Message from the Chair and Secretary
Dianna K. Padilla and Sarah Cohen
For those of you who were unable to join us at the 1998 SICB Annual Meeting in Boston,
we are very happy to report that the meetings were a great success. We had interesting and
well-attended symposia, as well as contributed paper sessions and poster contributions
from DEE. The coral reefs symposium was particularly well-attended, and drew a diverse
audience beyond the normal scope of SICB. Congratulations to the organizers, Howard Lasker
and Robert Buddemeier!
Upcoming Meetings and Symposia Planning
Now is the time to be planning mini-symposia for the 1999 SICB Annual Meeting in Denver,
Jan. 6-10, 1999 and for the Atlanta meeting, Jan. 4-8, 2000. Society-wide symposia
proposals for Atlanta are due April 15. If you have ideas about a society-wide symposium
for future meetings, contact the SICB program officer, Willy Bemis or program
officer-elect, John Pearse.
If you would like to sponsor divisional or cross-divisional symposia, mini and maxi,
send proposals to Dianna and Don. Although we do not have the funds to pay for symposium
speakers, we do have some funds for treats and socials for mini-symposia. We would
particularly like to encourage cross-taxon symposia including animal, plant and microbial
Best Paper/Poster Awards
We want to thank Mike Hart for coordinating this years judging and volunteering to
coordinate judging for next year. If you plan on attending the 1999 meeting in Denver and
are willing to help judge, please contact Mike.
This year we were pleased to see a large increase in the number of students competing
for the best paper award. There were many very excellent presentations. We strongly
encourage students to participate in both the best paper and best poster competitions at
future meetings. Please see Mikes contribution for guidance in developing your
This funding program for graduate students is receiving increasing numbers of applications
from all sections. We were glad to have had some last minute assistance from Ted Grosholz
in the judging process. Several DEE members received awards. Congratulations! The fund
used for the Grants-in-Aid program is accepting contributions. This would be an excellent
place to contribute gifts which would be put to very good use!
DEE Activities to Join
Make Your Ideas Happen
Unlike many large biological organizations, individuals can have a large impact on SICB
policies. One way to do so is to become involved with DEE. If you have ideas about what
you would like to see this society do, or ways you would like the society to change, there
are many opportunities to get involved through DEE.
Please do volunteer for committees and committee activities such as judging student
paper, poster and grant awards, and the DEE Nominating Committee. We would like to thank
all of those who have served. Currently, we need to fill several openings on the
Nominating Committee. We would like to form this as a standing committee, with a
three-year term for members, as almost every year we need to fill positions. If you would
like to serve on these or any committees please let us know. This is the easiest
way to make an impact on the directions the society moves, on issues such as meeting
venues and costs, meeting schedules, symposia and scheduling, and collaborations with
DEE will be nominating candidates for chair-elect this year. That way an election may
occur before the Denver meeting. The new chair-elect will then attend the Denver business
meetings and have a chance to meet with the current chair.
We are in the process of discussing a more regular affiliation with the Ecological Society
of America (ESA) and would like your feedback on this issue. The co-sponsorship at the
Boston meeting appears to have been wildly successful and brought many attendees who would
not necessarily have thought of attending an SICB meeting otherwise. This type of
co-sponsorship allows ESA members to attend SICB and present papers. ESA members looking
for a smaller, potentially more interactive venue than the summer ESA meetings are
attracted to the winter SICB programs. SICB also provides an alternative to summer
meetings for field ecologists who find it difficult to attend ESA meetings in August.
There was discussion at the business meeting regarding a potential merger of DEE with
the Division of Animal Behavior. DAB is relatively small at the present time.
Historically, this division was quite large, and eventually its members started their own
society, the Society of Animal Behavior. The Animal Behavior meetings have subsequently
become the focal meeting for many previous members. Several pros and cons of this merger
have been discussed. We would encourage your feedback on this issue as well.
Fees and Funding
Thanks to some active lobbying by DEE and members from diverse sections, please note the
new postdoctoral fee structure. The reduced postdoctoral rate is now available for up to
five years. If you have questions about whether or not you qualify for the postdoctoral
fee, or would like special consideration, please contact SICB.
Due to the high quality of a number of presentations, the judges had a very difficult
job this year. Our congratulations to all who participated
Honorable mention went to Andrew Baker for his paper on "Biogeography and Ecology
of Symbiont Diversity in Scleractnian Corals" and Alex Cheroske for "Ontogenetic
Variation in Performace and Diet in Two Sympatric Embiotocids (Embiotocidae)."
We considered presentation for two reasons: first, because audiences at a large meeting
want to be entertained as well as informed; second, because many student presentations are
based on preliminary data or ongoing research.
The best talks were based on interesting questions put in a general context, with
well-designed experiments or observations that produced sufficient data to answer the
question(s). More importantly, a good talk was given in an engaging style, with clear and
uncluttered graphics, and had a well-designed progression from beginning to middle to end.
The best speakers had clearly thought about the difference between (1) presenting ideas
and information verbally and graphically to a live audience in a darkened room and (2)
writing a manuscript on paper for anonymous journal readers.