HomeVolume Fall 2005
Message from the Treasurer

Ron Dimock

The audit for 2004 is complete, and the Society finished the year with a modest increase in net assets (about $44,000). However, this figure incorporates unrealized capital gains from our mutual funds and REIT investments; the actual annual budget was about $20,000 in the red. This deficit was about $13,000 greater than had been projected. There was no single part of the budget that was responsible for this overage, but rather actual expenses exceeded budgeted figures by a few 100 or an occasional 1000 dollars here and there. One bright spot in the budget was the Annual Meeting, which finished with a modest positive net balance of $1900, the 3rd consecutive year that the meeting has been in the black.

Our invested funds continue to be a highlight of the overall financial picture. After the down market for much of 2004, at the end of the 3rd quarter 2005, the Year-To-Date return on all investments was 9.5%. Overall the portfolio has increased 19% since April 2002 while the S&P 500 has increased 5%. With money market funds and CDs only now approaching 2-3% after hovering at of below 1% for much of 2004, these YTD and overall figures are encouraging.

These are exciting times for the Society, and when you read President Woodin's report, you'll see that much of the recent focus concerns the journal. Beginning in January 2006, Integrative and Comparative Biology will be published by Oxford University Press. This new association between SICB and OUP will bring professional marketing to ICB, and should in the long term reverse the steadily declining income from the journal that the Society has experienced. One area where there is particular optimism for growth is with international institutional subscribers, a sphere in which ICB has not been well represented. However, in the short term, the profit sharing arrangement with OUP will result in further erosion of the net income from ICB. Therefore, the budget is going to be further constrained.

Another area of fiscal concern is the very real prospect for diminishing support from NSF for Society symposia at the annual meeting. Some retrenchment by NSF has already occurred, and the Society must anticipate further difficulty in securing extramural support. Providing financial assistance to international speakers is an especially difficult issue. It seems obvious that the Society will have to increase its current level of approximately $20,000 per year in direct support of symposia (through the Program Officer) plus subsidizing nearly all registration fees for symposia participants, and will have to seek creative ways to fund these sessions in the future. Since ICB depends upon a steady influx of high quality manuscripts from symposia presented at the annual meetings, sustaining those symposia is vital to the Society not only for the quality of science at the meetings but also for the very survival of the journal.

President Woodin, following the efforts initiated by Past-President Wingfield, intends to reconstitute the long-dormant Development Committee whose charge it will be to explore other avenues for generating financial support for SICB. However, further cost-cutting and revenue-producing adjustments to the annual budget also will have to be considered carefully.

The pre-meeting figures in respect to abstract submittals indicate that the upcoming meeting in Orlando will be another success. Program Officer Kate Loudon and the DPOs have assembled an outstanding program. Each of us should encourage colleagues to attend, and more importantly, recruit new (and old) colleagues to become members of our unique society.