Message from the Chair
I'm sure those of you who attended the SICB 1996 Annual Meeting in Albuquerque will
agree with me that it was very exciting. The joint DAB/ABS symposium "Animal
Behavior: Integration of Ultimate and Proximate Causation" provided two days of
exceptionally stimulating talks. Our thanks go out to Lee Drickamer for putting this
superb symposium together for us.
From my perspective, the only unfortunate thing about the symposium was that it was so
good that I found it hard to make time during those two days to sample from the equally
impressive array of contributed papers in ecology, evolutionary biology, behavioral
endocrinology, functional morphology, and all those other areas we DAB members follow. But
isn't this always the case at SICB Annual Meetings? Behavioral biology is inherently
interdisciplinary. Those of us who study behavior are bound to find SICB meetings both
delightful, because we can find so much variety there, and overwhelming, because we can't
take advantage of all that is offered.
I expect the SICB 1998 Annual Meeting in Boston to be no different. The Ecological
Society of America (ESA) will be meeting jointly with the Division of Ecology and
Evolution (DEE), and this joint meeting is sure to be a venue of considerable interest to
those of us interested in animal behavior. Many of us already are members of the ESA or
DEE. We read their journals regularly, and some of us attend the ESA summer meetings. The
participation of ESA in the Boston meeting is sure to add even more to the word
"Integrative" in our Society's name. I urge DAB members to take full advantage
of this opportunity by attending the meeting in Boston and participating in DEE's
activities as well as our own. For my part, I will work on trying to set up a joint
"Integrative" is what SICB is all about, and I think students especially can
benefit from exposure to the diverse ideas and perspectives experienced at a SICB meeting.
I would like to see us all redouble our efforts to encourage students to attend and
present their work at future meetings. Support for students to attend these meetings has
always been strong, and the Executive Committee continues to make support for students to
attend meetings a priority. SICB also has instituted its Grants-in-aid of Research
program, and one of the first of these awards went to a DAB student. This is a great time
for students to join SICB, participate in our meetings, and take advantage of our various
programs. Please spread the word - tell your students about DAB and what it has to offer
Congratulations are due to Erika B. Wiltenmuth. Erika won the DAB Best Student Paper
Award at the SICB 1996 Annual Meeting in Albuquerque for her presentation, entitled
"Behavior of Plethodontid Salamanders During Rehydration." Erika is a graduate
student in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University.
Congratulations are also due to Denise Hope, who was awarded an SICB Grants-in-Aid of
Research. Denise is a graduate student in the Department of Zoology at Duke University.
Opportunities for Graduate Students
Most graduate students in biology are not exactly raking in huge sums of money on their
RA/TA stipends. SICB and DAB offer a number of opportunities for support.
Support for Meeting Attendance: In recent years, almost every graduate student
who has asked for it has been awarded free lodging at the meetings in exchange for a
session or two of audio visual duty. This duty usually consists of little beyond loading
up slide carousels. Usually the student can get assigned to a session they would like to
Grants-in-Aid of Research: SICB has instituted a program of awards to support
graduate student research. Initially, the awards will be in the amount of $1,000. Seven
awards were made this past year, including one to a student of animal behavior. For
details and application materials, send in the postcard included in this issue.
Best Student Presentation Awards: DAB offers three different awards for student
presentations each year. In addition to the usual awards for the Best Oral Presentation
and the Best Poster Presentation by a graduate student, DAB invites students to compete
for the Adrian M. Wenner "Strong Inference" Award, for the best oral or poster
presentation of research based on the strong inference approach in experimental design and
execution (See: Platt, 1964. Strong Inference. Science 146:347-353; Wenner, 1989.
Concept-centered versus organism-centered biology. American Zoologist
To be eligible for the DAB student paper awards, the applicant must be a member of SICB
and our Division. The student must indicate their intention to compete on the abstract
transmittal form. Eligible papers must be original research by a graduate student or a
Ph.D. whose degree was awarded no more than one year prior to the time of the meeting.
Request for Symposium Ideas
Brent Graves, Steve Nowicki and myself are actively seeking proposals for symposia at
future SICB meetings. We have already received some exciting ideas for the SICB 1999
Annual Meeting in Denver. There are different formats available for executing symposia
ideas. The regular symposia usually require 18 months or more of advance notice and are
usually considered for publication in our journal, The American Zoologist. Editor
Jim Hanken has instituted a review process, taking over much of the workload involved in
publishing the symposia that used to be borne by the symposium organizer. The other format
is the mini-symposium, which can be put together with a much shorter lead time.
Mini-symposia may address "hot topics" in a more timely fashion. If you have
ideas for symposia, please contact Graves, Nowicki or myself.
We are actively seeking proposals for symposia at future SICB meetings.