DAB: 1997 Spring Newsleter

Message from the Chair

Steve Nowicki

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 DAB/DEE social.

"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 them!


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 attend anyway.

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 29:1179-1199).

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.

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