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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 executives!

We hope everyone had a great time in San Antonio. The weather and food were great, and there was a terrific collection of animal behavior talks and posters. Behavior is a popular topic at SICB in many divisions, not just DAB. The business meeting/social was well attended and we plan to continue that format at future meetings.

Best Student Presentations

We again had a number of excellent presentations to evaluate in San Antonio. We extend many thanks to all of the judges who assessed the talks and posters. Among the many excellent presentations the following two students are recipients of this year's prizes:

Best Student Oral Presentation

Maren Vitousek, Princeton University, "Heterospecific alarm-call recognition in a non-vocal reptile"

Best Student Poster

Jennifer Curtis, University of Central Oklahoma, "Collared Lizards Decrease Testosterone Levels in Response to Staged Territorial Intrusions: A Test of the Challenge Hypothesis"

Congratulations Maren and Jennifer!

Student/ Postdoc Rep

Zach Stahlschmidt (zstahlsc@asu.edu), a PhD student in Life Sciences at Arizona State University, has been appointed as the new DAB representative on SICB's Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee for a term of 2008-2011. Thank you Zach!

Our Journal

Diana Hews, of Indiana State University, has been appointed the new DAB representative on the Integrative and Comparative Biology editorial board for 2008-2013. Thank you, Diana, for your service to the journal on our behalf.

Upcoming Meeting

We have a number of excellent symposia we will be supporting at the 2009 annual meeting in Boston. We hope that you will be able to participate in the Society-wide symposium entitled "Hormonal Regulation of Whole-Animal Performance: Implications for Selection." We would also like to encourage you to attend two regular symposia, entitled "Genomics and Vertebrate Adaptive Radiation: A Celebration of the First Cichlid Genome" and "Evolution of Mechanisms Controlling Timing of Breeding in Animals."

If you believe that there is an important and quickly-emerging topic in your particular area of expertise, we would encourage you to consider organizing a late-breaking symposium proposal. These are due on or before the abstract submission deadline. Currently, these symposia are treated the same as normal symposia, with the exception that decisions for approval and financial support will be contingent on the program committee's assessment of the impact and urgency of the proposed symposium topic. As with regular symposia, SICB financial support for late-breaking symposia WILL BE available if the organizer solicits outside support.

If you are considering submitting a proposal for a regular or Society-wide symposium in 2010, please remember that the deadline is in August 2008. Please contact Sarah Humfeld, the DAB Program Officer with any questions of if you would like assistance in developing the proposal.

Web site

Want to promote your research? Send divisional Secretary Scott MacDougal-Shackleton (smacdou2@uwo.ca) a jpeg of something cool from your research and a short paragraph describing it and we will add this to the SICB website database. These are the photos you see on the main SICB web page in the upper left-hand panel.

As well, please double check your membership information on the SICB web site. As people move some of the information may become outdated. It is very easy to change. Just click on your name in the divisional membership list and follow the instructions.


Channel some of your election fever from the U.S. Presidential election to SICB! DAB needs to elect a new secretary this year. Jordanna Sprayberry, a long-time active participant in the DAB, has expressed a strong interest in contributing to the division as secretary. Please show her your support by voting -and while you're at it, don't forget to vote in the Society-wide elections as well.

Have a great Spring and Summer!

DAB Election Candidates

Candidates for Secretary

Jordanna D. H. Sprayberry

Current Position*: Postdoctoral Research Associate, ARL Division of Neurobiology, University of Arizona

* as of 08/2008, Assistant Professor of Biology, Muhlenberg University

Education: B.S. Zoology at University of Rhode Island (1998), Ph. D. Biology at University of Washington (2005)

Professional Experience: Postdoctoral Research Fellow at U Arizonaís ARL Division of Neurobiology (2006-present), Instructor at Pima Community College (Spring 2008), Postdoctoral Research Associate at U Washingtonís Biology Department (2005-2006), Graduate Researcher at U Washingtonís Biology Department (1996-2005)

SICB Activities: Member since 2000, winner of DAB and DNB best student presentation awards in 2004 and 2005 respectively, DAB Student Presentation Judge for the 2006-2008 meetings

Research Interests: An animal's behavior can both define its role in an ecosystem and affect its fitness. There is an intrinsic link between the neural substrates of behavior and how relationships between organisms evolve. A universal principle regarding control of behavior is that sensory information is processed into some form of motor output and this output in turn produces the actual behavior. This is true for such simple behaviors as phototaxis by a bacterium, where transduction of photons triggers motor protein activity, and such complex behaviors as prey capture by bats where echolocation signals are processed to reveal prey location and an intercept course is executed. Much of my research has been devoted to trying to understand neural control of behavior, and how pollinator behavior might affect evolutionary relationships between pollinators and plants.

Goals Statement: SICB offers unparalleled opportunities for students to gain experience presenting information, both in the form of oral presentations and posters. The student competitions create an atmosphere that fosters a high quality of presentation work. I would look forward to continuing the current student poster and presentation competitions. In addition, if student members of DAB showed interest, I would like to organize an informal session on "What makes a good talk." The ability to communicate your research clearly is vital, and I would like to continue SICB's history of fostering these skills in students.

Link to officer list on DAB page