[Back to Meeting 2003]

The topic of the symposium will be the mechanisms by which organisms develop multiple phenotypes from single genotypes. The genetics and possible adaptivity of plasticity have been recent topics of interest. The physiology underlying plasticity, in contrast, has received less attention, despite the fact that this level of organization might reveal more general patterns. The symposium would include talks both on the physiology of plastic phases (probably adaptive) and the physiology of canalized phases (probably contraining adaptation). Talks that demonstrate the mechanisms by which organisms switch from plastic to canalized development are of the greatest interest, because they reveal crucial switch-points in organismal development.

This symposium is the same as the DCE Symposium "Mechanisms Underlying Life-History Transitions" listed in the SICB Call for Abstracts (i.e., the name of the symposium has been changed). The associated mini-symposium for graduate students, post-docs, and others is called "physiology of plasticity."

Symposium program: Speakers are confirmed; titles are subject to change.

8:30 John Hatle (Illinois State University) - opening remarks

8:40 H. Fred Nijhout (Duke University) - The development and evolution of adaptive polyphenisms. www.biology.duke.edu/research_by_area/eeob/nijhout.html

9:20 Anthony Zera (University of Nebraska) - Regulation of wing polymorphism by juvenile hormone: state of the art and new perspectives. www.biosci.unl.edu/faculty/zera.asp

10:00 Coffee break

10:20 John Hatle, Steven Juliano, and David Borst (Illinois State University) - Plasticity of control of reproductive tactics in lubber grasshoppers. www.bio.ilstu.edu/hatle; www.bio.ilstu.edu/juliano/juliano.htm; www.bio.ilstu.edu/borst

11:00 Douglas Emlen (University of Montana) - Development of polyphenic beetle horns is controlled by hormones. biology.dbs.umt.edu/dbs/emlen.htm

11:40 Lunch

1:00 Diana Wheeler (University of Arizona) - Molecular biology of caste determination in ants. w3.arizona.edu/~insects/facultyfiles/wheeler.html

1:40 Stephan Schoech (University of Memphis) - Mechanisms underlying behavioral plasticity in cooperatively breeding birds. www.people.memphis.edu/~biology/sschoech.html

2:20 Robert Denver (University of Michigan) - Metamorphosis in desert toads in response to dessication. www.mcdb.lsa.umich.edu/faculty/rdenver/bio-rdenver.html

3:00 Coffee break

3:20 Rosemary Knapp (University of Oklahoma) - Roles of hormones in sexual morphology in fish. www.ou.edu/cas/zoology/faculty/Knapp.htm

4:00 David Crews (University of Texas) - Physiology of temperature dependent sex determination in reptiles. www.utexas.edu/research/crewslab

4:40 John Hatle (Illinois State University) - concluding remarks

Graduate student and Post-doc travel award competition

Because of the support of the National Science Foundation (application in process), the organizers of this symposium are pleased to announce that we we are able to offer as many as five awards of up to $300 in support of travel to the 2003 SICB meeting. Competition for the awards is open to graduate students and postdocs who are members of SICB and who submit abstracts of presentations for the meeting. Winners will be selected primarily on the basis of the quality of the research to be presented and its correspondence to the themes of the symposium, and secondarily on their scientific records and financial need. In return, winners will be required to present their research in a mini-symposium associated with the main Physiology of Plasticity symposium. Students may also be eligible for housing or waived registration fees from SICB for volunteering to help during the meeting (see Student Support Program).

Apply for an award

First, submit an abstract for a presentation on a topic related to the physiology of phenotypic plasticity via the normal protocol for abstract submittal at www.sicb.org. In addition, indicate under Topic of Sessions that you would like to participate in the session associated with the Mechanisms Underlying Life-History Transitions symposium. Deadline for abstract submissions is 06 September 2002.
Second, complete an application package for the award competition,
  1. the abstract for your SICB talk;
  2. a completed application form (click here to download form in MS Word format);
  3. a curriculum vitae/resume; and
  4. a (maximum one page) letter from your advisor, verifying your status as a student or post-doc, discussing your need for financial support, and commenting on your scientific qualifications.
Mail application packages to:
John Hatle
Physiology of Plasticity Symposium Award Competition
Illinois State University
Department of Biological Sciences
Normal, IL 61790-4120
Deadline for receiving application packages is 20 September 2002. Award notifications will be made on approximately 25 October 2002. Award winners will be reimbursed for their travel expenses to SICB, up to $300. Please save your receipts and present them to John Hatle at the meeting. I hope to be able to reimburse winners shortly after the meeting.

For more information, contact John Hatle: 309-438-3085; jhatle@ilstu.edu; FAX 309-438-3722.

Information on the participants

Fred Nijhout is a Professor of Biology at Duke University. He has made major contributions to our understanding of insect physiology, particularly metamorphosis and wing development in Lepidoptera. He is the author of the book Insect Hormones. Over the years, his work on polyphenic development has included butterfly wing patterns, beetle horns, and caste determination in ants. In fact, two of his former students (Emlen and Wheeler) are included in this symposium.

Anthony Zera is an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a past recipient of the young investigator prize of the Society for the Study of Evolution. He uses crickets that exhibit dispersal (i.e., wing) polymorphism as his experimental system. Zera is particularly interested in the evolution of the mechanisms that control this polyphenic development.

John Hatle is a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Biological Sciences at Illinois State University. As a graduate student, he received an NSF dissertation improvement award for "Inter-individual variation in grasshopper defensive secretion: implications for defense and mate acquisition." As a post-doc, he has studied the endocrinology of plastic and canalized phases of grasshopper egg production.

Douglas Emlen is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Biology at the University of Montana. He has recently received an NSF-CAREER award and published a paper in Science (see Literature Cited). He has shown that juvenile hormone is involved in the development of beetle horn polyphenisms, and that a cost of large horns is smaller eyes and other limbs.

Diana Wheeler is Professor of Entomology and Chair of the Interdisciplinary Program of Insect Science at the University of Arizona. Her work is on the physiological basis of caste determination in ants. Her recent research is on gene expression in caste determination, which may be the only molecular biology presented during the symposium.

Stephen Schoech is an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at The University of Memphis. He uses a broad battery of methods to investigate environmental influences on the initiation of reproduction in birds. His work has appeared as a popular article on the physiological mechanism(s) by which birds become helpers-at-the-nest, instead of mothers.

Robert Denver is an Associate Professor of Developmental Neuroendocrinology at the University of Michigan. He has shown that the development of desert toads from aquatic tadpoles to terrestrial adults is accelerated by habitat drying. Importantly, he has further shown that this inducible metamorphosis is controlled by stress hormones, specifically corticotropin-releasing hormone.

Rosemary Knapp is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma. She has investigated the role of steroid hormones in the expression of male phenotypes in tree lizards. More recently, she is studying endocrine bases of alternative male reproductive phenotypes in fishes. Her early work was on caterpillar thermoregulation.

David Crews is Ashbel Smith Professor of Zoology and Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has published over 250 scientific articles. He helped discover temperature dependent sex determination in reptiles, and since that discovery, has worked out the mechanisms controlling sex determination. In addition, he has also investigated environmental effects on the plasticity of reproduction.