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Division of Evolutionary Developmental Biology (DEDB): 2002 Spring Newsletter

In this newsletter:

Message from the Chair

Günter Wagner

Ken Halanych, our secretary, advised me to be brief. And right he is, who wants to read more than three lines from a society officer? Here are my items:

  • Membership: whatever the division can do for you scales with the size of membership. We currently have about 215 members, which is way below the number of DevoEvo researchers. Please encourage your friends and colleagues who are in the field to become members of the Division for Evolutionary Developmental Biology and of SICB, if they are not already society members. Tell them that SICB has substantially reduced member fees.

  • Student Membership: this is a continuation of the previous point but sufficiently important to warrant a different item. SICB offers substantial benefits to its student members. There are amble opportunities for graduate students to present their work in oral presentations and to win prizes for out standing contributions. Also the fellowships for attending the annual meetings are a considerable. So please encourage your students, if your faculty, or your friends, if you are a student, to join SICB and DEDB to make this division a more exciting place.

  • Elections: during this year we will elect the next chair of the Division. I am grateful that two outstanding members of our community have agreed to be nominated: Paula Mabee and Brian Hall. Please look for their statements in this Spring Newsletter. I also want to thank the members of this year's nomination committee, Mark Martindale (chair), Patricia Hernandez and Ken Halanych for serving on that committee. Please show your support for the division by participating in this election.

  • International Prize for Devo Evo: the Saint Petersburg Society of Naturalists has re-activated a long dormant international prize for Evolutionary Embryology: the Alexander Kowalevsky Medal. To my knowledge this is currently the only international prize in our discipline. Three of our division members are among the first set of recipients: Gary Freeman, Brian Hall and Rudy Raff. Please join me in congratulating them for this recognition of their achievements.

  • Division activities: this is your division, please help us serve you better by sharing your ideas. Would you like to see us organize discussions and workshops on topical DevoEvo issues? Please send me your suggestions to gunter.wagner@yale.edu with the keyword DEDB Activities. Thank you!

  • Molecular and Developmental Evolution is now available to SICB members at a discount price for personal subscription. This will make MDE the second DevoEvo journal affiliated with SICB. You will receive a communication with the details of this arrangement from the publisher soon.

Last but not least I want to thank the outgoing officers of DEDB, Rudy Raff, chair, Mark Martindale, program officer, and Patricia Hernandez, student representative for helping the division to a terrific start. It is my ambition to come close to what this group did for our division. Please join me in thanking them for their exemplary service.

Message from the Program Officer

Eduardo Rosa-Molinar

Saludos! The results of the "Best Student Paper Competition" in the Division of Evolutionary Developmental Biology (DEDB) from the recent 2002 SICB meeting in Anaheim California are in. Although there were many excellent presentations, for the second straight year the Program Committee found itself deadlocked on two outstanding presentations. These were from:

Kaplan, P. from the University of Michigan entitled:
"Ontogenetic and evolutionary dynamics of shape disparity in the trilobite arthropod Phacops"

Crotwell, P.L., and Mabee, P.M. from the University of South Dakota entitled:
"Gdf5 expression in late-stage Zebrafish, Danio rerio median fins."

These two winners demonstrate the expertise and breadth of topics that the DEDB represents. Congratulations to these winners for their work and many thanks to the judges for taking time to evaluate the presentations.

For the 2003 SICB meeting in Toronto, it appears that DEDB will be co-sponsoring Francesco Santini's symposium entitled: "Patterns and Process in the Evolution of Fishes." Keep checking the SICB website and DEDB newsletter for updates regarding the finalized list of symposia that DEDB will sponsor and/or co-sponsor.

In Anaheim, the "New perspectives on the origin of metazoan complexity" organized by Ruth Ann Dewel, James G. Gehling, and Julian P. S. Smith III; "The Cambrian explosion: Putting the pieces together", organized by Graham Budd and Kevin Peterson, and the "Ecological developmental biology" ("Eco-Devo") organized by Scott F. Gilbert and Jessica Bolker were all well attended and provided stimulating discussion. I congratulate the organizers and all speakers.

It is time to begin planning new symposia for the 2004 SICB meeting in New Orleans. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss future symposia. Encourage your graduate students and colleagues to join SICB and the DEDB and keep sending your original research papers and symposia to Evolution and Development (Blackwell Science, Inc.) and The Journal of Experimental Zoology (Molecular and Developmental Evolution) (Wiley-Liss, Inc.). Both journals are sponsored by SICB for DEDB. I would like to thank Mark Q. Martindale for his time and effort in his position as DEDB's program officer. I have some big shoes to fill and I hope that all of you will bear with me while I am learning the ropes. Saludos!

Message from the Student/Postdoc Representative

Brad Davidson

Hello everyone. Another excellent meeting this year! As your new representative I am interested in soliciting ideas for how to improve future meetings and in particular the resources available for grad students and post-docs. Marcus Davis and I met after the business meeting and came up with a few ways to improve grad student/postdoc resources...

  1. Come up with an official tally of grad student/post-doc members in the division and develop ways of increasing enrollment.
  2. Plan for a grad student/postdoc social.
  3. Coordinate small informal group or one-one meetings between professors and grad students/post-docs interested in their research. These meetings would occur next year at the Toronto meeting. (Professors would reserve "office hours" during meeting, and post hours on the meeting site.)
  4. Publish a searchable database of evo-devo professors, students and post-docs including contact information and research interests.

I hope some of these ideas sound useful, please send me (bjd@u.washington.edu) your feedback and suggestions and I will try to implement those ideas which seem to have the broadest appeal.

Message from the Secretary

Ken Halanych

Greetings all. I just have a few topics that I want to mention. First, biographical sketches for the two President-elect candidates (Brian Hall and Paula Mabee) are below. Please take the time to read over these before your vote (which will occur well be for the annual meeting this year).

The second topic concerns archiving divisional information. The officers are making a concerted effort to organize meeting notes, bylaws, and division-related information. This information will be placed on a secure page off of the divisional webpage. These measures are being taken to provide some "corporate memory" for the division that will make life easier for future officers.

Last, we are still looking to beef up the divisional webpage. If you have ideas please send them to me (khalanych@whoi.edu). The division also provides a valuable resource for mailing out evo-devo information (e.g., symposia announcements, job announcements, etc.). If you need to reach the division membership, feel free to contact me.

Elections: Candidates for President-Elect

Brian K. Hall

Current Position: George S. Campbell Professor of Biology and Professor of Biology, Dept. Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS Canada B3H 4J1

Education: University of New England, Armidale, NSW Australia, B.Sc. (1963), B. Sc. (Hons) 1965, Ph.D. 1969 (zoology), D.Sc. 1977 (Biological Sciences)

Professional Experience: George S. Campbell Professor, Biology, Dalhousie University 2001-2007; Killam Faculty of Science Professor, ibid 1996-2001; Killam Research Professor, ibid 1990-1995; Professor of Biology 1975-; Associate Professor of Biology 1972-1975; Assistanht Professor of Biology 1968-1972

SICB Activities: Symposium co-organizer (with Lennart Olsson), "Developmental and Evolutionary Perspectives on Major Transformations in Body Organization" (Boston, 1998); International Guest at Centennary Meeting of SICB in Boston.

Other society activities: (selected) Member of Intern. Board of Directors, Int. Soc. Differentiation (1998-2002), Member of nominating committee and past member of scientific committees, Int. Congress Vertebrate Morphology; Member Canadian National Committee of Inter. Union of Biological Sciences; Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1985), Honorary member, St. Petersburg Soc. of Naturalists 2001

Research Interests: The development and evolution of neural crest-derived skeletal tissues; how mechanical influences modulate differentiation of skeletal cells; fundamental underpinnings of evo-devo - through review synthesis; the analysis of homology; the phylogeny and development of invertebrate cartilages; intersections between evo-devo and palaeontology.

Goals Statement: To consolidate the tremendous advances made in the first years of the division by seeking further integration of evo-devo with ecological and palaeontological approaches. To promote student membership in the division. To work toward high-level and high-profile publication of divisional symposia. To ensure integration of the activities of this new division with more well established SICB divisions.

Paula Mabee

Current Position: Professor, Department of Biology, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD.

Education: NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, 1991, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia; Postdoctoral Fellow, 1989, Smithsonian Institution, Ichthyology; Ph.D. 1987, Zoology, Duke University, Durham NC; B.A. 1981, Biology, Religion, St. Olaf Collage, MN.

Professional Experience: University of South Dakota, Professor, August 2001 - ; University of South Dakota, Associate Professor, August 1997 - August 2001; San Diego State University, Associate Professor, August 1995 - May 1997; San Diego State University, Assistant Professor, January 1991 - August 1995.

SICB Activities: Past-chair, Division of Systematic Zoologists (2000 - 2001); Chair, Division of Systematic Zoologists (1998 - 2000); Chair-elect, Division of Systematic Zoologists (1997 - 1998); Educational workshop "Phylogenetics for Dummies" organizer (Atlanta, 2000); Symposium co-organizer (Atlanta, 2000); Divisional representative for Systematic Zoology for Education Committee; Editorial Board; Nomination for Member at Large.

Other memberships: American Association for the Advancement of Science; American Institute of Biological Sciences; American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists; Association of Systematics Collections; Sigma Xi; Society for Developmental Biology; Society of Systematic Biologists.

Research Interests: Evolution and development of the fish skeleton; patterning of median and paired fins; phylogeny of fishes.

Goals Statement: As Chair of DEDB, I would search for every opportunity within SICB to advance the intellectual synthesis of evolutionary and developmental biology. I would encourage the development of symposia and other gatherings in which contributions are solicited from the diverse fields pertaining to devo/evo that are already represented in the divisions of SICB (e.g. paleontology, phylogenetics, morphology, ecology, functional morphology, and molecular gene regulation).

Link to officer list on DEDB page