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Committee Reports
2000 SICB
Annual Meeting

Newsletters by Division:
Animal Behavior
Comparative Endocrinology
Comparative Physiology & Biochemistry
Developmental & Cell Biology
Ecology & Evolution
Evolutionary Developmental Biology
Integrative & Comparative Issues
Invertebrate Zoology
Systematic and Evolutionary Biology
Vertebrate Morphology

Division of Animal Behavior (DAB): 1999 Fall Newsletter

This Newsletter by Section

Message from the Secretary

Peter Smallwood

This year's SICB Annual meeting in Atlanta January 4-8, 2000 promises to be superb, in terms of both the symposia and the contributed papers. Of particular interest to DAB are the coordinated symposia on plant-animal interactions. These are society-wide symposia, with interesting formats. One symposium is entitled "Terrestrial Plant-Animal Interactions" and has been organized by May Berenbaum and myself, while the other is entitled "Marine Plant-Animal Interactions" and has been organized by Dianna Padilla and Kathy Van Alstyne. What makes these symposia special is the way they are coordinated. Although they are two, separately organized symposia, we have scheduled alternating sessions, so that marine and terrestrial speakers will have an opportunity to hear each other present. The speakers of this symposium include well-established contributors to the field, as well as several new "hot shots." The symposia have also drawn a number of contributed papers and posters. There will be a small party for the speakers of these symposia, which will then open up into a larger social for all of SICB.

This year's meeting is particularly good for members of DAB, due to the number of symposia of interest to those who study behavior. In addition to the plant-animal interactions symposia, the following topics will be covered:

  • Intermittent Locomotion: Integrating Physiology, Biomechanics and Behavior of Repeated Activity
  • Beyond Reconstruction: Using Phylogenies to Test Evolutionary Hypotheses About Vertebrate Evolution
  • Swimming in Opisthobranch of Mollusks: Contributions to Control of Motor Behavior
Several other symposia of broad interest to those of us interested in the ecology, evolution, development and control of behavior will be offered.

I invite all of you to attend our business meeting, where we will discuss future symposia, society-wide business, initiatives DAB might pursue and ways to facilitate interactions between DAB and our sister divisions. Watch the Web site for this year's program of events for the Atlanta meeting.

Future Symposia
I have had several inquiries from within DAB and from non-SICB members about topics for future symposia. Several symposia ideas are quite intriguing. DAB's own program officer, Peggy Hill is developing a symposium on "Vibrations as a Communication Channel." While the proposal has not yet made its way completely through the approval process, it is proceeding quite well, and I expect that we will see this symposium in the near future. One of the things I find particularly fascinating about Peggy's symposium is the breadth of the topic. One might regard vibrations as a rather narrow area of concern, but a huge array of animals use vibrations for communication, from the smallest invertebrates to the largest vertebrates. The functions of these vibrations span from signaling, to foraging and from bringing conspecifics together, to keeping them apart in territorial defense. SICB is precisely the place for such a broad, interdisciplinary exploration of a topic.

The DAB officers encourage you to propose and organize a symposium of your own. Topics that can be approached from a variety of biological disciplines are particularly encouraged. While there is a certain amount of work to be done by the symposium organizer, we are willing to help. I have found the experience of organizing symposia rewarding, both intellectually and in terms of my career. If you have an idea for a symposium, please contact our program officer, Peggy Hill, our chair, Steve Nowicki, or me; our e-mails are in the sidebar to this message, and we'll be at the Atlanta meetings.

DAB Officers
I have served as secretary for DAB for two terms, and my current term expires shortly. If you have any interest in serving as an officer for DAB, the secretary's position is a good place to start. Contact me by e-mail or at the meeting. We will recruit nominees at the meeting in Atlanta, and the election will be held by mail ballot in the spring newsletter.

Opportunities for Graduate Students

Support for Meeting Attendance:If you are a graduate student or have graduate students attending the Atlanta meetings, make sure they are aware of the Student Support Program. In past years, SICB has been able to provide a room (shared) or waive registration for almost all students requesting such aid. In return, the student serves for a day and a half as a room monitor, slide projectionist or registration assistant. If you or your student did not check the box for Student Support on the abstract transmittal form, contact the SICB business office for more information and application materials.

Grants-in-aid of Research: SICB has instituted a program of awards to support graduate student research. For more details and application materials, send in the postcard included in this issue of the newsletter.

Best Student Paper Awards! The DAB offers an award for the Best Student Poster, and two different awards for best student oral presentations -- the Best Student Paper Award and A.M. Wenner Strong Inference Award (for the paper best exemplifying the use of strong inference in their experimental design). These are actually two separate awards (each with its own cash prize) that are most often given to separate papers.

All graduate students are encouraged to compete for these awards at the Atlanta meetings. To be eligible for the DAB student paper awards, the applicant must be a member of SICB and our division. The student must indicate their intention to compete on the abstract transmittal form. Eligible papers must be original research by a graduate student or a Ph.D. whose degree was awarded no more than one year prior to the time of the meeting.

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