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Division of Evolutionary Developmental Biology (DEDB) and Division of Developmental and Cell Biology (DDCB): 2006 Spring Newsletter

In this newsletter:

Message from the Chair

Billie J. Swalla

Greetings from the Chair!

I really enjoyed seeing so many of our members at the meetings in Orlando - thanks for your efforts to make the meeting a resounding success! It is exciting to see how well our field of research is moving forward and beginning to tackle ever bigger research problems. Studies are coming out that are beginning to link Evo-Devo studies and the frequency of natural alleles in populations, one of the last big hurdles that we will need to understand to study Evo-Devo in the evolution of natural systems. The Society-Wide symposium "Metamorphosis: A Multi-Kingdom Approach" showed the new advances that have been made in this complex problem in a variety of systems.

One of the ways that we are trying to promote Evolution and Development is through the SICB web page for DEDB researchers:
The DEDB main page is set so that a different researcher comes up each time you access the site. Please send your contributions to Frietson Galis (f.galis@biology.leidenuniv.nl), and she will see that your research is posted on the site.

I would like to see more of you take leadership roles in the DEDB and DDCB divisions in SICB. If anyone is willing to represent our divisions on various SICB committees, and learn how decisions within the Society are made, please contact me. It is fun to meet the people in other divisions, and learn about other topics of research within SICB. At the moment, I need several people to work on the Student Support Committee. It is a minimal time commitment, but is integral to our success in providing students with support for travel to the meetings. Please let me know if you are willing to consider helping out.

SICB is getting a new publisher, Oxford Press, and I hope that you have all received your first issue, #46 on "Adaptations to Life at High Elevations." You'll notice that they have a colorful cover, and will go to electronic publishing, which will streamline the process of getting together all of the symposia articles at once. We heartily thank John Edwards for his years of service to "American Zoologist", which morphed into "Integrative and Comparative Biology" and look forward to new directions with the incoming editor, Harold Heatwole.

In International news, there is a newly formed European Society for Evolutionary Developmental Biology, http://natur.cuni.cz/evodevo/ organized in part by our capable DEBD secretary, Frietson Galis. They are having their first meeting from August 17-19 in Prague this summer. You can see more details on the WEB site: http://natur.cuni.cz/evodevo/symposia/

Our two Divisions are going strong, with several excellent symposia in Orlando, and two new ones coming up in Phoenix. "Movers and Shakers: The Evolution and Development of Mesoderm" was a terrific, integrated look into the various aspects of mesoderm specification and "Zebrafish in Comparative Context" did an amazing job of bringing together people working on zebrafish from a variety of viewpoints and with different research methods. It is not too early to begin thinking about symposia for SICB 2008, so if you have ideas, please contact myself or Ed Rosa-Molinar. We definitely try to put something together for the 25 year anniversary of the 1983 Gans and Northcutt paper.

Thanks again to all of our terrific officers, and, especially to Brian Hall, who has been an excellent leader the past two years that he has chaired the DEBD and DDCB. I am lucky to follow someone as organized and passionate as Brian and hope to continue to build and strengthen our Divisions.

Best wishes for a happy and productive year in 2006.

Billie J. Swalla

Message from the Program Officer

Eduardo Rosa-Molinar

¡Saludos Amigos de Puerto Rico, the Island of Enchantment! The 2006 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida has come and gone and I am in the last year of my tenure as your DEDB/DDCB Program Officer. Wendy Olson is our new DEDB/DDCB Program Officer-Elect.

At the divisional meeting the Best Students Paper/Poster Program was discussed. As you may remember, the Divisional Program Officers (DPO's) unanimously agreed that the Best Student Paper (BSP) award programs administered by most of the SICB divisions would benefit from standardizing some (but not all) of the procedures and requirements of those programs. Our specific recommendations to the Executive Committee and membership were:

(1) eliminate division affiliation requirements for the BSP programs (currently division affiliation is a requirement by DCPB, DEE, and DIZ, but not DAB, DCE, DDCB, DEDB, DSEB, or DVM)

Rationale for Change: This change acknowledges the scientific overlap among the divisions and promotes interaction among them. In addition, the requirement recommended for elimination is fairly minor, as students can change divisional affiliation with a single click on the SICB member information page. This latter point means that enforcement of the current requirement is difficult, at best.

(2) an individual awarded the first place BSP (oral) from any division will be ineligible to compete for the BSP (oral) in that same division or any other division in the future. Similarly, an individual awarded the first place BSP (poster) from any division will be ineligible to compete for the BSP (poster) in that same division or any other division in the future. An individual could compete for a poster award after winning an oral award, and vice versa (currently there are divisional restrictions in the number of awards that any individual can win in DCPB, DDCB, DEE, and DEDB, but not in DAB, DCE, DIZ, DSEB, or DVM).

Rationale for Change: This change would give the society an increased opportunity to acknowledge a larger number of students making outstanding presentations. With elimination of division affiliation requirements (#1), it seemed important to enforce this rule at the society level rather than just at the divisional level.

The DPO's are not recommending standardizing the other differences in divisional programs (such as number of individual awards, amount of awards, criteria used [i.e. standardize the oral and poster evaluation forms.]).

Shortly, the membership will vote whether or not to accept the DPO's recommendation. Please vote!

Also, members are asked to review and agree on the keyword index list as well as the session topics SICB uses for DEDB and DDCB abstract submission. The proposed changes will make programming easier and provide better linkages among symposia and contributed papers and posters submitted by the members of DEDB and DDCB.

Shown below is the breakdown of keywords used by DEDB/DDCB members who submitted abstracts (note: 1051 abstracts submitted and accepted in SICB 2006):

Development (n=24 abstracts): DEDB/DDCB and AMS

Evolution (n=169 abstracts): DEDB/DDCB and DIZ

Morphology (n=187 abstracts): DVM and DAB, DEDB/DDCB, and DNB

Sessions associated with symposia (n=88 abstracts): AMS, DEDB/DDCB

The proposed keyword index and topics list will be posted on the electronic bulletin board for your review and comment. Please go through it and send you suggestions to me (ed@hpcf.upr.edu).

I also would like your comments regarding the elimination of the "Either" category for paper and poster submissions.

In response to the small amount of NSF and NIH funds available for DEDB/DDCB symposia, I have requested and obtained an increase in the DEDB/DDCB divisional budget, from $5,000 to $12,000 last year and from $12,000 to $12,500 this year.

The symposia supported this year were:

Movers and Shakers: The Evolution and Development of Mesoderm" organized by Brad Davidson and John Gerhart

Zebrafish in Comparative Context" organized by Jackie Webb and Thomas Schilling

Metamorphosis: A Multi-Kingdom Approach" organized by Andreas Heyland, Jason Hodin, Cory Bishop, and Leonid Moroz

I want to take this opportunity to thank Brad, John, Jackie, Tom, Andreas, Jason, Cory, and Leonid for excellent symposia. I also want to thank Aquatic Habitat Inc for its generous support.

At the 2007 meeting in Phoenix AZ, DEDB/DDCB will sponsor two symposia:

Linking genes and morphology in vertebrates" organized by F. Galis and D. Carrier

Key transitions in animal evolution" organized by B. Schierwater, S. Dellaporta & R. DeSalle

Please begin thinking about ideas for symposia for the 2008 SICB meeting in San Antonio, TX. The deadline for symposia proposals is August 18, 2006.

The journal Integrative and Comparative Biology has been taken over by Oxford University Press. We also have a new editor, Harold Heatwole, Ph.D. Symposia organizers must be aware that the right of first refusal policy of SICB will be enforced!

Some outstanding issues that I think need to be resolved and are critical to the DEDB/DDCB membership are:

  • Abstracting (PubMed, Genebank, etc)

  • Time-to-Print

  • Color Page Cost

That's all for now. Keep sending your original research papers to Evolution and Development (Blackwell Publishing), Molecular and Developmental Evolution (Wiley), American Naturalist (University of Chicago Press), and Biosciences (AIBS). These journals support DEDB/DDCB membership. I hope to see you in Arizona.

¡Hasta Pronto Amigos!

Message from the Secretary and Secretary-elect

Frietson Galis and Marcus Davis

Dear members of the DEDB and DCDB,

The meeting in Orlando was very successful, even if the weather wasn't as warm as we would have liked! We would like to thank Ed Rosa-Molinar and the other program officers for their contributions to an excellent program and the symposium organizers Brad Davidson and Jackie Webb for organizing exciting evo-devo symposia.

Here are the minutes of our well-attended business meeting at the conference:

Business meeting DEDB, Thursday, 6 January 2006

  • Opening of the meeting by our Chair, Brian Hall.

  • Approval of the minutes of the January 2005 meeting.

  • Proposal for a new division of Comparative Biomechanics. Several members of the division of Vertebrate Morphology, amongst others John Bertram and Bob Full have proposed such a division. The proposal is received well by the attendees.

  • Sites of future meetings are announced (07 Phoenix; 08 San Antonio).

  • A statement by the board of SICB is read on intelligent design. Members in attendance approve of this statement.

  • The plan is announced for an increase in dues from $85 to $100 for full members and from $135 to $140 for full family memberships. This is found to be a reasonable increase.

  • A representative of the society journal, Integrative and Comparative Biology, visits to explain promising changes, particularly the journal's new publisher, University of Cambridge Press. See further contribution of the program officer and chair.

  • Report of the program officer, Eduardo Rosa-Molinar (see his report in this newsletter).

  • Report of the secretary

- Improvements to our research webpages:

Quite a few of our members have provided a paragraph on their own research and an illustration. Ruediger Birenheide has made a very nice display of it for our divisional webpages. We kindly ask members that have yet to contribute to view the examples online for inspiration and provide a paragraph on their research and to illustrate this with an image in jpeg format (f.galis@biology.leidenuniv.nl). You can also provide html links to your personal and departmental research pages. The research pages are now hyper-linked to your SICB member information page. In short, this will help link names with faces and contact information with research interests. There will also be a general researchers database page that is not organized by divisional affiliation. We would like to thank Ruediger Birenheide for making all of this possible.

  • Report of the student/post-doc representative, Nathan Bird (see his report in this newsletter).

  • Brian Hall says good-bye as chair and hands over his function to Billie Swalla.

This meeting was, thus, the last meeting with Brian Hall as our chair, we would like to thank Brian for being such an excellent and energetic chair of our division. Furthermore, we are delighted to welcome Billie Swalla as our new chair.

Message from the Student/Postdoc Representative

Nathan Bird

Many greetings to my fellow DEDB graduate students and post-docs. I hope everyone had a great time in Orlando, which turned out to be another fantastic meeting. I want to give kudos to the organizers of the two DEDB sponsored symposia, as the zebrafish and mesoderm talks were excellent, and their hard work putting the symposia together is greatly appreciated. Many important issues were discussed at our business meeting, and I hope more of you can attend at the Phoenix meeting. It is the best way to keep informed about the issues faced by our division, as well as gaining additional face-time with the leaders of our field. Another terrific grad/post-doc workshop is in the works dealing with what editors want when submitting papers, so if you missed the workshops last time, keep your schedule open, as it is sure to be very informative for all.

Best to everyone, and I hope your research is fruitful this year!

Nathan Bird

Link to officer list on DEDB page