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Division of Vertebrate Morphology (DVM): 2003 Fall Newsletter

In this newsletter:

Message from the Chair

Frank Fish

It's that time again. Time to start thinking seriously about preparing for the SICB meeting in New Orleans this coming January. Now is the time to get that data in order, set up your PowerPoint, download your video clips, and register. Better to get everything ready now than to be generating new graphs fifteen minutes before your talk is to begin (and we all know that never happens). The New Orleans venue is, to use an all too familiar term from your students, AWESOME! This may be why the number of abstracts submitted for the meeting is way up. As always, there will be a wealth of quality presentations expanding the frontiers of vertebrate morphology. I would expect that after a day of contributed talks, posters, and symposia, there will be a continuation of presentations in the evening by DVM members. Discussions will ensue on topics such as Alligator Swimming in Creole Sauce, Muscle Fiber Architecture of Blackened Redfish, and Comparative Masticatory Effort in Sampling Crawfish Ettouffée. The meeting is set for January 5-9, 2004. While these dates do not encompass a Saturday night to possibly reduce the cost of airfare, New Orleans is a great place to spend the extra night either before or after the meeting.

Last year was the initiation of video night running concurrently with the DVM social. We will continue the video night with contributions that are sure to amaze, amuse, and educate the division. Please bring your videos on tape or CD to the social. The videos can pertain to your research or simply be an interesting observation related to animal morphology.

An extra event to be included in this year's program is a celebration of the contributions and accomplishments of Marvalee Wake. A mini-symposium has been organized by Wyatt Korff. The mini-symposium will occur in the regular sessions before the DVM social. At the social, we will further celebrate. So come and raise a glass in honor of Marvalee Wake, who has been an exceptional force in the field of vertebrate morphology and provided so much service to the SICB.

I must congratulate Bret Tobalske, whose term as DVM Program Officer will be ending after the January meeting. Brett has organized the meeting presentations and helped shepherd a number of symposium. His work is important for the functioning of the DVM. Despite Bret leaving the position of Program Officer, I am happy to announce that John Bertram will be taking over Bret's duties. I look forward to working with John. Audrone Biknevicius has graciously consented to remain as division secretary. She has been invaluable in helping to mange the division. So come April remember Audrone on National Secretary's Day.

Holding the SICB meeting in New Orleans and eating hot and spicy food is the perfect prerequisite for acclimating to southern Florida for the summer of 2004, where the International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology (ICVM-7) will be held. This is the second time that the ICVM has been held in North America. Jeanette Wyenken has done a spectacular job in getting everything ready in Boca Roton. At this point, symposia have been organized that are sure to be of interest to all morphologists.

Finally, I would like to make an appeal for your support to the D. Dwight Davis fund. This fund is important in providing awards for student presentations. Each year the best student paper is presented with an award from this fund. It would be welcome to increase support for this award, so please make a contribution to the Davis fund.

Have a productive and fun fall, and I hope to see you all in the Big Easy.

Message from the Program Officer

Bret Tobalske

New Orleans is going to be fun! I spent the past weekend at the New Orleans Marriott hotel with the other program officers, working out the schedule for the upcoming meeting. We worked diligently, as we were dealing with over 1100 abstracts - the largest number submitted to the annual SICB meeting for the past ten years. The hotel is adjacent to the French Quarter, though, so we had time for fine food and a bit of gawking at the non-stop party that appears typical of Bourbon Street after sunset.

Because of the large number of symposia (12) and submitted abstracts, there will be up to 13 concurrent sessions this year. DVM has the largest number of submissions among divisions. With over 200 abstracts under the umbrella of "morphology," DVM will have a variety of paper and poster sessions each day of the week. There is solid competition for the D. Dwight Davis award, with 46 contenders for Best Student Paper. This year will feature a quality poster experience for all concerned, as the poster sessions will run from 3:30 until 6:00, without concurrent papers to interfere with attendance at the posters.

Members of DVM will find several symposia of interest. These include the Society Wide Symposia, one in honor of George A. Bartholomew and one in awe of the comparative biology of ethanol consumption. There will also be symposia on selection experiments as tools in comparative work, thermal effects on growth in ectotherms, morphological innovations, and recent advances in neurobiology. Of special note, DVM is hosting a mini-symposium in Honor of Marvalee Wake as she embarks on her retirement. This is a relatively formal, but not too serious, way to sincerely thank her for her many contributions to SICB and DVM.

Back on the relaxing side, we will have a divisional social after our business meeting on Wednesday (7 January), and there will be a Society Wide social, featuring a Zydeco band, on Thursday night (8 January).

So, as one might say in the quarter: A bientôt (see you soon).

Message from the Secretary

Audrone Biknevicius

  1. Letter from William E. Bemis (university of Massachusetts, Amherst):

Dear Colleagues,

By arrangement with our publisher, I am posting for free downloading my PowerPoint Presentations to accompany our textbook, Functional Anatomy of the Vertebrates - An Evolutionary Perspective (otherwise known as FAOV, 3rd edition; K.F. Liem, W.E. Bemis, W.F. Walker & L. Grande; Brooks Cole, Philadelphia, 2001).These are the files that I use in my own teaching, and they include virtually all of the figures from FAOV. To download the files, go to:


and follow the instructions to reach the links page. You will see that the files are organized by chapter, with one file for each of the book's 22 chapters.

I hope that you will find these materials useful for your own teaching and presentations.


  1. REPORT: 2003 Southeast Regional DVM meetings

The first Southeast Regional DVM meeting was held September 27, 2003 at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. There were 33 participants from South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, D.C., Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio. There were 20 talks, lots of food, and great conversation. Participants who stayed until Sunday joined a hike up Furnace mountain to get great views of the Shanandoah valley.

There was also an extended discussion about the importance of regional meetings, the need to make students (both graduate and undergraduate) aware of the value and informal nature of these meetings, and the importance of greater faculty attendance. Rick Blob expressed interest in hosting a Southeast Regional meeting at Clemson University next year, although he and others expressed some concern about the proximity of a fall regional meeting to the ICVM at the end of July. (submitted by Roshna Wunderlich, James Madison University)

  1. REMINDER: 7th International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology

The 7th International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology will held on 27 July - 1 August 2003 at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA. Please visit the ICVM-7 web site for registration, travel and housing updates: http://www.iconferences.org/icvm7/ (submitted by Jeanette Wyneken, ICVM-7 convener, Florida Atlantic University)

Link to officer list on DVM page