A Message from the Program Officer
The society's next Annual Meeting, to be held in Chicago in January of 2001, promises to be busy and maybe a bit hectic for DVM members, since we are sponsoring or co-sponsoring four of the 12 symposia:
1. "Molecules, muscles, and macroevolution: Integrative functional morphology," organized by Miriam Ashley-Ross, Alice Gibb and Lara Ferry-Graham.
2. "Motor control of vertebrate feeding: Function and evolution," organized by Michael Alfara and Anthony Herrel.
3. "Stability and maneuverability," organized by Frank Fish and Bob Full.
4. "Science, entertainment, and teaching: Bringing cutting edge biology to the public and teaching community," organized by Stuart Sumida and Elizabeth Rega.
In addition to these four, a number of other symposia will be of interest to many members of DVM (e.g., "Vibration as a communication channel,: DAB/DNB; "Starting with fins: Parallelism in the evolution of limbs and genitalia," DEDB; "Taking physiology to the field: Advances in investigating physiological function in free-living vertebrates," DCPB; "Ontogenetic strategies of invertebrates in aquatic environments," TCS/DIZ.)
The large number of symposia is exciting, but it will create scheduling conflicts. As a division we need to decide where to draw the line on the number of symposia. Kurt Schwenk has suggested that we adopt a policy of one DVM symposium a year with a competition among proposals. My own inclination is also to limit the number of symposia in order to reduce conflicts with the contributed paper sessions. I see the contributed paper sessions and poster sessions as the heart and soul of meeting. They are also the focus of presentations from the younger members of the society. Please send me your opinions on this (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In spite of the scheduling conflicts at our next Annual Meeting, we encourage you to consider organizing a symposium for the Anaheim meeting in January 2002. Now is the time to consider submitting a proposal. One proposal already is brewing and we are looking for additional suggestions. The official call for symposia proposals for the Anaheim meeting will happen sometime next month. Contact me directly if you have questions in the meantime. The second step in organizing a symposium is to contact the program officer of the division that you hope will act as sponsor. It is very important to do this in the early planning stages, before submission of the proposal, and to keep him/her in the loop throughout the process. Please note that the organizers are usually expected to apply for extramural funds to help support the symposium. At the same time, acceptance of the symposium for the meeting is not contingent upon whether or not the grant proposal is funded.
A suggestion for a future symposium, that I would like you to consider, is one focused on "controversy" in our field. It would have a point-counterpoint format. Two or more speakers would be selected to present alternative viewpoints. The focus would be on theory and available evidence. Each speaker would be given time to respond to the points raised by the other speaker. (A possible example is the controversy surrounding the configuration of cursorial limbs. There are studies that suggest limb configuration is not important to performance and other studies that suggest anatomy does make a difference.) A number of unrelated controversies could be included in the same symposium. This format would draw attention to important unanswered questions and would naturally emphasize what we don't understand rather than what we know. Please contact me if you have any topics that might fit into such a symposium.
John Pearse and Martin Feder have asked Paul Sereno to be the opening speaker at the Chicago meeting. Paul has accepted the offer. The plan is to have Paul talk the first evening and then have a society-wide social.
A Message from the Secretary
While Andy and Dave have covered some of the issues discussed during the division's business meeting, several others are worth bringing to your attention. First of all, Rick Harrison, editor of the Journal of Morphology, announced that the journal has changed its format to a larger page size with more color. In addition, he has gotten the publisher to agree to remove limits on the number of pages and on the number of illustrations. Furthermore, since each issue (not manuscript) is allotted 10 color pages free of charge, these are available to authors, depending on demand, who contact the editor prior to publication. Finally, Rick encouraged DVM members to act as reviewers for the journal; anyone who does so will receive a complimentary subscription for the year following the review. These are welcome changes in the journal's policies!
In his final report as program officer, Kurt Schwenk polled the membership on three programmatic issues from the Society:
1. Satisfaction with interdivisional paper sessions
2. The attraction of organizing interdivisional poster sessions
3. Satisfaction with electronic posting of the Annual Meeting's program listing and abstracts. While attending members voiced some concerns, the majority of members voted affirmative on all three issues.
In addition to the scheduling conflicts with symposia mentioned in Dave's message (above), Kurt also noted that another avenue for interdivisional symposia is the Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, which seeks to develop stronger ties with SICB. DVM members who would like more information should contact Blaire Van Valkenburgh.