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Michelle Duval

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DIZ: 1997 Spring Newsleter

This Newsletter by Section

Message from the Chair

Daphne Fautin

Our Annual Meeting is essential to the professional growth of embryonic and larval biologists in many ways.

Jan Pechenik's term as DIZ Chair was one of activity and innovation in the interests of improving SICB, DIZ and the broad discipline of invertebrate zoology. It is no accident that much of what I have to report on Division activities at December's meetings involves students. Many of Jan's efforts - not unexpectedly for a teacher and an author of textbooks (and creator of the late lamented "Teacher's Corner" column; can't we revive it?) - were devoted to nurturing up-and-coming biologists. Indeed, Jan declined the plaque that is ceremonially presented to Division Chairs as they complete their terms of office, asking that the money it would have cost be used instead to fund student activities. Thank you, Jan, for your devotion to SICB and DIZ; you will be a tough act to follow.

A major activity of a professional society is to initiate trainees into the tribe. Our Annual Meeting is essential to the professional growth of embryonic and larval biologists in many ways. Listening to talks (and reading posters), as they have been doing for what may seem like all too many years already, may be among the least of the learning experiences for them. But presenting talks and posters themselves catapults them into the role of professional biologist. We all benefit through such student participation - it is essential for the professionalism of the students as well as for the intellectual growth of the discipline.

As is true of other divisions of SICB, DIZ encourages excellence in student presentations with an award competition. Under the leadership of Jan Pechenik, prizes were instituted. At the business meeting at the SICB 1996 Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, the bylaws were amended to specify that there be two Best Presenter Awards, one for an oral and one for a poster presentation (see the DIZ minutes for a full report). Thus we encourage student participation not only with words but with tangible incentives, and demonstrate that the choice between presenting a talk and a poster should be based on criteria other than perceived status of the two modes. First prize in each category is $100 cash, free SICB membership renewal for the next year (at the graduate student rate), and $50 in books, as well as, of course, a lovely certificate suitable for framing and an impressive entry on the student's c.v. Second prize is free SICB membership renewal for the next year.

In case of a tie for first place (as we had last year), cash and book prizes are split. By means of these awards, we are demonstrating the centrality of both scholarship and society membership to being a professional. In 1996, not only was there a tie for best poster, but both awardees were from Duke University. They are Michelle Duval (DIZ representative to the SICB Graduate Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee), whose poster was entitled "Release of Feeding Inhibitory Factor in the Sand Fiddler Crab Uca pugilator: Stimulation by Increased Hemolymph Glucose Levels," and Leslie McKelvey, whose poster was entitled "Initial Characterization of a Fish Kairomone Mediating Zooplankton Diel Vertical Migration." DIZ is very grateful to John Wiley and Sons for donating $35 in books both to Michelle and Leslie.

In 1996, first prize for an oral presentation was awarded to home-town man Ben Hanelt of the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, for his talk "Studying the Parasite-Host Interaction of Schistosoma mansoni and Biomphalaria Using PCR." DIZ is very grateful to Oxford University Press for donating $50 in books to Ben. Second prize went to Brian Helmuth of the University of Washington, Seattle, for his talk "Predicting Intertidal Invertebrate Body Temperatures: Why Environmental Averages Aren't the Answer."

The 1996 Graduate Student Best Paper/Poster Awards Committee was orchestrated (there is no better word for it) by Chuck Booth, who merits high praise for creating thorough and useful judging forms in both categories (they are printed in the Fall 1996 SICB Newsletter), ensuring that each entry was judged by several individuals, tallying the scores, and providing feedback to the student entrants. (Another innovation under Jan Pechenik was to return the judging forms to the students to enhance the learning component of their experience.) Thank you, Chuck, for all the time that you obviously invested in this important activity. I regret you will not be in charge of judging at the Boston meeting, but you have set a high standard. Thanks are also due to all who judged. They are named in Chuck's narrative. And special thanks are due to the competitors; without you, the judges would have had nothing to do!

With the SICB 1998 Annual Meeting in Boston less than a year off (January 3-7, 1998), it's not too early to begin thinking about your presentation there. To all students: Please compete for the Best Paper or Best Poster Award. To all supervisors: Please encourage your students to compete. Get a jump on the information that will be distributed by the SICB Business Office on improving presentations by reading Chuck's message in which he provides some of the most common remarks of the judges in Albuquerque. Students learn by imitation and veterans learn by being shown. I urge all you veterans to set high standards in your own presentations and you students to introduce your elders to new technologies and resources.

DIZ is blessedly rich in talent. Completing his term as Program Officer in Albuquerque was Jon Norenburg. Jon's dedication to the Society was evident not only in the sessions that occurred at meetings during his tenure, but in the ways he worked to keeping the SICB machinery running well, paying attention to avoiding conflicting sessions, and working actively to provide the integration and comparison that we see as hallmarks of our Society. He will be succeeded by Damhnait McHugh; her first meeting in this office will occur in her backyard, Boston, so she should expect to be one busy lady!

You belong to a journal-rich division. In addition to publishing our time-honored journal American Zoologist, SICB is involved in the electronic journal Experimental Biology Online, and DIZ supports the American Microscopical Society's Invertebrate Biology. As a SICB member, you receive the first free and, at least for these first two years of its existence, you have free access to the second as well. To receive Invertebrate Biology and show support for our Division and discipline, please consider joining the American Microscopical Society. Just send $18 for the year if you are a student, or $36 if you are not, to the American Microscopical Society, P.O. Box 1897, Lawrence, KS 66044-8897, along with your name, postal address, and e-mail address.

Finally, thanks are due to Donna Wolcott and Jon Norenburg, the Nominating Committee for a successor to Donna as DIZ Secretary. The new DIZ Secretary will take office at the end of the year. Donna and Jon have lined up two excellent candidates. The Secretary is perhaps the most responsible position in the Division, for the Secretary is central to our communication, functioning, and collective memory. Now it is up to all of you, the members of DIZ, to do your civic duty and vote!

Message from the Program Officer

Damhnait McHugh

I was not able to attend the SICB 1996 Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, but all my reports indicate that DIZ participation was as good as ever. There were 25 oral presentations and 18 posters submitted for DIZ scheduling, plus very strong representation by invertebrate biologists in the interdivisional session on "Reproduction and Life Cycles," in the systematics contributed paper session, and in the symposium honoring Stephen A. Wainwright. Well done!

After the Albuquerque meeting, Jon Norenburg turned over the divisional program files to me, and I am working on the program for the SICB 1998 Annual Meeting in Boston. I want to thank Jon for his efforts over the past three years and his help and advice as I begin my three-year stint on the job. There is already a very impressive line-up planned for the Boston meeting. Several of the symposia focus on invertebrates and will be of interest to many of you, I am sure:

  • "Comparative Embryology of Myogenesis"
  • "Coral Reefs and Environmental Change: Adaptation, Acclimation, or Extinction?"
  • "Evolutionary Relationships of Metazoan Phyla: Advances, Problems, and Approaches"
  • "Developmental and Evolutionary Perspectives on Major Transformations in Body Organization"
  • "The Compleat Crustacean Biologist: A Symposium Recognizing the Achievements of Dorothy M. Skinner"
  • "Origin and Further Evolution of Circulatory Systems: An Interdivisional Workshop"

Each symposium will feature corresponding contributed paper sessions and poster groups to enhance discussion among participants with similar research interests. An added feature planned for the Boston meeting is a hands-on workshop on the subject of integrative and comparative biology in the classroom. Watch for further details about all of these events on the SICB home page, in your journals, in e-mail newsgroup listings, etc. Let me know if there are any suggestions you have for Boston and upcoming meetings. Are you satisfied with interdivisional sessions as they were organized in Albuquerque? Are you sure that the list of keywords on the abstract transmittal form includes the primary descriptors for your research? I welcome any and all of your comments. You can reach me via e-mail at

Looking ahead to our SICB 1999 Annual Meeting in Denver, keep in mind that the deadline for submitting symposium or workshop proposals is April 15, 1997. As your new Program Officer, my goal is to work with you towards SICB programs that DIZ members will find interesting, exciting, and intellectually stimulating. So, if you have creative ideas that will add to the program and are willing to submit a proposal to the SICB Program Committee outlining those ideas, I strongly encourage you to go for it - it is a lot of work, but it can also be a lot of fun and very fulfilling! And I will help you in any way I can.

Message from the Secretary

Donna Wolcott

Please review the candidate information for DIZ, and send in your ballot for Secretary. These two very fine young scientists, both active DIZ members, will serve the division well. I'm passing along two announcements; take advantage of each:

SICB has a New Web site

    The URL is Please make sure to visit the site and encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same. Of special interest is the new Job Postings section. Members interested in posting job announcements can submit them to the SICB Business Office. Job postings can be submitted via e-mail ( and can be included in the body of the e-mail message or as attachments (ASCII format).

Grants-in-Aid Research Award Program

    In 1996, the SICB established a Grants-in-Aid of Research program for graduate student members of SICB. Research awards support scientific investigation in the fields of integrative and comparative biology. Awards are made in amounts up to a maximum of $1,000. All applications are reviewed by the Graduate Student Support Committee at the SICB Annual Meeting. The deadline for applications this year is December 1, 1997. Please contact the SICB Business Office if you would like to request an application or if you have any questions about this program.

Message from the Graduate Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee Representative

Michelle Duval

This will be my last year as the Graduate Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee Representative for DIZ, and as such, I have begun to think about a replacement. In the recent past, it seems as though someone has been "volunteered" for this position, because it was not well known that it existed; therefore, we were scrambling for someone to take it. Over the past two years, I have tried to publicize this position a bit more by encouraging students and postdocs at the various events sponsored by this committee, and I have actually had one or two interested folks ask me a few questions. Well, I am now urging all student, postdoc and faculty members to consider this position and to pass the word to likely candidates.

I would also like to suggest a few changes. Traditionally, the DIZ rep has had a three-year term. I would like to change this to one year of "Rep-Elect" and two years of serving as Representative. I think this would give a completely clueless person (such as I was) a chance to see how the committee works and how he/she could contribute most effectively. I also think that it would be nice to make this an elected position; having more than one interested party apply and the rest of the Division vote. I find it difficult to believe that there would be only one interested party throughout the Division who could see the advantages of serving on this committee. I have met many wonderful people and made a lot of useful contacts. I would hope that this alone would encourage people to apply!

On another note, our workshop at the SICB 1996 Annual Meeting was a success. We held a job application workshop subdivided into four topics: c.v./resume writing, grant/scientific writing, oral presentations and interviewing. Participants had time to go to three of the four mini-topics. This forum was well-received, and we plan to use it again at the SICB 1998 Annual Meeting in Boston.

Observations on Best Student Presentation Awards

Chuck Booth

Eleven students (including one undergraduate) participated in this year's DIZ Best Student Paper Award competition, with six students giving oral papers and five presenting posters. Each presentation was evaluated by at least five judges, with most of the judges grading four or more presentations. The winners of the competition and the prizes awarded are listed elsewhere in this newsletter. The consensus of the judges was that the student talks were generally of high quality, whereas the posters left room for improvement. This assessment applies to most of the posters at the meeting, not just those in the competition; clearly, preparing a great poster is more difficult than giving a great talk. Some of the problems identified by the judges include the following:

Talks: Speaker could not be heard and slides could not be seen clearly from the back of the room; some multi-colored slides were especially difficult to read.

Posters: Introduction lacked clear statement of question(s) being addressed; significance of the results was not clearly stated; presenter seemed unwilling or unable to explain his or her poster; misspelled words; excessive written text arranged in the format of a journal article (difficult to read).

SICB is planning to revive the practice of sending all meeting participants written guidelines for preparing effective posters and talks. Armed with that information and the above comments, you should be able to produce flawless talks and posters for the SICB 1998 Annual Meeting in Boston. We all look forward to hearing and seeing them.

The judges for this year's competition were: Chuck Booth, Mary Alice Coffroth, John Clamp, Daphne Fautin, Rachel Merz, Jan Pechenik, Tony Pires, Paul Schroeder and Donna Wolcott.

Upcoming International Meetings

August 2-7, 1998

June 27-July 3, 1998

Minutes of the DIZ Divisional Meeting

Chair Jan Pechenik convened the meeting at 5:20 p.m. on December 27, 1996. Minutes of the last Annual Meeting were approved as published in the Spring 1996 SICB Newsletter.

Multiple Division Affiliations: SICB members will now be able to have their primary membership(s) in two separate Divisions. Currently, 343 list DIZ as their primary affiliation, and another 424 as their secondary affiliation, for a total of 767. DIZ is the second largest Division in SICB. Carole Hickman, Division of Systematic and Evolutionary Biology , invited DIZ members to select DSEB as a second primary affiliation and to attend the DSEB business meeting. She emphasized the centrality of systematics, which would argue for more collaboration and active membership.

SICB Status: Membership is steady, and financially the Society is in the black. The endowment fund has grown.

DIZ Home Page: Larry Spencer is Webmaster for the Division. He requests that we add links (e.g., to marine labs) to make the site a useful source for invertebrate-related information.

Libbie Hyman Fellowship Up-date: Twenty-four applications had been received to date.

Best Student Papers and Posters Awards: Jan expressed his thanks to the Division for its support during his years as Chair. He especially praised Chuck Booth's work with the Best Student Papers Award.

In this year's competition, first prize was won by Ben Hanelt of the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, "Studying the Parasite-Host Interaction of Schistosoma mansoni and Biomphalaria Using PCR." Second prize went to Brian Helmuth, University of Washington, Seattle, "Predicting Intertidal Invertebrate Body Temperatures: Why Environmental Averages Aren't the Answer." Pending amendment of the bylaws (see below), for best student poster, there was a tie: Michelle Duval, Duke University, "Release of Feeding Inhibitory Factor in the Sand Fiddler Crab Uca pugilator: Stimulation by Increased Hemolymph Glucose Levels," and Leslie McKelvey, Duke University, "Initial Characterization of a Fish Kairomone Mediating Zooplankton Diel Vertical Migration."

Jan also praised Jon Norenburg's performance as DIZ Program Officer. Damhnait McHugh is the incoming Program Officer.

Public Affairs: Rachel Merz encouraged us to attend one of the two workshops being held on how to interact with the news media. The workshops are aimed at helping scientists interact with reporters about their own research and about other scientific issues.

Secretary's Report: Donna Wolcott thanked Larry Spencer for contributing an article in the "Great Invertebrate Zoologists" series for the Fall 1996 newsletter. Her request for next Fall's episode prompted Larry to volunteer again. Donna and the Graduate Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee Representative, Michelle Duval, will both be rotating off this year. Daphne Fautin, Jon Norenburg and Donna will serve as the Nominating Committee for Donna's successor, who will serve as Secretary from 1998-2000. Members were asked to consider serving.

SICB 1998 Annual Meeting: Jon Norenburg announced the following symposia for Boston (see the "Message from the Program Officer" for a complete listing). Jon challenged us with the following: Are we overloading with symposia? Can we fill a volume of American Zoologist? It takes about seven symposia in the pipeline to result in six for a meeting. It takes about 18 months to prepare a symposium, so the Spring 1997 deadline is appropriate for proposals for the SICB 1999 Annual Meeting in Denver. Come forward with ideas.

Changes in the American Zoologist: Page limit has gone from 10 to 12, and the minimum number of reprints that must be purchased has been reduced to 100. Page charges have been lowered. This should help to make the journal a more attractive venue for publication. The plan is for one symposium to carry over to the sixth copy of the journal in the following year.

Abstract Submission for Meetings - Feedback and Changes: All wish for the early demise of "the little blue box," with its attendant time-consuming formatting demands. Electronic submission of abstracts over the Internet is available. Suggestion to have copy sent back to the author for proofing was endorsed. Current juxtaposition of abstract and scheduling deadlines leaves only three days for proofing. If abstracts did not need to be published as a volume of the American Zoologist before the meeting, the timing would relax. Overwhelming consensus was that the importance of publication, especially to grad students, outweighed the inconvenience and cost, and should continue.

A suggestion was made to number key words on the abstract form to show priority, and thus to improve placement into appropriate sessions, as was done well with moving talks into systematics sessions this year. Although it might take years to perfect, the Society might consider developing lists of themes and topics, as is being done for neurosciences meetings, from which abstract writers might identify three as most applicable.

Changes to Bylaws - Best Student Paper Awards. Voted to adopt the proposed changes to the bylaws which would permit awards to be given for both papers and posters.

Article XVI. Graduate Student Paper Presentation Awards

    Section 1. At each Annual Meeting of the Division of Invertebrate Zoology, there may be two graduate student monetary awards for best contributed papers or and posters. A first and second prize may be awarded in each category.

    Jan announced that the first place winner now receives $100 and free renewal of membership at the graduate student rate, both expenses paid from the DIZ treasury. Oxford Press awards a $50 gift certificate. In the case of a tie, each winner receives a $35 certificate. Second place receives the free membership. He urged members to approach their publishers about donating to the awards program.

Regional Meetings? Jan inquired if DIZ wishes to pursue having summer meetings, perhaps piggy-backing on regional meetings of other societies, such as ESA. If information on meetings is forwarded to the SICB Business Office, they would do the mailing. Cost being high, suggestion was made to make use of e-mail for regional meeting announcements.

American Microscopical Society: Vicki Pearse inquired whether DIZ might underwrite a graduate student subsidy for subscriptions. It was also suggested that winners in the Best Student Presentations be given AMS membership.

Libbie Hyman Memorial Scholarship: Unanimously endorsed that application for the Libbie Hyman Scholarship not be limited to SICB members. It was urged that students involved in the McNair program for minorities be encouraged to apply for the scholarship. With a final admonition that graduate students are our future, Jan Pechenik transferred the imaginary gavel to Daphne Fautin, incoming Chair of DIZ.

Some Summer 1997 Courses

Darling Marine Center
  May 27 - June 6
Shellfish Mariculture Techniques
Bruce Barber and Chris Davis
  June 9 - 13
Purification and Analysis of Membrane Proteins From Marine Invertebrates

Dr. Michael N. Horst, Professor of Biochemistry, Division of Basic Medical
Sciences, School of Medicine, Mercer University, Macon, Georgia

Friday Harbor Laboratories
  July 21 - August 1
Biology of the Decapoda
Dr. Les Watling, Department of Oceanography, University of Maine
Dr. Brian Kensley, Smithsonian Institution
  June 16 - July 19 (First Term)
Marine Invertebrate Zoology
S. Tyler, T. Williams
  July 21 - August 23 (Second Term)
Comparative Invertebrate Embryology
J.V.D. Biggelaar, R. Strathmann
  July 21 - August 23 (Second Term)
Molluscan Paleobiology
A. Kohn, M. LaBarbera, A. Seilacher
Hopkins Marine Station
  June 16 - July 18
Subtidal Communities (6 units)
  June 16 - July 4
Biomechanics of Intertidal Organisms (5 units)
Oregon Institute of Marine Biology
  Invertebrate Zoology (8 credits)
Charles Hunter
Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory
  July 19-20 and July 26-27
Larval Ecology of Invertebrates (2 credits)
Will Jaeckle and Suzie Balser
  Summer Session 1997
Insect Ecology 547 (4 semester hours)
Dr. Jay Evans, University of Georgia
Shoals Marine Laboratory credit.html
  June 23 - June 30
Dr. Gene Small, University of Maryland
  June 30 - July 21
Adaptations of Marine Organisms
Dr. Dennis J. Taylor, Hiram College
Sarah Jordan, Northeastern University

DIZ Candidates for Election

Candidates for Secretary

Susie (Elizabeth) Balser

Current Position: Assistant Professor of Biology, Illinois Wesleyan University.

Education: B.S., Lander University, 1983; M.S., Clemson University, 1986; Ph.D., Clemson University, 1994.

Professional Experience: Instructor, Erskine College, 1986-87; Postdoctoral Fellow, Marine Station at Link Port, Florida, 1995-96; Advisor, REU program, Shannon Point Marine Center, Washington, 1995.

SICB Activities: Member since 1983. Division of Invertebrate Zoology Representative to the Graduate Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee, 1990-92.

Other Memberships: American Microscopical Society, Western Society of Naturalists, Sigma Xi.

Research Interests: Morphology and function of invertebrate nephridial systems, echinoderm larval development, asexual reproduction, and deuterostome evolution.

Goals Statement: In addition to my responsibilities to the DIZ newsletter, I hope to gain a better understanding of the workings of the Division and Society. I also hope to provide assistance where possible for the improvement of dissemination of information to both the SICB and DIZ membership.

Kevin Krajniak

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University.

Education: B.A., University of San Diego; M.Sc., University of Calgary; Ph.D. University of Florida.

Professional Experience: Research Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Los Angeles, 1990-92; Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow/Adjunct Professor, College of Charleston, 1992-94.

Other Memberships: AAAS; Vice President, Sigma Xi Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville Chapter; Illinois State Academy of Sciences; Tallahassee, Sopchoppy, and Gulf Coast Marine Biological Association.

Research Interests: Structure, function, and regulation of invertebrate neuropeptides; especially the FMRF-amide-related peptides in freshwater clams, annelids, and arthropods.

Goals Statement: As a member of SICB, I have benefited from the interactions with other researchers not only within my primary Division, but also in other Divisions. Since many researchers in other Divisions use invertebrate animals, our Division can play a pivotal role in exposing them to the diversity of the invertebrate phyla. As Division of Invertebrate Zoology Secretary, I hope to encourage these inter- and intra-divisional interactions through the newsletter.

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