DAB: 1998 Spring Newsleter
This Newsletter by Section
Message from the Chair
As has been the case over the last several years, the DAB business meeting at the 1998
SICB Annual Meeting in Boston was an intimate gathering. And as has also been the case,
our discussion centered on the relatively small size of our division. How can we increase
membership in the division or participation by members at meetings? Should we try to merge
with another like-minded division? What is the role of DAB in the larger context of SICB?
There was a new element added to the discussion this year, one that I that many of
us found refreshing. Sure were small, but whats wrong with that? We
discussed the idea of merger with another like-minded division (as we have discussed in
the past), but we agreed that DAB makes a unique contribution that might be lost if we
merged. What is this contribution? We agreed that it is to continue to sponsor first-rate
symposia and contributed paper sessions. We also agreed that our ability to do so
doesnt seem to be compromised by our relatively small size, as evidenced by the
string of important and well-received symposia we have sponsored over the last few years.
Because animal behavior is an inherently integrative discipline, its inevitable
that SICB members with an interest in behavior will usually have an equally strong
interest in other divisions. The reverse is also true. DAB symposia (and paper sessions)
tend to be of broad interest to the rest of the society because there are so many areas of
overlap. So, in spite of the fact that we are a small division, we have had and can
continue to have a large impact on both SICB and the field of animal behavior by helping
to provide a venue for emerging ideas.
Of course, we still want to increase active participation by our members! Recruiting
more active participants is a continuous, ongoing project. But we do have a ready supply
of fresh recruits. There are more people with a real interest in animal behavior at SICB
meetings than we might guess! We need to continue to attract high-quality papers for our
contributed sessions. We need to encourage more participation in meetings by student
members. We need to continue to generate and support ideas for symposia. I think all of
these goals will be facilitated if we can get to know each other better, especially if we
can get to know SICB members who have an interest in behavior even if they dont list
animal behavior as a primary interest. To this end, we thought the DAB should sponsor a
social hour at the 1999 SICB Annual Meeting in Denver that is open to anyone in the
society with an interest in behavior. Perhaps we can call it the "Friends of the DAB
Social." Denver will be a very good meeting to expand our connections in this way
because the symposium on animal consciousness we are co-sponsoring is sure to attract a
large and diverse crowd.
I would like to note some changes in our roster of officers. Tamatha Barbeau has signed
on to be our student representative. We are delighted Tamatha will be part of the team and
look forward to her helping us develop ideas for attracting and supporting graduate
student participation! We should all say "thank you" to Brent Graves who has
stepped down as our program officer. Brent served us above and beyond the call of duty and
we are grateful for his efforts.
Finally, Peter Smallwood, Tamatha and I are eager to hear your ideas for symposia, or
any other initiatives you think DAB should undertake. We may be small, but we move fast!
Let us know what you think.
Message from the Secretary
Peter D. Smallwood
Best Student Awards!
Congratulations are in order. Christopher K. Cratsley of Tufts University won the DAB Best
Student Poster Award. The title of his presentation was "Variation in the Nuptial
Fifts of Photinus Ignitus Males and the Potential for Female Choice." Sabrina S.
Burmeister, from the University of Texas at Austin, won the Best Student Paper Award, and
the A.M. Wenner Strong Inference Award (for the paper best exemplifying the use of strong
inference in their experimental design). These are actually two separate awards, each with
its own cash prize, most often given to separate papers. In this case, the judges agreed
that Sabrinas paper was both the best oral presentation and the best example of the
use of strong inference. Congratulations to Sabrina and Christopher, and thanks to all who
All graduate students are encouraged to compete for these awards at the 1999 SICB
Annual Meeting in Denver. To be eligible for 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. Further information about support for graduate student attendance of the SICB
meeting can be found in the SICB Annual Meeting Abstract Guidelines to be mailed soon.
Check it out: SICB can usually provide for your lodging in exchange for a 1/2 day of help
(e.g., running the slide projector for an afternoon).
As Steve mentioned earlier, Brent Graves term as program officer has expired. He has
served many years and has stepped down, though he continues to be active in SICB.
Steves term as chair has also expired, but he has agreed to run for one more term to
provide for continuity within our division. Both candidates are running unopposed. PLEASE
VOTE, even in uncontested elections, we need to see your support for the officers.
Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee Report
Tamatha Barbeau, DAB Representative to the Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee
Greetings to all SICB members! My name is Tamatha Barbeau and I was recently selected
by the Division of Animal Behavior to be the representative on the Student/Postdoctoral
Affairs Committee. I am a first year graduate student in the Department of Zoology at the
University of Florida.
Currently, for my masters research, I am conducting a comparative behavioral
study on seven species of native Florida hylid frogs. The primary aim of this study is to
document the presence and patterns of body wiping behavior exhibited by hylid frogs.
Secondarily, I am examining secretions from cutaneous glands in these species, looking for
the presence of lipids which may have an adaptive role in reducing cutaneous water loss.
In this study, I will also investigate any correlation between the presence of these
behaviors and specific rates of cutaneous evaporative water loss, as well as the
geographic distribution of these species within Florida. Preliminary results of this study
were presented at the most recent 1998 SICB Annual Meeting in Boston (American
Zoologist v.37, No.5: Pp 34-A, abstract 120).
I look forward to working with DAB and welcome any input from other representatives or
SICB members regarding future symposia and divisional matters.
DAB Candidates for Election
Candidate for Chair
Current Position: Associate Professor of Zoology, Neurobiology and Experimental
Psychology, Duke University.
Education: B.S., Tufts University, 1976; M.S., Tufts University, 1979; Ph.D., Cornell
Professional Experience: Postdoctoral Fellow, 1984-86, Assistant Professor,
1986-89, Rockefeller University; Assistant Professor of Zoology, 1989-94, Associate
Professor of Zoology, Neurobiology and Psychology, 1994 - present, Duke University.
SICB Activities: Chair, Division of Animal Behavior, 1996-98; Graduate Student
Grants-in-Aid Review Committee, 1996-98.
Other Memberships: Animal Behavior Society, Fellow, 1998; Member, Psychobiology,
Behavior and Neuroscience Review Committee, NIMH,1994-98; Acoustical Society of America,
Bioacoustics Technical Advisory Group, 1992-present; American Ornithologists Union;
Cooper Ornithological Society; Highlands Biological Foundation, Trustee, 1993-present;
International Society for Neuroethology; Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory; Society for
Research Interests: I study the structure, function and evolution of animal
communication systems. I am especially interested in the interface between physiology,
development and evolution. My current research includes work on the functional morphology
of signal production, motor constraints on signal evolution, sexual selection and the
evolution of signal complexity. I work primarily on birds, but my students projects
include comparative studies of communication in other taxa such as crustaceans, lizards
Goals Statement: The Division of Animal Behavior, although it is a relatively
small division in SICB, has a long history as a venue for animal behavior research and
continues to be an important outlet for many of us who study behavior. I will continue to
work to make the DAB a springboard for innovative symposia that build on integrative
approaches to the study of behavior. I will also work to provide support and other
opportunities for student members of DAB.
Candidate for Program Officer
Peggy S. M. Hill
Current Position: Assistant Professor of Biological Science, University of
Education: B.S. in Education, University of Tulsa, 1975; B.S. in Natural
Sciences, University of Tulsa, 1977; Ph.D. in Zoology, University of Oklahoma, 1996.
Professional Experience: Assistant Professor of Biological Science, and member
of the Native American Studies Program, 1996-present, Instructor of Biological Science,
1987-96, University of Tulsa; Classroom Teacher, 1977-87, Booker T. Washington High
School, Tulsa, Okla.
SICB Activities: Member since 1990; DAB Best Paper Award Committee and paper
session co-chair, 1997, 1998. Other Memberships: Animal Behavior Society, International
Society of Behavioral Ecologists, Sigma Xi, Society for Conservation Biology.
Research Interests: I have been working with animal behavior in both honeybees
(foraging ecology) and prairie mole crickets (acoustic communication), and my major
long-term interest is in how animals use sensory cues to make choices in resource
acquisition (foraging or reproduction).
Goals Statement: My general goal as an SICB member is to help to promote the
society as a leader in bringing focus to issues in integrative and comparative biology
through our annual symposia. My parallel goals continue to include encouraging the
participation of minorities and women in the work of SICB.