Message from the Chair
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
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
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
- "Evolutionary Relationships of Metazoan Phyla: Advances, Problems, and
- "Developmental and Evolutionary Perspectives on Major Transformations in Body
- "The Compleat Crustacean Biologist: A Symposium Recognizing the Achievements of
Dorothy M. Skinner"
- "Origin and Further Evolution of Circulatory Systems: An Interdivisional
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 Graduate Student/Postdoctoral
Affairs Committee Representative
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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,
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.