HomeVolume Fall 2008

Division of Systematic and Evolutionary Biology (DSEB): 2008 Fall Newsletter

In this newsletter:

Message from the Chair

Anne Maglia

The upcoming meeting in Boston promises both an outstanding venue and, as usual, many excellent talks and symposia. Plan to attend the DSEB co-sponsored symposia "The Biology of the Parasitic Crustacea" and "Insect Evolution," the Phylogenetics for Dummies workshop, and the divisional business meeting. And we are always looking for judges for our student paper competition. This is a great way to be active in the division while seeing some fantastic presentations. Looking forward to seeing you in Boston!

Message from the Program Officer

Rachel Collin

The 2009 SICB meeting will be exciting and larger than we have had in a few years. More than 1400 abstracts have been submitted and organized into a large number of exciting sessions, from Sunday January 4 through noon on Wednesday January 7. The venue - The Boston Waterfront Westin - is beautiful and within walking distance of some waterfront restaurants. And I can personally attest there are some yummy options.

The program officers hope that participants can plan to arrive early on January 3 to be sure to catch the plenary lecture and welcome social.

DSEB is co-sponsoring two symposia: "Biology of Parasitic crustaceans" and "Insect Evolution." DSEB will be co-sponsoring a divisional social with DIZ, DEE and the Crustacean Society. The social will be followed by the DIZ auction to benefit the Libbie Hyman Fellowship Program (please see the information from the DIZ newsletter for information on how to donate materials). The posters will be presented over 3 afternoons and we have several exciting lectures scheduled for the evenings including Sean Carroll (evo-devo) and Ira Flatow (science communication).

The Phylogenetics for Dummies program is organized by Mike Alfaro and will focus on using "R" to conduct comparative analyses. The workshop will be divided into two sessions held over 2 days. A description of the workshop follows.

See you all in Boston!

Phylogenetics for Dummies

Michael Alfaro

The Division of Systematic and Evolutionary Biology will host the two-day workshop "Intro to Phylogenetic Comparative Methods in R" as part of the Phylogenetics for Dummies series. R is a powerful, free(!), high-level statistical computing language with a number of well-developed packages that focus on tree manipulation and comparative analysis. In R it is easy to:

  • perform independent contrasts analysis;

  • test for correlation of traits on a tree or across a distribution of tree under many different evolutionary models;

  • reconstruct ancestral states;

  • examine correlated patterns of trait evolution and lineage diversification;

  • simulate character evolution;

  • create publication-quality plots of trees and graphs

The first day of the workshop will be aimed towards users that are completely new to the language and will cover topics like: R language essentials, getting your data into R, manipulating trees and tip data, printing trees and figures, and calculating independent contrasts. The second session will cover a range of comparative analyses including: Brownian and OU models of character evolution, diversification analysis, ancestral reconstruction, and simulation methods.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own data sets (in nexus and/or csv format) as well as a laptop computer. If you are interested in attending please email M. Alfaro so that we can better gauge the interests and experience levels of the attendees.

Instructors: Michael Alfaro (UCLA, michaelalfaro@ucla.edu) is an evolutionary biologist studying morphological evolution and species diversification in fishes. Marguerite Butler (University of Hawaii, mbutler@hawaii.edu) studies comparative physiology and morphological evolution in lizards and damselflies and is a contributor to the OUCH package for Ohrnstein-Uhlenbeck analyses in R. Luke Harmon (University of Idaho, ljharmon@uidaho.edu) studies ecological and evolutionary aspects of adaptive radiations and is the author of the GEIGER package for detecting evolutionary radiations in R.

Message from the Secretary

Marta deMaintenon

Aloha! Looking forward to seeing everybody in Boston! I will wear my snuggies and look forward to good seafood. The big news at this point is to report on the results of officer elections this past spring. We had candidates running for chair-elect and secretary-elect, and 102 votes were cast. Our new chair-elect is Patrick O'Connor, Asst Professor of Anatomical Sciences at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. Our new secretary-elect is Todd Oakley, Asst Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at UC Santa Barbara. Please join me in extending a welcome to our new officers!

The next piece of business to attend to is some proposed by-laws changes. Lou Burnett, society secretary, has taken on the Herculean task of going through all of the divisional by-laws and has recommended changes that each division makes to bring all the societal by-laws into agreement. In addition, we had one proposed change from the meeting in San Antonio. These proposed changes will appear again in the spring newsletter and voting will take place later in the spring.

Proposed Change to DSEB By-Laws:

The proposed changes are shown below.

Additions are shown in bold underline.

Deletions are indicated with a strikethrough.

Questions or comments about these changes can be addressed at the DSEB business meeting in Boston. The proposed changes will appear again in the spring newsletter and voting will occur later in the spring.

1. Division Chair Term:

Article III. Section 1

The Chair-Elect shall be elected before one annual meeting and serve for a term of one year, and shall then successively and automatically become Chair for a term of two three years and then successively and automatically become Past Chair for two years."

Rationale: A proposal was made at the last meeting to adjust the term length of the Division Chair, to be consistent with lengths of terms of our other officers and officers in other divisions.

2. Changes suggested to fix inconsistencies between society and division:

a. Membership

Article II. Section 1

Any member of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology may become a member of the Division of Systematic and Evolutionary Biology by registering with the SICB business office the Secretary of the Division or the Executive Director of the Society, without payment of additional dues.

Rationale; Membership is actually much simpler than our bylaws suggest.

b. Student/ Postdoctoral Affairs Officer

Article III. Section 1

"The officers of the Division shall be a Chair, Past Chair, Chair-Elect, Secretary, Secretary-Elect, Program Officer, and Program Officer-Elect, and Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Officer. The Chair-Elect shall be elected before one annual meeting and serve for a term of one year, and shall then successively and automatically become Chair for a term of two years and then successively and automatically become Past Chair for two years. The Secretary-Elect shall be elected triennially, and shall hold office for a term of one year, and then successively and automatically become Secretary for three years. The Program Officer-Elect shall be elected to serve for one year and shall then successively and automatically become Program Officer for three years. The Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Officer shall be elected by the Student and Postdoctoral members of the division, and serve for two years. Candidates must be Student or Postdoctoral members of the division at the time of election, and may not be re-elected. The Chair may be re-elected to serve another term following the two-year term as Past Chair; the Secretary and Program Officer may be re-elected to successive terms."

New Section 2 (renumber all following sections). Student/ Postdoctoral Affairs Representative

The Division Chair shall appoint a Student/ Postdoctoral Affairs Representative for a term concurrent with the Division Chair. The Student/ Postdoctoral Affairs Representative will contribute to the biannual Division newsletter and represent DSEB at the graduate student/postdoc lunch at the annual Society meeting. The Student/ Postdoctoral Affairs Representative will serve on the Division Executive Committee as a non-voting member.

Article IV. Section 7

Section 7. Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Officer Representative

The Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Officer Representative shall represent Student and Postdoctoral members of the division on the divisional Executive Committee, and on behalf of the division society-wide.

Rationale: Our bylaws are in conflict with the society bylaws in that we have an elected Student/ Postdoctoral Affairs Officer; under society rules, students and postdocs may not run for SICB offices. The suggested changes to fix this involve giving the person a slightly different title, and appointing them rather than electing them.

c. Officer term beginning

Article III. Section 2

"All officers and appointed representatives shall assume the duties of their office at adjournment of the next annual Society business meeting 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.

Rationale: We have officers assuming duties after the SICB business meeting; however this isn't supposed to happen until after the second SICB Executive Committee meeting.

d. Executive Committee

Article III. Section 6

In intervals between meetings, The management of the Division shall be vested in an Executive Committee consisting of the officers of the Division."

Rationale: Management occurs between and during meetings.

Link to officer list on DSEB page