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Division of Invertebrate Zoology (DIZ): 2003 Fall Newsletter

In this newsletter:

Message from the Chair

Thomas Wolcott

I hope that all of you had a summer that was productive, or pleasant, or both, and that you're looking forward to exciting meetings in New Orleans after the turn of the year. I recognize that travel may be more difficult in these times of floundering economies (Isabel came as quite a blow to ours), but hope that you too feel the SICB meetings are worth the investment. Given all the recent news of flooding in eastern NC, some of you may be concerned that we'll be meeting below sea level in New Orleans. Let me reassure you: the clout of the DIZ Chair's office is such that I've been able to extract a firm commitment from the meteorologists: "No hurricane landfalls during the SICB meetings."

Relieved of the hurricane threat, we'll be able to turn our attention to the panoply of contributed paper and poster sessions, as well as the traditional smorgasbord of cutting-edge symposia. In that context, I'm delighted to report that DIZ Program Officer Penny Barnes has been peppered with proposals for future symposia. Let me emphasize that these are not dregs extracted by inverting the barrel and beating on the bottom; these are really interesting topics volunteered by the membership. We will have the luxury, and the agony, of deciding which of them we are able to sponsor at upcoming meetings.

In New Orleans we are doing not shabbily at all. DIZ is sponsoring or co-sponsoring three:
  • Model Systems for the Basal Metazoa: Cnidarians, Ctenophores, and Placozoans (Organized by Neil Blackstone)

  • Sponges: New Views of Old Animals (Organized by Scott Anthony Nichols and Gert Woerheide)

  • EcoPhysiology and Conservation: The Contribution of Endocrinology and Immunology (co-sponsored with DCE/DDCB/Crustacean Society; Organized by Robert Stevenson and Shea R. Tuberty)

These are in addition to the two society side symposia:
  • Integrative Biology: A Symposium Honoring George A. Bartholomew (Organized by Raymond B. Huey and Gretchen E. Hofmann)

  • In Vino Veritas: The Comparative Biology of Ethanol Consumption (Organized by Robert Dudley and Michael Dickinson)
Truly, a feast for the mind!

Another not-to-be-missed facet of the New Orleans meetings will be our joint DIZ/AMS/DEE/TCS social. The DIZ executive committee has had very positive feedback about our previous joint socials and the opportunities they presented for meeting and networking with new sets of folks sharing invertebrate interests. Our thought is to have a joint social with one such "outside" group at each meeting. At New Orleans, though, we decided "The more the merrier!" This is because Past-Chair Rachel Merz, bless her, has instigated an auction to augment the Libbie Hyman Awards endowment (see her message elsewhere in this Newsletter). It promises to be a riotous time, so please plan on dreaming up/dredging up priceless objets d'invertebres to put on the block, and on coming to join in the fun!

Finally, a revisitation of a spring newsletter item. As you may recall, I asked for suggestions of ways to increase the frequency and effectiveness with which invertebrate models are used in teaching biology. One proposal was to assemble a set of exercises that would use invertebrates to teach important biological principles, with versions appropriate for levels from K-12 up through college. Such a thing might not only expose more students to more invertebrates and disabuse them of the notion that "the vertebrate way is the only way", but allow teachers in cash-strapped systems to do things on the cheap. For instance, many inland students think all blood is red, partly because most big hemocyanin users are marine--but nice quantities of HCy can also be drawn from plain old garden snails.

I'm pleased to report that the spring blurb elicited two enthusiastic "attaboys", but less thrilled to report that that's all it elicited. What's needed is several people who say not only "This is a cool idea that someone ought to follow up", but "OK, here's a draft of an exercise that I've used or thought about using..." Just in case the spring blurb hit just before the summer doldrums (hah! as though we weren't busier than ever!), here's the final call. Absent contributors of the second sort, the proposal will quietly join the fossil record.

Perhaps we can talk of this, and other ideas for DIZ's role, over in New Orleans. See you there!

Message from the Program Officer

Penelope Barnes

At the late September meeting of the SICB and Divisional Program Officers, over 1100 abstracts were scheduled for the upcoming meeting in New Orleans! This represents a significant increase over the 780 abstracts that were submitted for the Toronto meeting and the 916 abstracts submitted for the Anaheim meeting. The Division of Invertebrate Zoology will be well represented at the New Orleans meeting, as per usual. Also, DIZ is sponsoring three symposia in New Orleans. Neil Blackstone has organized an exciting list of speakers for his Model Systems for the Basal Metazoans: Cnidarians, Ctenophores, and Placozoans symposium scheduled for the mornings of January 6th and 7th. Click on the title and check out the informative web page for this symposium! Another DIZ symposium, Sponges: New Views of Old Animals, is scheduled for the mornings of January 8th and 9th and brings together many of the world's leading sponge biologists. Click on the title for a list of scheduled speakers (and to view some spectacular sponge photos!). In addition, DIZ is pleased to join DCE, DDCB, National Science Foundation, and The Crustacean Society, as co-sponsor of EcoPhysiology and Conservation: The Contribution of Endocrinology and Immunology, a symposium organized by Robert Stevenson, Shea Tuberty , John Wingfield and Peter deFur. This symposium is scheduled for the afternoon of January 6th and all day on January 7th. Again, click on the symposium title to view the list of speakers for this important symposium.

At the last SICB meeting, as you all know, the traditional DIZ/AMS social was expanded to include DEE. The social received great reviews from all and so, building on the success of last year's event, our social in New Orleans has been expanded further to include The Crustacean Society! The upcoming social should prove to be a "don't miss" event for a second reason: Rachel Merz is organizing an auction in support of the Libbie Hyman Awards endowment. The preliminary list of items to be auctioned (ranging from handmade silver jewelry to books) suggests that we will see some competitive bidding in support of this worthy cause! The DIZ/AMS/DEE/TCS social is scheduled for the night of January 7th (Wednesday) from 6:30 to 8 pm (check the meeting program to confirm).

More good news - DIZ will be well represented with symposia, again, at the San Diego meeting in January 2005! DIZ will join with DEE to sponsor a symposium, organized by Ben Miner and Diana Padilla, entitled "Memorial to Larry McEdward: Life History, Ecology and Evolution of Marine Invertebrates". In addition, DIZ, with DAB and DEE, will be sponsoring Janet Leonard's symposium, "Mating systems and sexual selection in hermaphrodites". Ken Halanych's "WormNet: Recent advances in Annelid systematics, development and evolution" will be co-sponsored by DIZ. Nigel Hughes' symposium entitled "Terminal addition, segmentation, and the evolution of metazoan body plan regionalization", of which DIZ is a co-sponsor, has been accepted as a society-wide symposium for the San Diego meeting. There is also the possibility that DIZ may assist in co-sponsoring Peter Alpert's and Jim Clegg's society-wide symposium entitled "Desiccation tolerance in animals, microbes and plants: comparative mechanisms and evolution" and the American Microscopical Society's symposium, provisionally entitled "The New Microscopy: Toward a Phylogenetic Synthesis". Congratulations to all on excellent proposals! All symposia proposals, submitted for consideration, were impressive and the Program Officers had an extremely difficult task in selecting the ten symposia for the San Diego meeting.

Because symposia are now planned more than one year in advance, proposals for the 2006 SICB meeting will be scheduled for submission in early September 2004. So, after the upcoming New Orleans meeting, please start thinking about symposia ideas for the 2006 meeting in Orlando. Let's keep up the momentum!

See you in New Orleans!

Message from the Secretary

Will Jaeckle

I hope that each of you had a successful summer studying your favorite invertebrate animal. The suite of symposia that relate to our favorite form of animal are quite impressive. Please refer to the Prgram Officers message for details.

For new and future members of the Society, take a moment review the criteria for qualification and application process for the Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship (see Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship). This endowed award provides financial assistance for young graduate students and advanced undergraduate students to help defray the costs of their first professional experience at a research station. Any financial contribution that members of the division can make to support this fund and maintain the vigor of this program would be appreciated and should be direct to Amy Johnson.

Please attend the Divisional Business meeting. Our Division's vitality is clearly a function of the activities and involvement of its membership. So, my message is "get engaged in the workings of the DIZ".

This is my last go-round as DIZ secretary and it has been an interesting and informative experience. Our next divisional secretary will be Robert (Bob) W. Thacker.

I look forward to seeing you in New Orleans and a very successful meeting.

Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship

In the last round of awards we were able to award a scholarship to Joana Zanol Pinheiro da Silva, a talented and hard working doctoral student at George Washington University with strong interests in invertebrate biology. Joana, whose interests in the evolution of patterns in development stem from her research on polychaetes at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) in Brazil, was able to use this scholarship to study "Comparative Invertebrate Embryology" and "Evolution and Development of Metazoa" at Friday Harbor Laboratories this past summer.

We continue to make the effort to expand the Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship Fund toward the eventual goal of awarding two scholarships each year, one to an undergraduate and one to a graduate student. Though the endowment has been growing since its establishment, the 2003 grant was $750. To keep pace with the expenses of space and time at a research station, the DIZ is planning an auction at our next national meeting in New Orleans (January, 2004). The auction will take place during the DIZ/DEE/AMS/TCS social from 6:30-8 pm on the third day of the meeting (Wednesday, Jan 7). Donations can be brought to the meeting or can be mailed directly to Judy Williams ahead of time (see below for her email address). If you have any questions or would like to make a donation for this auction, please contact a member of the auction committee:

Kyle Aveni-Deforge kyled@rocky.geol.sc.edu
Rachel Merz rmerz1@swarthmore.edu
Amy Johnson ajohnson@bowdoin.edu
Judy Williams Judith.Williams@usm.edu
Linda Walters ljwalter@pegasus.cc.ucf.edu

As always, Monetary contributions, large or small may be sent, to: SICB Business Office, Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship Fund, 1313 Dolley Madison Blvd., Suite 402, McLean, VA 22101. Checks should be made payable to SICB and marked as a "Contribution to the Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship Fund." All contributions are tax deductible.

This scholarship, in memory of Libbie H. Hyman, one of America's foremost invertebrate zoologists, provides assistance to students to take courses OR to do research on invertebrates at a marine, freshwater or terrestrial field station. The Hyman scholarship is intended to help support a first field station experience for a first- or second-year graduate student or an advanced undergraduate student.

Completed applications, which must be submitted on-line, must include:
A one to two page description of the proposed coursework or research
Two (2) letters of recommendation from faculty members
Transcripts of both undergraduate and (if applicable) graduate course work.

Deadline: MARCH 3, 2004
Notification of Awards: APRIL 3, 2004.

Application forms and further information are available on the web at:


For more information contact:

Dr. Amy S. Johnson
Chair, SICB Libbie Hyman Scholarship Committee
Biology Department
Bowdoin College
6500 College Station
Brunswick, ME 04011
FAX: 207-725-3405
Email: ajohnson@bowdoin.edu

Message from the Graduate Student-Postdoctoral Affairs Committee Representative

Ben Miner

Hello fellow students. The New Orleans meeting is quickly approaching, and I would like to remind student/postdoc members that the due date for meeting registration is Dec 4. When registering, don't forget to indicate that you are a member of the Division of Invertebrate Zoology (DIZ).

There are several student/postdoc events at the meetings in New Orleans that should not be missed. These are the
  • Student "First Timer" orientation,
  • Student/postdoc luncheon,
  • Student/postdoc workshop, and the
  • Society-wide evening social in honor of students and postdocs.
These events provide an excellent opportunity to interact with other students and fellow invertebrate zoologists. In addition, I strongly encourage student and postdocs to attend the DIZ business meeting.

SICB provides excellent travel support for students. These travel awards cover either registration or housing, and only require that student work a half day at the meetings. This is a great deal! The deadline for student support is Nov 1. I hope to see you in New Orleans.

Additionally, there are 3 excellent funding opportunities that are available to students:
  • Grant-In-Aid of Research ($1,000), deadline is Nov 24,
  • Fellowship for Graduate Student Travel ($2,000), deadline is Nov. 24, and
  • Libbie H. Hyman ($750), early Spring 2004
See the SICB webpage for more details (http://www.sicb.org/grants/researchgrant.php3).

If you have any suggestions, please email them to me at miner@zoo.ufl.edu. Good luck with your studies and research!

Message from the Student Awards Committee Chair

Sara Lindsay

Calling all judges! As you make your plans for the annual meeting, please consider serving as a judge for the student presentations. DIZ awards a prize for the best student oral presentation, poster presentation, and the Adrian Wenner Strong Inference Award. Our students are doing fine work and it is real pleasure to support their enthusiasm. But we can't make these awards without your help. Depending on the number of student presentations and judges, judges can expect to evaluate 2-3 presentations; each student is judged by at least two people. Last year we had only 10 presentations, but I expect that number to go up given that we will have DIZ symposia this year. If you can help, please email me: slindsay@maine.edu. Also, if you would be willing to serve as the on-site contact person, please let me know. I will not be at the meeting this year.

Many thanks to judges past, present and future!

DIZ Auction

Greetings to All DIZ Members,

If you think about your own development as a biologist, it's a good bet that your first experience being at a field station made a huge impression. That opportunity to see organisms in situ and to be in the company of other enthusiastic biologists is a pretty heady mix. The Libbie Hyman endowment was established more than 25 years ago by Trish Morse and Pete Riser to support students on their first trip to a field station. (You can see information about the award at: http://www.sicb.org/newsletters/nl11-2003/diz.php3#dizhyman) Through the years, the endowment has grown somewhat, but not nearly enough to keep up with the rising cost of supporting a student at a field station (the current stipends have been in the $600 - 700 range). To remedy this gap DIZ voted at the last meeting to hold an auction to support the fund at this year's meeting in New Orleans.

Your auction committee has begun to gather donations - Alan Kohn has given two volumes - Hyman's Echinodermata and Harrison and Kohn's Microscopic Anatomy of Invertebrates, vol. 5, Mollusca 1 (Amazon price $362.50); Judy William's University has graciously donated 3 antique microscopes (circa 1910) as well as artwork from local Gulf Coast artists (specializing in ocean critters!); Trish Morse promises a silver bracelet, made by her with an invertebrate theme; the President-elect of SICB, Sally Woodin, is offering up a polychaete inspired, hand-made trivet and we have a growing pile of classic Friday Harbor t-shirts. In addition we have secured a "challenge grant" - a good-hearted (but anonymous) supporter has offered to match any proceeds from the auction up to $2,000.

So, clearly, we want two things from you - more donations and your participation in the auction itself (which will take place during the DIZ social). Please think about what you have that might be good material for the auction - books, artwork, craftwork, a CD of your most interesting teaching slides, jewelry, prints, famous t-shirts or oddball cool stuff that people are going to want, also, it doesn't have to have an invertebrate theme (for instance, Judy Williams has offered up an espresso maker). If you have something in mind, just contact one of us and we'll sort out how to get it to the auction. We hope to have something of a virtual catalogue to offer you before the auction, so we will be interested in digital photos or descriptions of your cool offerings. Email any of us at the addresses below and thanks for your support of students.

Rachel Merz rmerz1@swarthmore.edu Amy Johnson ajohnson@bowdoin.edu Judy Williams Judith.Williams@usm.edu Linda Walters ljwalter@pegasus.cc.ucf.edu Kyle Aveni-Deforge kyled@rocky.geol.sc.edu

Link to officer list on DIZ page