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Messages from:
Division Chair & Secretary
Division Program Officer

Division Officers
Student Paper and Poster Awards

DEE: 1998 Spring Newsleter

This Newsletter by Section

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 perspectives.

Best Paper/Poster Awards
We want to thank Mike Hart for coordinating this year’s 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 Mike’s contribution for guidance in developing your presentation.

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 other societies.

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.

Message from the Program Officer

Don Levitan

As a regular attendee at SICB meetings I have at times been frustrated by the lack of coordination among contributed sections and symposia. In the future, I will try to minimize overlap among concurrent sessions. I realize it may be a naive goal, but we will see. One possibility that we have discussed in several DEE meetings is the development of "mini-symposia" which are informal groupings of talks around some conceptual issue. In practice this would result from a group of people simply informing me they wish to be in the same contributed paper session. If enough people do this to fill out a session, the session could have a title (e.g., foraging ecology, population structure, coral bleaching). Please send me feedback on this idea or any other ideas on our program. Officers

Student Paper and Poster Awards

Mike Hart

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


The Best Student Paper award went to John Stachowicz, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, for his presentation on "Reducing Predation Through Chemically Mediated Camouflage: An Herbivore in Disguise." John’s research on decorator crabs combines behavior, biochemistry, natural history and biogeography.

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)."

Criteria and Advice
In evaluating the speakers, we considered both content and presentation. Content included the overall question being asked and the methodology used, as well as analysis and interpretation of results. Presentation was evaluated on the basis of both graphic and verbal presentation. The ability of the speakers to present their work in an interesting and clear manner was very important. Graphics which enhanced and clarified the presentation and impact of the results were also important.

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.

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