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Division of Evolutionary Developmental Biology (DEDB): 2008 Spring Newsletter

In this newsletter:

Message from the Chair

Linda Holland

Yes, it is spring in San Diego. The desert flowers should provide a good show this year. There's been plenty of rain, and a lot seeds that require a good scorching will be sprouting in the burned areas.

It was good to see many of you in San Antonio in January. Evo-devo is clearly very much alive. The symposia sponsored by the DEDB, "Vertebrate head segmentation in a modern evo-devo context" co-chaired by Shigeru Kuratani and Thomas Schilling and "Reptile Genomics and Evolutionary Genetics" co-chaired by Dan Janes and Chris Organ were very well-attended as was the related contributed paper session-Session 31 -"Vertebrate head segmentation-heads to legs", chaired by Billie Swalla. There were also some excellent development-related sessions-- No. 20: Evolution-Genetics and Development co-chaired by Annalise Nawrocki and Mihaela Pavliacev, No. 34: "Development-differentiation and morphogenesis," chaired by Jackie Webb, Nos. 45 and 46: "Evolution-evo-devo-appendages," chaired by Marcus Davis and Kathryn Kavanagh respectively, No. 56: " Development-evo-devo-metamorphosis" chaired by Tobias Landberg. No. 69: "Evo-devo-morphology" chaired by Gunter Wagner and No. 70: "Evolution-invertebrates: larval development" chaired by Ariel Chipman. I sincerely thank all the session chairs and all of the speakers for making evo-devo a major part of the SICB.

The poster sessions were as usual well attended. There were 19 posters in the evo-devo poster session and another two in the poster session related to the Vertebrate Head Segmentation symposium. The winners of the student poster and talk awards were, respectively, Nathan Bird, George Washington University and Pierre Le Pabic, East Carolina University. Their abstracts are posted on the SICB website. I encourage students to sign up for the competition for the meeting in Boston in January 2009. It would be great to have 5 or 6 students giving talks and twice as many presenting posters. One of the big advantages of the SICB meetings is that is an opportunity for students to hone their skills in presenting their work-highly advantageous for giving a good postdoc interview.

The San Antonio meeting saw the splitting of the DEDB and DCDB divisions with my taking over from Billie Swalla as chair of the former and Karen Crawford as chair of the latter. Elaine Seaver is secretary-elect, and will take over from Marcus Davis in 2009. Paulyn Cartwright is the DEDB representative on the editorial board of Integrative and Comparative Biology. This year, DEDB will be electing a chair to take over from me in 2010, and a program officer to take over from Wendy Olson in 2010. Although elections for most divisions will be held in the spring, this year those for DEDB will be held in the fall. Candidates will be announced in the Fall Newsletter. Since I only took over from Billie Swalla as chair of DEDB after the San Antonio meeting, the delay will give me and the secretary, Marcus Davis, time to establish a nominating committee and give the nominating committee time to solicit people to run for these offices. If you would be willing to serve on the nominating committee (or run for Chair or Program Officer) please let either me or Marcus know. I encourage everyone to vote!

The major cloud over devo-evo is the financial situation at NSF. Chris Amemiya, the program manager of developmental systems, tells me that money is very tight this year. By the way, he is due to step down in June and is looking for a replacement. If you are interested, please contact him at camemiya@nsf.gov.

Now is an excellent time to think about organizing a symposium for the 2010 meeting. The two cities under consideration are Long Beach, CA and Seattle, WA.

I hope to see you all in Boston in January, 2009 at the Westin Waterfront Hotel. In spite of its name, the hotel is not directly on the water, but it is within walking distance of the New England Aquarium, which is well worth a visit.

At this point, Billie Swalla would have included a plug for the Evo-devo class at Friday Harbor, WA this summer. I recommend it highly. It takes advantage of the wealth of embryos available in the summer off San Juan Island. I also recommend the summer developmental biology class at Woods Hole. The latter is more oriented towards the latest techniques in developmental biology and uses a wide range of "model" and "non-model" organisms. Both classes provide the camaraderie that lasts throughout a career in evo-devo.

Message from the Program Officer

Wendy M. Olson

Greetings from Iowa (which is currently having the snowiest winter on record).

The San Antonio meeting was a blast, despite all the construction. DEDB/DDCB was the main supporter of two symposia: "Reptile Genomics and Evolutionary Genetics" (organized by Dan Janes & Chris Organ) and "Vertebrate Head Segmentation in a Modern Evo-Devo Context" (organized by Shigeru Kuratani & Thomas Schilling), plus a slew of sessions as noted above. We also supported "Conservation of Maternally-derived Yolk Hormones for Offspring: Current Status" (DDCB) and "Evolution vs. Creationism in the Classroom: Evolving Student Attitudes" (DEDB). All were successful - many thanks to the organizers and presenters!

There were two BSP winners from DEDB. Best Oral Presentation went to Pierre Le Pabic ("Evolutionary divergence of pharyngeal arch specification in teleosts"); Best Poster Presentation went to Nathan Bird ("Differential growth and the evolution of novel vertebral morphology: lessons from the cypriniform Weberian apparatus"). Congratulations, Pierre and Nathan, and a big thank you once again to everyone who volunteered to serve as judge.

At the business meeting, we discussed changing the wording for the BSP competition, such that students no longer must be single-authors to be eligible. I suspect we will have to vote on this, so watch your email. We also discussed continuing issues surrounding keywords and their role in sorting abstracts. I will send out some recommendations prior to the 2009 abstract deadline, to try to ensure that as many EDB abstracts as possible are directed to me. Keep in mind that with the split, Scott Gilbert is the current program officer for DDCB. For those of you with interests in both camps (which I suspect is many if not most of you), be sure to read the DDCB newsletter, as well as this one!

DEDB is currently supporting one symposium for the Boston 2009 meeting, "Cell-cell signaling drives the evolution of complex traits," organized by John Torday. All the 2009 symposia are up on the meeting page, so take a look. And we always need to be thinking ahead. Please send me your ideas for symposia for 2010 - something fascinating, integrative, and /or pushing the boundaries of EDB. These meetings are good platforms for promoting new ideas, discussing old ones in a new light, etc. Some argue that EDB is generating tons of data with very little explanatory synthesis or mechanism. Prove these people wrong. Feel free to contact me (wendy.olson@uni.edu) with proposals or ideas at any stage of gestation - I am happy to help you flesh them out or just act as a sounding board.

In the meantime, Happy Spring! (should the snow ever actually melt...)

Message from the Secretary

Marcus C. Davis

Greetings from the rather parched Deep South,

San Antonio was a great meeting and I enjoyed seeing all my colleagues and friends. With so many interesting Evo-devo symposia and related sessions... well, I ended the meeting with holes in my shoes! Thanks to everyone who attended our business meeting and social. As mentioned by Linda (officer elections), Wendy (BSP rules) and in the minutes (by-laws edits) there will be a number of items up for vote in Fall 2008. So don't forget to vote! It's your division, thanks for playing an active role!

Minutes of the January 2008 Business Meeting

Message from the Student/Postdoc Representative

Becky Shearman

Hello fellow DEDB graduate students and post-docs!

If you haven't already heard, Nathan Bird has stepped down as DEDB's graduate student/post-doc representative. Many thanks to Nathan for several years of great service. For those of you who don't know me, I graduated from the University of Chicago almost two years ago and am currently a post-doc at Wesleyan University in Annie Burke's lab. As the new graduate student/post-doc representative, I look forward to getting to know all of you and want you to feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have about DEDB or SICB in general. I hope everyone enjoyed the San Antonio meeting and found the grant writing workshop informative.

Cheers from Connecticut. I will see you in Boston.

Link to officer list on DEDB page