HomeVolume Fall 2008

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

In this newsletter:

Message from the Chair

Linda Holland

The fall news is, of course, about the up-coming meeting in Boston where, at the moment, the leaves are probably just starting to turn. Lets all hope for a January thaw!

As our program officer, Wendy Olson, notes in her message below, DEDB is sponsoring one symposium "Cell-cell signaling drives the evolution of complex traits," organized by John Torday, and there will be several Evo-devo sessions as well as a plenary lecture by Sean Carroll.

This year Elaine Seaver will take over from Marcus Davis as DEDB secretary. Many thanks to Marcus for doing all of those things such as revising the bylaws and organizing nominating committees that the membership hardly notices, but still need doing if SICB is to keep going smoothly. I am very glad that Wendy Olson will continue as DEDB program officer. She has done a yeoman's job of putting together the evo-devo sessions for this meeting. Thank you Wendy for all of your hard work.

We broke precedent this year by postponing elections for DEDB officers until this fall. We need to elect a chair to take over from me after the 2010 annual meeting and a program officer to take over from Wendy also after the 2010 meeting. The candidates for Chair-Elect are Mark Martindale from the University of Hawaii and Maria Byrne from the University of Sydney. Running for Program Officer-Elect are L. Patricia Hernandez from George Washington University and Bob Zeller from San Diego State. Please don't forget to vote.

Billie Swalla, our past DEDB chair has recently sent the following message to the devo-evo lists to which you are all subscribed. "The University of Hawaii is seriously considering closing one of its two marine labs, Kewalo Marine Lab, where Mark Martindale and Elaine Seaver work. Marine labs are like evolutionary innovations, once you lose them it may take a very long time to get them back. You can add to the blog on the news story at this site: http://www.starbulletin.com/ news/ hawaiinews/20080923_Kewalo _labs_proposed_ closure_protested.html." Billie goes on to say "I've sent a message to Dr. David McClain, the President of the University of Hawaii System and suggest that you send one too, if you are concerned about this unique marine lab being closed down. Dr. McClain's email address is mcclain@hawaii.edu." The trouble with the Kewalo lab is that it has a good view of Diamond Head. In this day of pinched budgets, U. Hawaii sees selling the property as a way to help alleviate budget deficits. I'm afraid that real biology can't compete with the developers.

The current membership list for DEDB includes over 300 people. I encourage all of you to attend the meeting in Boston as it promises to be of considerable interest to all of us devo-evo types. Boston is a great town. Public transportation in Boston is excellent and you can buy a map with all of the bus routes and subway (The "T") routes at any newsstand. If you have a little extra time, I recommend taking in the New England Aquarium, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Comparative Zoology. I also recommend Legal Seafoods. There's a branch on Rowe's Wharf across from the New England Aquarium as well as in Logan Airport. Their clam chowder is the best I've ever had, and as a native New Englander, I consider myself an authority on such things.

Happy Holidays!

Message from the Program Officer

Wendy M. Olson

The leaves are finally turning - there must be a meeting coming up.

There were 1372 abstracts submitted for the 2009 SICB Annual Meeting in Boston, MA, setting us up for the largest SICB meeting in over 8 years. Definitely check the schedules ahead of time, because this meeting will be busy! I just got back from the Program Committee meeting in Boston, and I can tell you that the Westin Boston Waterfront is a beautiful, new hotel. That's about all I can say, because hurricane Kyle was in full swing at the time off the coast of New England. Between the rain and fog, I could barely see across the street. But it's near both the ocean and public transit lines.

DEDB is currently supporting one symposium at the 2009 meeting, "Cell-cell signaling drives the evolution of complex traits," organized by John Torday. And in addition to the Plenary, Bartholomew, and Bern Lectures, there will be an additional lecture given by Sean Carroll, which should be of interest to DEDB members. Paula Mabee may be giving a workshop on evolutionary ontology, which is a pretty hot topic in both evolution and development. Check the schedule for final details. Also note that we will have a combined social with DDCB, this year - just the two divisions (unlike last year's seven or so). Separation anxiety? Or a better chance to talk developmental genetics, morphogenesis, integration, and evolution over free food and a couple of overpriced drinks? Be there or be square.

You will all be happy to know that the abstract sorting went much better this year, and we have some strong evo-devo sessions. I tried to avoid overlap as much as possible, but please realize that it is literally impossible not to have any overlap whatsoever, especially given the size of the Boston meeting, not to mention the breadth of evo-devo.

And finally, we have nine students signed up for the BSP competition. If anyone is interested in being a judge, please let me know ASAP. The more volunteers we have, the less any one of us has to do (i.e., the more flexibility we have individually to get to the talks we really want to see). I will be sending out a mass email to ask for volunteers, as the meeting draws closer.

Best wishes, and I hope to see you all in Boston.

Message from the Secretary

Marcus C. Davis

Greetings mad scientists and hopeful monsters,

All right DEDB members, we've got a lot to do in this Fall Newsletter! We have some exciting candidates lined up for the positions of Chair-Elect and Program Officer-Elect. Please take the time to look over the candidate biographies included in this newsletter and then VOTE when the ballots are issued!

We also have some bylaws revisions on which to vote. The revisions were requested by the SICB Executive Committee in order to match the wording and guidelines of each division with that of the SICB Constitution. There are also some additional provisions and protections included that are a standard inclusion in other divisions' bylaws but that we have yet to include in ours. In this newsletter you will find the proposed revisions to our bylaws divided by Article. Following each Article revision is a rationale to explain the reasoning behind the proposed change. Someone owes me a beer for doing this… I'm just not sure who. These proposed revisions will appear again in the spring newsletter and voting will occur by electronic ballot in the spring.

On a final note, I'm departing as DEDB Secretary and the very capable Elaine Seaver will take the reins at the Boston meeting. I thank the two Chairs (Billie and Linda) and the two Program Officers (Ed and Wendy) that I have had the pleasure of working with. But I'm not going anywhere. You can look forward to my continued haunting of DEDB for many years to come.

Best wishes and happy holidays!

Elections: Candidates Chair-Elect

Maria Byrne

Current Position: Professor of Marine and Developmental Biology, and Director One Tree Island Research Station University of Sydney, Australia

Education: Ph.D. (Zoology), 1982, University of Victoria, Canada

Professional Experience: Associate Editor, Marine Biology. Editorial board memberships: Evolution and Development, since 2002; Biological Bulletin, 2006-present; Invertebrate Reproduction and Development, 2004-present; Invertebrate Biology, 1998-present

SICB Activities: Presented at the Complex-Life-Histories in Marine Benthic Invertebrates Symposium

Other Memberships: Australian Marine Sciences Association, Australian Coral Reef Society, Society for Invertebrate Reproduction and Development

Research Interests: My research interests are in the integrative biology and evolution of marine invertebrates with a focus on the Echinodermata and Mollusca. My multidisciplinary research involves investigation of life history, reproduction, genetics, phylogeny and environmental biology. I utilize the developmental diversity of closely related echinoderms species as a model system to document evolution of development and speciation.

Goals Statement: I have followed the great work of the Division of Evolutionary Developmental Biology as it has grown to be a major Division of SICB and as an important focal point for the promotion of Evo-Devo. My major goals are in the promotion of a multidisciplinary approach to our understanding of generation of evolutionary novelty through developmental change. As chair I look forward to promoting interaction in the Division in all its facets.

Mark Q. Martindale

Current Position: Professor and Director, Kewalo Marine Lab, Pacific Bioscience Research Center, University of Hawaii

Education: Ph.D. (Zoology), 1985, University of Texas, Austin. B.A. (Natural Sciences), 1981, New College, Sarasota, FL

Professional Experience: Postdoc, Harvard Medical School; Assistant Professor, Univ. Chicago; Associate Professor, Univ. Hawaii; Editorial board: Developmental Biology, Section of Molecular and Developmental Evolution, Journal of Experimental Zoology, Evolution and Development, Development, Genes, and Evolution (D.G.E.), Acta Zoologica

SICB Activities: Member since graduate school (prior to its name change). Co-Organizer, SICB Symposium, "Evolution of Animal Body Plans". St. Louis, MO. (1995), Co-Organizer, SICB Symposium, "Evolution of Development: Patterns and Process," Albuquerque, New Mexico (1996), Member-at-Large, Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (1996-99), Co-founder of the new Division of Evolutionary Developmental Biology (1999)

Other Memberships: AAAS, Society of Developmental Biologists, International Society for Invertebrate Morphology

Research Interests: I am an experimental embryologist interested in the origin of biological diversity. We study the cellular and molecular basis of pattern formation in a phylogenetic context.

Goals Statement: To understand biological diversity, we need to study biological diversity using modern imaging and molecular techniques. Detailed information from a handful of model systems has given us a false sense of understanding of the complexity of biological evolution, with theoretical ideas well ahead of the actual data needed to make informed hypotheses. The landscape of biology is changing in the ‘post-genomic era' and we need to think and train the next generation of biologist in interdisciplinary ways (e.g. morphological, molecular, computational) in order to exploit the vast amount of information that will soon be available to us. The Division of Evolutionary Developmental Biology has been the driving force in supporting the field of Evo-Devo here in the States as well as in other nations. I will urge our constituents to develop empirical approaches to study a broader spectrum of the biological diversity present in the natural world and to lobby for a continued understanding, appreciation, training, and financial support for modern comparative biology.

Elections: Candidates Program Officer-Elect

L. Patricia Hernandez

Current position: Associate Professor, The George Washington University, Washington DC

Education: Eckerd College B.S. (1987); University of South Florida M.S. (1994); Harvard University Ph.D. (1999)

Professional experience: 2002-2008: Assistant Professor, The George Washington University; 1999-2002: Postdoctoral Fellow Wesleyan University; 2001: Visiting Professor, University of Washington Friday Harbor; 1999-2000: Visiting Professor, Wesleyan University; 1992-1993: Adjunct Instructor, Eckerd College

SICB Activities: I have been a member of SICB since 1991. 2007-2010: Student Support Committee; 2007-present chair Committee on Broadening Participation; 2005-Participant in Symposium "Zebrafish in Comparative Context"; 2004-Chair of Nominating committee for DEDB; 2003-Organized roundtable discussion on increasing minority representation within SICB for the Membership Diversity Committee; 2002-Nominating Committee, DEDB; 2002-present: member of the Membership Diversity Committee; 2001: Chair of Nominating committee for DEDB; 2001: Participant in Symposium "Molecules, Muscles, and Macroevolution"; 2000-2002: Graduate Student/Postdoctoral Representative for DEDB

Other Memberships: International Society for Vertebrate Morphology; Society for Developmental Biology; American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists; American Association of Anatomists.

Research Interests: My lab is interested in the evolution of morphological novelty. Surprisingly we are using the zebrafish for much of our work. While the zebrafish has become a popular model organism in biomedical studies, we propose that the wealth of morphological novelties that characterize this cypriniform fish makes it ideal for investigating the development of evolutionary novelties. My research program focuses on understanding how developmental processes (both early embryonic and later ontogenetic processes) are involved in generating morphological variation and/or novelty within cypriniforms. Moreover, I am interested in understanding the long-term evolutionary consequences of such morphological variation.

Goals Statement: Perhaps the greatest strength of SICB is in its interdisciplinary approach to science. This is especially true in a division that is integrative by definition. Some of our greatest meetings have been characterized by interesting symposia that encompass the interests of a seemingly disparate group of researchers. As program officer I will strive to continue this tradition of truly interdisciplinary investigation. We are a young division, yet this spirit of learning from all disciplines has made us a very popular division. Moreover, given our historical strength in supporting students I will continue my commitment to increasing student participation. I am especially interested in broadening participation from underrepresented groups.

Robert W. Zeller

Current Position: Associate Professor, Department of Biology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

Education: Boston University, Boston, MA. B.A. in Biology Summa Cum Laude with Distinction, 1988. California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA. PhD in Developmental Biology, 1994

Professional Experience: 2007-Present: Associate Professor, Department of Biology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA.; 2008: Visiting Scientist, Kewalo Marine Laboratory, University of Hawaii; 2006-Present: Visiting Associate in Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.; 2005-Present: co-Faculty Director SDSU Microchemical Core Facility, San Diego, CA.; 2001-2007: Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA.; 1998-Present: Faculty, Embryology Course, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA.; 1995-2000: Postdoctoral research, UC San Diego, La Jolla, CA.; SDSU faculty member in the following cross-disciplinary programs: Coastal and Marine Institute (2001-Present); Center for Applied and Experimental Genomics (2003-Present); Computational Science Research Center (2005-Present).

SICB Activities: Session Moderator, Evo Devo and Morphogenesis, 2007.

Other Memberships: Society for Developmental Biology, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Research Interests: My research interests focus on the evolution of developmentally important gene regulatory networks. In particular, my laboratory is interested in understanding how novel vertebrate cell types, such as neural crest cells and hair cells, evolved from an invertebrate ancestor lacking such cell types. We are currently studying relevant gene regulatory networks operating in early ascidian embryos to discover how pre-existing regulatory machinery was co-opted during chordate evolution. Our laboratory uses a combination of classical embryological approaches and molecular/cell biology to address these questions. Our laboratory is also developing novel tools (e.g. genome manipulation, transgenic embryo production) and approaches (e.g. functional genomics) to facilitate our research goals.

Statement of Goals: The DEDB division provides an excellent forum for evolutionary developmental biologists to come together to exchange ideas. As DEDB program officer, I would continue the work of previous program officers in developing ideas for symposia and meeting sessions and obtaining funding to support these and other programs. I would work with the program officers of other divisions to improve interactions between the DEDB and other divisions. I would strive to have greater student participation in our activities and develop additional opportunities and competitions for students. Because research funding for evo-devo is greatly strained (and has been limiting for a number of years), I would work with others to develop a strategy to lobby, on behalf of SICB, for increased national support of our educational and research endeavors.

Proposal for changes in the bylaws of DEDB

These proposed changes will appear on the spring ballot. Additions appear in bold underline, deletions are indicated by a strikethrough.

Article IV. Membership

Any member of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology who so desires may become a member without payment of additional dues. Notice in writing to the Secretary of the Division of Evolutionary Developmental Biology shall be the only formality required. Membership in the Division is open to all classes of members of the SICB. It is acquired by registration with the SICB business office.

Rationale: Article IV does not reflect current practice on how to acquire divisional membership. We propose to change article IV to reflect current practice.

Article V. Officers

The Officers of the Division shall be a Chair, a Past Chair, a Chair-Elect, a Program Officer, a Program Officer-Elect a Secretary and a Secretary elect. All Officers except the Chair, Past Chair, Program Officer and secretary shall be elected by majority vote of all those members responding to a secure electronic ballot submitted to the entire membership of the division, as required by the bylaws of the Society, at least sixty days before the expiration of the current officers' terms. A brief biography of each candidate shall be made available on the ballot. Election ties will be handled according to the guidelines set in the SICB Constitution. The post of Chair will be filled automatically every two years by elevation of the previous year's Chair-Elect. In addition, the office of Past Chair shall be occupied by the individual whose term of office as Chair has most recently ended. The post of Program Officer shall be filled automatically by the elevation of the Program Officer-Elect, who will be elected one year prior to the expiration of the Program Officer's term. The post of Program Officer-Elect shall be limited to one year, the year prior to his/her elevation to the office of Program Officer. The post of Secretary shall be filled automatically by the elevation of the Secretary-Elect, who will be elected one year prior to the expiration of the Secretary's term. The post of Secretary-Elect shall be limited to one year, the year prior to his/her elevation to the office of Secretary. The terms of all officers shall be filled on the basis of the calendar year, beginning January 1. The term of office of all elected officers and appointed representatives shall begin at the end of the second SICB Executive Committee meeting at the Annual Meeting in the year the term is to begin and will end at the adjournment of the second SICB Executive Committee meeting at the Annual Meeting in the year the term is to expire. Graduate and postdoctoral representatives are appointed by the Chair.

Rationale: Article V does not specify the type of ballot used for officer elections, does not specify that candidate biographies will be included with the ballot, and does not specify resolution in the event of an election ending in a tie. Furthermore, Article V specifies DEDB officer terms associated with the calendar year, not with the conclusion of the Annual Meeting as specified in the SICB Constitution, Article II. Section 3. We, propose a change to Article V to reflect current practice and to match the terms of the SICB Constitution.

Proposed New Article Va. Vacancies in Office

In the circumstance where an elected officer is unable to complete his or her term of office, the following provisions are made: If the office of Secretary or Program Officer is vacated early, the Chair, in consultation with the Divisional Executive Committee, will appoint someone to serve until elections can be held to fill the position. If the office of Chair is vacant, the Divisional Executive Committee, in consultation with the SICB President, will appoint someone to be the interim Chair until an election is held.

Rationale: Article V does not specify how an unexpectedly vacated office would be filled. The SICB constitution, Article VI, Section III requires that each division set such a guideline. In accordance with the wording of other divisions and under the suggestion of the SICB-wide Secretary we propose a new article Va - Vacancies in Office.

Link to officer list on DEDB page