an exciting range of talks, posters and symposia. This year both the poster and paper sessions were organized by topic instead of division. The benefit of this plan is more cohesive sessions with fewer conflicts. The drawback might be a diminished sense of division identity. I say 'might be', because both the DIZ business meeting and social were lively, well attended gatherings showing no sign of a lack of division identity. We hope to continue to foster this enthusiastic participation by making a special effort to include students and post-docs in our DIZ events next year in Anaheim. Sheaae Tuberty, our DIZ representative to the Graduate Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee, is coordinating activities to both include and serve our graduate student and post-doc members at the Anaheim meeting. Please contact Shea (stuberty@uwf.edu) or any DIZ officer if you have ideas (apart from having food and beer available) about effective ways of doing this.

The news from the Executive Committee meeting is that the Society is doing well financially due to the careful shepherding of society finances by the Executive Committee over the past few years and to the change in management companies that took place in 2000. As a result, not only has the meeting abstract fee been abolished, but there will be further dues reduction this year, fulfilling a promise made by the Executive Committee when the society was struggling a few years ago. The forecast is that the 2002 meeting in Anaheim will actually pay for itself!

The DIZ business meeting included regular reports from Secretary Susie Balser, and Program Officer Larry McEdward. Please see their sections of this newsletter for updates. We also had a report from Clay Cook thanking folks for their help in judging the Best Student Paper and Poster competition. Clay has accepted some additional professional roles (including being visiting editor for Invertebrate Biology and president-elect of AMS) and therefore asked for a volunteer to run the Best Student Paper/Poster competition next year. It is our good fortune that Sara Lindsay has taken up the challenge and will be organizing the competition at the 2002 meeting. Please read Clay's report below and join me in thanking him for doing such a good job.

The Libbie H. Hyman Scholarship Committee, chaired by Mike LaBarbera, encourages students to apply for funds to support them in their first field station experience. Mike pointss out that neither the applicant nor the field station need be from or in the United States. For more information, please see the Libby H. Hyman web page, pondside.uchicago.edu/oba/Faculty/LaBarbera/SICB/

The meeting closed with thanks to Susie Balser for yeoman's service as the DIZ Secretary for the past three years and a hearty welcome to Will Jaeckle for his willingness to take on the duties of Secretary. Both to comply with state law and to increase participation, division elections this year will use paper ballots mailed to all DIZ members. When you get yours, please vote, and we promise to count every one without any appeal to the Supreme Court. As always, if you have questions or suggestions please let me know.

Message from the Secretary

Will Jaeckle

The Secretary binders have been officially passed and this is my first contribution as secretary to the DIZ Newsletter. I would like to first thank the former secretary (Susie Balser) for proving me with such an organized set of documents that detail the whys and wherefores of the secretary's duties. Her efforts during her tenure have made my life as secretary much easier. Any comments or suggestions from the division's membership are welcomed and please feel free to contact me with any information that you would like to see distributed within the DIZ.

I too wish to extend my thanks to Clay Cook's for his efforts extended to maintain the high standards of DIZ's Student Presentation Awards.

I would also like to remind our members of the existence of SICB's Grants in Aid of Research Program. This year there were relatively few submissions from DIZ and we should encourage our students to seek this source of extramural funding. Despite a low number of submissions, two DIZ proposals were awarded funding! Congratulations to Johathan Cowart (University of Florida) "Palatability and chemical defense of Pteraster tesselatus eggs and juveniles" and to Kristin Sherrard (University of Chicago) "Is suspension feeding inherently inefficient in early juveniles?".

Message from the Program Officer

Larry McEdward

This year is off to a great start with a successful and productive meeting in Chicago. I would greatly appreciate your comments regarding the meeting,especially the symposium topics and the organization of the poster sessions.
However, positive or negative feedback on any aspect of the meeting is valuable. Planning for the upcoming meeting in Anaheim in January 2002 is already underway and now is the time to provide suggestions for changes. We have a great selection of symposia (Cambrian Explosion, Ecological Developmental Biology, Metazoan Complexity, Responding to a Little Nervous System, Physiological Ecology of Intertidal Organisms, Biogeography), a special contributed paper session, and related activities planned that should be of interest to members of DIZ.

Hard though it might be to believe, now is the time to start planning the symposia for the 2003 meeting in Toronto, Ontario. This could be the perfect opportunity to put together that symposium on freezing tolerance in soil invertebrates that you have always wanted to organize. Proposals for the Toronto meeting will be due in the late spring. Contact the SICB Business Office, the society program officer (John Pearse), or me for details. The divisional program officers evaluate and select among the competing proposals, but much more importantly, we assist with the development of the proposals, requests for funding, and incorporation of the symposia into the program. Don't hesitate to bring your ideas to my attention long before you have a formal proposal ready to submit.

Please note that I will be on sabbatical next year and away from the UF campus from early summer 2001 through August 2002. The best way to contact me with feedback from the meeting or symposium ideas is via e-mail at mcedward@zoology.ufl.edu.

Message from the Graduate Student-Postdoctoral Affairs Committee

DIZ Representative: Shea Tuberty(stuberty@uwf.edu)

    Hello fellow students of science! With the Chicago SICB meeting is behind us, we have an opportunity to evaluate the procedural changes that were implemented this year. Please email to me your comments, either good or bad, concerning the Chicago meeting. Our comments will be organized along with those of other divisions and voiced to appropriate societal officers.
    Please remember that undergraduate students, graduate students, and recent postdoctoral fellows (< 1 yr.) can compete for our division's best student paper and poster awards. The DIZ presentation awards are said to be among the best in the society and any of these awards is something you can proudly add to your C.V. As you begin to prepare for the 2002 meeting consider entering these competitions! Brought to my attention this year was a noticeable lack of entries for the Adrian M. Wenner Strong Inference Award. This honor is awarded to a presentation which best satisfies these four requirements: 1) Clearly state an initial hypothesis, 2) Explicitly designate alternative hypothesis(es), 3) Devise crucial experiments with alternative possible outcomes that will exclude one or more of the alternative hypotheses, and 4) execute the experiment cleanly. I urge you to consider these requirements when you prepare your next abstract and enter your work in the competition for the Strong Inference Award! The Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship is also available to first- and second-year graduate students or advanced undergraduates who are members of DIZ. The awarded monies ($750) are directed to help support a student's first field-station experience. Information and the application form are available at pondside.uchicago.edu/oba/Faculty/LaBarbera/SICB/ and also can be found along with information on all other Grants in Aid of Research and awards on the SICB homepage.
    The new SICB homepage now has membership information that can be searched. This "Bioportal" may allow students to find mentors/professionals who share common interests and with whom you may be able to use as a resource while working toward your degree.
    The planning of the GSPAC workshop at the 2002 (Anaheim) meeting has already begun. We will be working with the SICB Education Council to develop two workshops with the working titles: "Modern Academia" and "Alternative Careers to Academia." The committees hope to attract representatives from all levels of academia and discuss positive and negative aspects that different career choice and levels provide. Representatives from government research agencies, private consulting firms, conservation (green) groups, lobbyists, and industry will also be invited to give students exposure to alternative career paths.
    Very soon I will be sending an email message to each student DIZ member in an attempt to get feedback from the Chicago. Good luck in your studies and research!

Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship

Michael LaBarbera (University of Chicago and chair of the Libbie Hyman Scholarship Committee) reminds us of the effort to expand the Hyman Memorial Scholarship Fund so that two scholarships can awarded each year, one to an undergraduate and one to a graduate student. A field station experience can help shape a student's career. Contributions, large or small may be sent to:

SICB Business Office, Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship Fund, 1313 Dolley Madison Blvd., Suite 402, McLean, VA 22101. Checks should be made payable to SICB and marked as a "Contribution to the Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship Fund." All contributions are tax deductible.

This scholarship, in memory of Libbie H. Hyman, one of America's foremost invertebrate zoologists, provides assistance to students to take courses OR to research on invertebrates at a marine, freshwater or terrestrial field station. The Hyman is intended to help support a first field station experience for a first- or second-year graduate student or an advanced undergraduate student.

Completed applications must include:
  • Application form
  • A one to two page description of the proposed coursework or research
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation from faculty members
  • Transcripts of both undergraduate and (if applicable) graduate course work.
Deadline: MARCH 5, 2002
Notification of Awards: APRIL 4, 2002.

Application forms and further information are available on the web at pondside.uchicago.edu/oba/Faculty/LaBarbera/SICB/ or from:
Dr. Michael LaBarbera
Chair, SICB Libbie Hyman Scholarship Committee
Dept. of Organismal Biology & Anatomy
The University of Chicago
1027 East 57th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
FAX: 773-834-3028
E-mail: mlabarbe@midway.uchicago.edu

Annual Business Meeting Minutes

Rachel Merz, Chair of the DIZ, opened the annual divisional business meeting on January 4, 2001 in Chicago. The first order of business was the acceptance of the minutes of the 2000 business meeting (Atlanta) as posted in the Spring 2000 newsletter.

Program Officer Larry McEdward invited the membership's opinions about the organization of the poster sessions by topic rather than by divisional affiliation. From this developed a discussion of the awarding of the Best Student Paper Awards and the perceived need to design, within the web-based registration page, a place where the author can designate the division that he/she wishes to have their paper evaluated. Further discussion ensued regarding the maintenance of DIZ award monies to SICB student members who list DIZ as their divisional affiliation. The general opinion was, at this time, there is no formal way to avoid designating an award to a student who is not a member of the DIZ. Further discussion and a vote are required to officially change the divisional by-laws. There was a general agreement, however, that DIZ awards are most appropriate for DIZ members, and barring a specific change in the by-laws awards judges will serve as arbitrators.

Larry also related that the 2002 SICB meeting is shaping up nicely with number of DIZ oriented symposia (Biogeography, Physiology of Intertidal Organisms, Responding with a little nervous system) and a contributed paper session(s) in honor of Russ Zimmer. Larry noted that 1 April was the deadline for symposia submissions for the 2002 (Toronto) meeting. He also solicited comments on the issue of computer-based oral presentations. A number of members expressed their concerns about the high inherent costs of this presentation form (principally due to high rental and projectionist fees).

With respect to Best Student Paper awards there followed a general discussion of the timing of submission and the eligibility of late papers for the division's competitions. It was suggested that acceptance of papers or papers eligible for student awards should only include those submitted by the society's abstract deadline. Although there is a need for official change in the divisional by-laws, there was a general consensus of the attending members that both paper and poster submissions from the same individual were both eligible for divisional awards.

Rachel commented on the society's Bioportal program where members may track members with similar interests. She encouraged the DIZ membership to contribute to this new innovation. She also asked the membership if loss of divisional identity was evident to the membership and, if so, what we should do to retain our identity. One proposal put forth was to have a division-specific graduate student/postdoctoral fellow welcoming at the Anaheim meeting. She further asked for opinions regarding the distribution of the Divisional Newsletter should be directed specifically to the membership or posted on the SICB website.

A NSF-funded workshop proposed mechanisms to SICB to increase the diversity and minority involvement in the society. These specific objectives were presented to the DIZ membership and, following a spirited discussion, the membership supported the outcome of the workshop and encouraged SICB participation at the 2002 Anaheim meeting. All interested in the implementation of these proposals by SICB were encouraged to contact Dianna Padilla, Flo Thomas or Sally Woodin. For additional information please refer to the Spring 2000 DIZ Newsletter.

DIZ's representative at the Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Affairs Committee Shea Tuberty reiterated Rachel's comments about the value of the Bioportal program and suggested that this program would serve as an avenue for contact between students and faculty who share common research interests but reside at different institutions. Shea also reported on a number of relevant workshops on grant proposal construction and postdoctoral opportunities.

Vicki Pearse (Editor Invertebrate Biology) requested that the membership of DIZ join a campaign to increase the subscription of institutions to IB in order to avoid (hopefully avoidable) subscription cost increases.

Michael LaBarbera (Chair of the Libbie Hyman Scholarship) requested that interested student submit for this scholarship in support of work at field stations. Further it was noted that this award is not restricted to US citizens or to US field stations. There remains a need for additional support of the award in hope that two scholarships may be awarded each year, one for a graduate student and one for an undergraduate student.

SICB President Martin Feder introduced to the division the President-elect Marvalee Wake and Brett Burk, the society's liaison to its new management company (Burk and Associates Inc).

Division President Merz ended the meeting by presenting past-secretary Susie Balser with a bottle of champagne in recognition of her service to the DIZ for the past three years.

Link to officer list on DIZ page