Division of Invertebrate Zoology (DIZ): 2005 Spring Newsletter
, a deep sea siphonophore.
Submitted by Casey Dunn.
In this newsletter:
from the Chair
It's been an
eventful summer, hasn't it? I hope that most of you escaped having
your selves, families, homes and research smacked by sundry
hurricanes, and that those of you who were so smacked are on the road
to recovery. It is humbling to be reminded that as a species or
nation we're not nearly as much in control as we'd like to think.
As is usual at
this time of year, I cannot believe that it's this time of year. I
also cannot believe that I have nearly completed my three years of
alleged service as chair and will be stepping aside for our new
chair-elect. In the spring elections, we were privileged to have two
very capable candidates offer their services -- Janice Voltzow and
Jon Norenburg. The electorate has chosen, and I have sent both
congratulations and condolences to each of them -- the job can be
time-consuming now and then, but is worthwhile and therefore
satisfying too. The hardest part for me was the papers I had to miss
while closeted in business meetings, but it's been a minor sacrifice.
Janice will be shadowing me at Orlando to draw conclusions about all
the ways things could have been/can be done more efficiently and
effectively by a truly organized person (which, as you may have
observed, I am not). Thanks, Janice and Jon, for your willingness to
serve, and best wishes, Janice, as you step into the harness!
impact of all the uncertainty about natural disasters has been much
on my mind as I compose my swan song, so please allow me to
philosophize for a moment. It strikes me that this sort of unease
has a lot to do with the whole creationist/I.D. controversy with
which we keep struggling. Everyone seeks a source of assurance.
They quite naturally feel threatened by anyone who denigrates their
particular source...and off we go to war. SICB and we invert types
have a unique role to play in defusing the situation and helping the
general public get the discussion back to the real, core issue that
almost always gets passed right over. I hope that we all have
opportunities to clarify what everyone assumes someone else has
already taught: "What is science?" If we could get the
discussion back onto the facts about these allegedly competing belief
systems, we'd do an enormous service! It doesn't seem all that
Science is a set of "thought techniques" for
drawing sense out of the universe; its beliefs include:
limits itself to observable/measurable data
are weighted by their reliability, redundancy, and verifiability,
not by how well they fit a theory
rules of nature don't change in mid-stream so science can be
progressive and verifiable
fixed rules allow drawing of conclusions, extrapolating backward and
forward in time
cannot "prove" anything, only provide the clearest
understanding available to date
its rules, its conclusions are true
I.D. are other systems for making sense of things, which use
different rules; their beliefs include:
kinds of information can supplement/replace physical data
that fit theory are probably good, those that don't are probably
flawed and may be rejected
intervention in natural law occurs
in time is permitted by fixed rules that are non-physical (e.g.
character of Designer)
sources, once accepted as reliable, can "prove" things
its rules, its conclusions are true
What gets lost
in the arguments is that science isn't about "Truth" with a
capital "T". We scientists must avoid getting harassed
into taking the adversarial position, "No, you're wrong,
ignorant, uneducated, foolish...and we're right!" because, by
our own rule 5 above, we simply cannot prove it. With our tools, we
scientists cannot even address the hypothesis "The world was
created 30 seconds ago with everything in place as we see/experience
it now!" The physical data are all there, but where is the
What we need to
get across is that science, albeit by its very nature provisional and
unable to "prove" things, is inordinately useful. If
someone chooses to believe that creation occurred 30 seconds ago (OK,
now 45), fine! We cannot prove them wrong and must not condemn them
for what they choose to believe. However, to be effective in this
science-dominated world, everyone really does need to understand what
the scientific technique is (both strengths and limitations) and how
it works -- and that's where we can help them.
scientists refuse to be made into enemies, the war should go away.
Granted, there always are people who profit from war, and they never
will welcome peace, but we may achieve it with the rest.
Here endeth the
rant. Back to the news:
At our last
meeting Ben Miner generously offered to take over from Sara Lindsay
as chair of the Best Student Presentation Awards Committee.
Well...biology has a way of torquing our expectations. Ben's family
is to expand by two (yes, twins) right about the time of the
meetings. Another set of congratulations and condolences! Sara and
Ben asked if volunteers might come forward to organize the best paper
judging this time, and it is a credit to the membership of DIZ that
we had far more generous and zealous souls than we could actually
use! Cecelia Miles and Dick Turner offered to work as a tag team to
set everything up, and we are very grateful. They will be asking
many of you to serve as judges; we hope that the others who offered
to coordinate will be able to serve in that less time-intensive
capacity. Watch your e-mail. Sara has come out of chairly
retirement to help with protocols, forms, and experience. Our humble
thanks to you all! Encouraging our best and brightest is one of the
most important things we do, and I am heartened by the enthusiasm I
see for it in DIZ.
we've got all kinds of fascinating stuff coming up; rather than
duplicating, let me refer you to Amy Moran's Program Officer message.
I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible, and to being
able to attend even more intriguing papers next time as an ex-chair.
Thanks for the opportunity to work with you all over these past
Message from the Program Officer
I just returned
from the October meeting of the SICB and Divisional Program Officers,
and I am happy to report that the 2006 meetings in Orlando promise to
be very exciting for DIZ members and the society as a whole. There
are over 1000 posters and talks scheduled for the meeting this
January, including a large representation for DIZ - this means
Orlando will be similar in size to recent large and successful
meetings including New Orleans and San Diego.
symposia: In Orlando, the Division of Invertebrate Zoology is
joining DEE and AMS in sponsoring Robert Podolsky's and Amy Moran's
symposium entitled "Integrating Function over Marine Life
Cycles," and DCPB, DNB, and the Crustacean Society in sponsoring
"Genomic and Proteomic Approaches in Crustacean Biology"
organized by Donald Mykles and David Towle. Both of these symposia
promise to be exciting and ground-breaking! Each has a webpage that
you can link to through the meeting webpage to get more information.
The social: DIZ will again be joining DEE, AMS, and the Crustacean Society for an evening social (check the program schedule for dates). Please plan to attend!
The hotel, the Buena Vista Grand Resort and Spa, is a 10-minute walk
or a short shuttle ride from Downtown Disney with its many
restaurants and Disney-related shopping. The hotel has two large
outdoor pools, one with a waterfall and bar perfect for that
après-meeting networking. For those bringing children, there
is an outdoor playground and kiddie pool. The meeting rooms are
large - in some cases very large! If you find yourself in a small
session in a large room, please be kind to the presenter and sit near
In Phoenix 2007, DIZ will be sponsoring a symposium entitled
"Integrative Biology of Pelagic Invertebrates", organized by
Alison Sweeney. This symposium will address the recent technological
and scientific advances in understanding these fragile, remote,
pelagic organisms. Congratulations to all for excellent symposia
It is never too
early to be thinking about symposia for the 2008 meetings. Proposals
will be due next August, and please feel free to contact me with your
Have a great
fall and see you in January!
from the Secretary
I hope everyone
had a productive summer! If you would like to share some of your
recent activities, you can create or update your entry in the
database of invertebrate zoology researchers on the DIZ website:
If you would like to participate, please send me a photo, graph, or
theoretical model from your research, along with a short title and a
paragraph describing the image. The image should be in jpeg or tiff
format, while the text can be MS Word or RTF format. Please e-mail
your submission to me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: if you have already submitted information to another
division's database, you can just let me know which division that
is, and we can link to your existing submission. I also welcome any
suggestions for improving the DIZ web pages.
At the 2006
Business Meeting, we will have a vote on changes to the divisional
bylaws. All proposed changes are available for review on the SICB
website in an electronic forum: http://sicb.org/phpBB2/index.php.
The proposed changes include rather bland incorporations of
electronic balloting and a clearer definition of officers' terms.
We also discussed another change at the 2005 Business Meeting:
removing DIZ membership as a requirement for participation in the
best student presentation awards. This proposal generated quite a
few comments that might be appropriate for further discussion.
Please post your comments or suggestions on the electronic forum. In
addition, you are welcome to review and suggest other changes to our
current bylaws, available on the SICB website:
At the 2006
Meeting, we will be seeking nominations for Secretary of DIZ. The
term of office begins in January 2007. Please let one of your DIZ
officers know if you are willing to serve as Secretary, or if you
know of any potential candidates.
Message from the Graduate Student - Postdoctoral Affairs Committee
students and post-docs. January will be here before you know it and
hopefully you're all making plans to spend a week at this year's
SICB Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL. I would like to remind you of a
couple deadlines that are important for student members.
applications for student support are due October 28. Student support
covers either the registration fee or housing costs in exchange for
a day of service. Please be aware that if you choose housing support
this year, you will have to pay a $75 co-pay to the hotel upon
checkout. You can find this application on the SICB website and it
is a simple and easy way to save you money. I encourage you to take
advantage of this opportunity!
In addition to
the deadlines, there are several student/postdoc events that will
occur during the meeting.
"Optimizing Your Graduate School Experience"
January 7, 6:00-7:00 pm
"Strategies for Landing an Academic Job/Postdoc"
January 7, 7:00-8:00 pm
society-wide evening social in honor of students and postdocs
(Saturday, January 7th from 8:00 - 9:30 pm) is a great
way to relax with new and old friends at the end of a busy week.
Coffee, dessert, and a cash bar will be provided at this event.
If you have any
comments or questions, please feel free to e-mail me at: email@example.com
See you soon
and best of luck with your studies and research!
Message from the Student Awards Committee Chair
I would first
like to thank Sara Lindsay for all her hard work over the past three
years as the DIZ Student Awards Committee Chair. I happily receive
the baton as the new chair and hope to continue the excellent
precedent that Sara has set. I would also like to thank Richard
Turner and Cecelia Miles, who will be co-chairs of the committee this
year - I will be unable to attend the meeting this year because I
am expecting twins in January. As with each year, we have quite a
few students who have signed up to participate in the DIZ Best
Student Paper program, and I therefore ask for your help in judging
the student presentations in Orlando. Please contact either Richard
or Cecelia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
if you are interested. Enjoy the meeting!!
Message from the Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship Committee ChairIsidro Bosch
The 2005 Libbie
H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Mr. Rafael Rosengarten,
a first year Ph.D. student in the Department of Cellular and
Developmental Biology at Yale University. Rafael is currently
interested in the neuromusculature and myogenic differentiation of
lower metazoans. He was previously a researcher in the laboratory of
Leo Buss where he helped to develop techniques for the mass culture
of Placozoan, Trichoplax adherens. Rafael used his award was
used to help defer the costs of travel and tuition while
participating in the Embryology course at the Friday Harbor Marine
As in previous
years there were many excellent candidates for the scholarship and
the selection committee was hard pressed to choose a single recipient
from such an outstanding group. After considerable discussion we
were pleased to select Rafael, whose application and letters (as
eloquently stated by one member of the Committee) "reflected an
excellence of intellect and passion for research that is resonant
with the Libbie Hyman legacy."
Hyman Memorial Field Scholarship Committee (including Beth Okomura,
Amy Johnson and Sid Bosch) wishes to express their appreciation to
all of those who continue to make this scholarship possible. A
future goal of DIZ and SICB should be to raise the principal to the
level of endowing this important fund and potentially increasing the
number of awards that can be given out to two per year.
In support of
these goals, as well as that of maintaining the continuity of the
scholarships, 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
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.
applications, which must be submitted on-line, must include:
A one to
two page description of the proposed coursework or research
letters of recommendation from faculty members
of both undergraduate and (if applicable) graduate course work
Awards: APRIL 3, 2006.
forms and further information are available on the web at:
SICB Libbie Hyman Scholarship Committee
Geneseo, NY 14454
Link to officer list on DIZ page