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Division of Invertebrate Zoology (DIZ) - Fall 2000 Newsletter

Message from the Chair

Rachel Ann Merz

Greetings All! As invertebrate zoologists wrap up laboratory projects, return from the field and start classes, integrative minds turn to our meeting in Chicago - the city of broad shoulders. Libbie H. Hyman Symposium organizers, participants, and program officers have been busy preparing intellectual feasts to keep us warm (if not heated) in the cold north. See the Program Officer's report for a preview of the exciting symposia offered at this year's meeting.

During our business meeting in Chicago, Susie Balser will be turning over the division paperwork and organizational responsibilities of the office of Secretary of the Division to Will Jaeckle who was elected to the position of Secretary of DIZ this summer (Thanks to Diane Padilla ,Sara Lindsay and William Zamer for serving as the nominating committee and providing such a strong slate of candidates). We all owe our gratitude to Susie who has done a superb job of keeping our records and meetings in order and moving forward.

Another issue for the business meetings is the question of whether DIZ should invent or preserve some activities that serve to draw invertebrate zoologists together or that act to draw a particular focus on invertebrate zoology. This questions arises in part because presentation sessions are now being organized not by division but by topic. While this makes for generally far more intellectually cohesive paper and poster sessions, there was some concern voiced about loosing the sense of an invertebrate zoology community.

Although this field season is just wrapping up, it is not too early to be thinking about next summer. The Libbie Hyman Memorial Scholarship is designed to help support advanced undergraduates or beginning graduate students to take courses or to carry on research on invertebrates at a marine, freshwater or terrestrial field station. The Libbie Hyman Scholarship committee (Isidro Bosch, Richard Emlet, Gordon Hendler, James G. Morin, and Judith E. Winston) has done a wonderful job of advertising this career-shaping opportunity and selecting candidates under the leadership of its Chair, Gordon Hendler. After 4 very productive years, Gordon et al. have decided to pass on the Libbie Hyman torch and Michael LaBarbara has graciously accepted the mantle of chair of the committee. Inquiries about the scholarship can be made to him. Please urge your budding invertebrate zoologists to take advantage of this terrific opportunity.

Message from the Secretary

Susie Balser

This is my last contribution to the DIZ Newsletter as secretary of the Division. I greatly appreciate all the assistance I have received from other DIZ officers and members--my job of compiling the newsletter has been made easier by the submissions and suggestions from DIZ members. I have gained from this position a better understanding of the workings of the Division and SICB and many new friendships with members of the Society. If you are interested in more involvement in DIZ or SICB, consider running for office. I encourage all DIZ members to attend the annual business meeting in Chicago. Check the SICB Meeting schedule for the time and place and come prepared to influence big decisions and participate in rowdy debates.

Congratulations to Will Jaeckle (
wjaeckle@titan.iwu.edu) who is the DIZ Secretary-Elect and will take office at the end of the DIZ business meeting in Chicago. Submissions for the Spring Newsletter should be directed to him.

Message from the Program Officer

Larry McEdward

The upcoming meeting in Chicago has three DIZ sponsored symposia covering very diverse and interesting topics: 1) The Lesser-known Protostome Taxa: Evolution, Development and Ecology; 2) Ontogenetic Strategies of Invertebrates in Aquatic Environments; and 3) Living Together: The Dynamics of Symbiotic Interactions. I encourage each of you to attend these symposia and learn about some of the fascinating research on these topics. Symposia are key elements of the SICB annual meeting and are the primary means by which the interests and activities of the various divisions are promoted within the society. After the meeting in Chicago, please pass along to me comments that you have about these symposia, as well as suggestions for symposium topics that you would like to see (or better yet, which you would be willing to organize!) at future meetings.

I would like to take this opportunity to solicit comments and suggestions from the membership of DIZ regarding the recent decision to prohibit computer projection-based talks at the annual meeting. One of the primary factors motivating this decision was concern about disruption of the schedule of talks. Synchronization of talks is essential to facilitating transition between individual presentations during sessions and maintaining a schedule so that talks of interest are presented at a predictable time. How the society proceeds on this issue will depend on the response from the membership. I would be interested to know whether computer-based presentations are an important option for the members of this division. If so, then we need to find a good solution to the practical problems that arise with such presentations. Suggestions for how to manage such computer-based talks within the limited time constraints of the sessions would be very helpful. It seems to me that computer-based presentations have several advantages, most importantly, the ability to incorporate diverse materials (e.g., text, images, video, sound, animation, and simulations) into a talk. Furthermore, prohibiting such presentations seems contrary to the move towards web-based abstract submission, on-line meeting programs, electronic distribution of newsletters, and extensive use of electronic communications within the society. But, this is only my opinion, so let's hear what you think. Have a great fall. See you in Chicago!

2001 Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship

Michael LaBarbera, Libbie H. Hyman Scholarship Committee Chair

Report from the 2000 Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship Recipient

Mary Wolf

Laboratory for Sensory Ecology, Department of Biology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio 43403.

My experience at the station was an exceptional one. I was able to interact with researchers that were focused on different facets of chemoreception in invertebrates. My background is in behavioral science, so interacting with investigators that work in the field of molecular biology was very advantageous to me. The course "Chemosensory Neurobiology in the Marine Environment" included many techniques used in the study of chemosensory biology. The two techniques I utilized the most in the course were single unit electrophysiology and radio-ligand binding assay. I felt that these two techniques offered the best application towards my current research, the effects of pollutants on olfactory mediated behavior in aquatic organisms. I recorded data from the antennules of lobsters using single unit electrophysiology and interpreted those recordings. Crayfish are very similar in body structure to the lobster. Both crayfish and lobster use their antennules to sense odor stimuli while crayfish also use their antennae. I will be able to apply this technique to investigate the effects of specific chemical pollutants at the cellular level. Do chemical pollutants have an inhibitory effect on nerve transmission or do they interfere with olfaction by over-stimulating the cell? The other technique I learned during my course was radio-ligand binding assay. With this technique I investigated how feeding deterrents compete for binding sites of amino acids used in the aesthetascs (chemoreceptors) of the lobster. Since crayfish do not have aesthetascs, the procedure has to be modified, but I believe it could be a useful tool in investigating the effects of pollutants. The radio-ligand binding assay may be useful in determining whether these pollutants compete with amino acids necessary in the transmission of information to the animal.


DIZ Chair
Rachel Ann Merz
Department of Biology
Swarthmore College
Swarthmore, PA 19081
telephone: 610/328-8051
Fax: 610.328-8663

DIZ Program Officer
Larry McEdward
Associate Professor of Zoology
Department of Zoology,
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL
Fax: 352/392-3704

DIZ Secretary
Susie Balser
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
Illinois Wesleyan University
Bloomington, IL 61702-2900
Fax: 309/556-3864

DIZ Secretary-Elect
William Jaeckle
Visiting Professor
Department of Biology
Illinois Wesleyan University
Bloomington, IL 61702-2900
Fax: 309/556-3864

Libbie H. Hyman Scholarship Committee, Chair
Michael LaBarbera
Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy
The University of Chicago
1027 East 57th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
Fax: 773/834-3028

Graduate Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee Representative
Shea Tuberty
Crustacean Endocrinology
Research Associate
University of West Florida
Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation (CEBD)
Science Training in Ecology Program (STEP)
Pensacola, FL 32514-5754