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Division of Animal Behavior (DAB): 2007 Spring Newsletter

Message from the Officers

Tom Hahn (Chair), Sarah Humfeld (Program Officer), and Scott MacDougall-Shackleton (Secretary)


Greetings from your DAB executive! We've had a change and your current DAB executive is now:

Chair: Tom Hahn

Program Officer: Sarah Humfeld

Secretary: Scott MacDougall-Shackleton

This year we need to vote for Program Officer and we have two excellent nominees. Please read the biographies below and take the time to vote. Thank you, Sarah and Peggy for agreeing to stand for election.

Best Student Presentations

At the 2007 meeting in Phoenix we announced the Best Student Presentations from the 2006 Orlando meeting. They were:

Jennifer Hylton (Best Student Oral) "Cryptic Plumage Dimorphism in Aphelocoma Scrub-Jays: Assessing Visible and Ultraviolet Reflectance Across Species and Subspecies"

Laura Macesic (Best Student Poster) "Morphometrics and behavioral function of the electric organs of Bancroft's numbfish, Narcine bancroftii"

Congratulations Jennifer and Laura! The judges were -as always- impressed by the consistently high quality of student presentations. We will announce the Best Student Presentations from the 2007 meeting in the Fall Newsletter, then make a presentation at the 2008 meeting San Antonio. Plan to attend the annual DAB business meeting/social.


The society is welcoming late-breaking and mini-symposia for San Antonio. If you would like to organize a smaller symposium but don't want to wait until the Boston meeting this is your chance! As always we welcome proposals for symposia and will work with you to see it successfully through.

Have a great spring and summer, and don't forget to vote!

~Tom, Sarah, and Scott.

DAB Election Candidates

Candidates for Program Officer

Peggy S. M. Hill

Current Position: Associate Professor of Biological Science, University of Tulsa, OK.

Education: B.S. in Education, University of Tulsa, 1975; B.S. in Natural Sciences, University of Tulsa, 1977; Ph.D. in Zoology, University of Oklahoma, 1996.

Professional Experience: Associate Professor of Biological Science, 2002-present, Assistant Professor of Biological Science, 1996-2002, Instructor of Biological Science, 1987-1996, University of Tulsa; Native American Studies Program, Committee Member, 1991-2003, Academic Advisor, 1994-2000, Associate Director, 1998-2003; Classroom Teacher, 1977-87, Booker T. Washington High School, Tulsa, Okla.

SICB Activities: Member since 1990; Annual Meeting Session Chair/Co-chair, 1997-1999, 2001, 2004, 2007; DAB Best Student Paper Judge, 1998-2001, 2003; Symposium Organizer, 2000, 2001; DAB Program Officer, 1998-2001; American Zoologist Reviewer. Other Memberships: Animal Behavior Society, International Society of Behavioral Ecologists, Sigma Xi, Society for Conservation Biology, Kansas Entomological Society, Orthopterists' Society.

Research Interests: I have been working with animal behavior in both honeybees (foraging ecology) and prairie mole crickets (airborne and vibrational communication), and my major long-term interest is in how animals use sensory cues to make choices in resource acquisition (foraging or reproduction). I have been working on a book, Vibrational Communication in Animals, for much of the two past years.

Goals Statement: My general goal as an SICB member is to help to promote the society as a leader in bringing focus to issues in integrative and comparative biology through our annual symposia. My parallel goals continue to include encouraging the participation of minorities and women in the work of SICB, areas where great gains have been made since I joined the Society.

Sarah Conditt Humfeld

Current Position: Post-Doctoral Fellow, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia

Education: B.S. (Biology), Trinity University, 1995; Ph.D. (Biology), University of Missouri-Columbia, 2003.

Professional Experience: 2004-05, Research Technician, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia;
2005-current, Postdoctoral Fellow, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia;

SICB Activities: Program Officer of DAB, 2005-2008

Other Memberships: Animal Behavior Society, International Society for Behavioral Ecology.

Research Interests: I am generally interested in acoustic communication and mating behavior in anuran amphibians. I continue to be interested in the mating system I studied for my dissertation (Hyla cinerea) and questions about alternative mating tactics in males. Additionally, I have recently expanded my interests in male phonotaxis, and begun studying the different behavioral contexts in which these acoustic preferences may be used by males. I am beginning to investigate the mechanistic explanation for the observation of condition dependent call characteristics in some species of treefrogs. Also, I am collaborating with Dr. Carl Gerhardt at the University of Missouri to investigate the evolution of signaling systems in the canyon treefrog.

Goals Statement: Since elected, I have learned a lot about how a program officer can help to make their division an intellectually stimulating enterprise! My goals fall along two main lines. First, DAB has not hosted a behavior symposium for several years. I will strive to facilitate the partnerships that are necessary to generate and host great symposium over the next few years. This is a commitment that I have made regardless if I am re-elected P.O. Secondly, I will work to reinvigorate the formal and personal ties that used to exist between DAB and the Animal Behavior Society. I believe that these two organizations are complementary in their mission and can benefit from interacting with each other. I am especially interested in educating student members of ABS about the opportunities to participate in SICB.

Website for additional information:


Link to officer list on DAB page