DVM: 1998 Spring Newsleter
This Newsletter by Section
Message from the Chair
Peter C. Wainwright
Greetings to all of you. As most of you will have been at the 1998 SICB Annual Meeting
in Boston this past January, then you are well aware of what a terrific event that was. In
addition to the excellent DVM sessions and the interdivisional sessions, I thought there
were some truly outstanding symposia. I was particularly impressed with the
"Development and Evolutionary Perspectives on Major Transformation in Body
Organization" and "Evolutionary Relationships of Metazoan Phylogeny: Advances,
Problems and Approaches" symposia. Both were excellent examples of what makes SICB
unique. Their topics were broad, substantive and integrative in nature.
I want to take this opportunity to urge all of you to think about future symposia. SICB
emphasizes symposia more than most other societies, as most of the contributions go on to
make up the publication American Zoologist. Because of this, symposia really do
become one of the principal legacies of our society. Therefore, it is important that we
make them as strong as possible. Please give some thought to possible symposia subjects.
Consider organizing one yourself. If you come up with an idea you are excited about but do
not wish to pursue the development of the symposium, then pass your idea along to me or
Kurt Schwenk. Think big!
It is a pleasure for me to announce the winners of the DVM student paper prizes. The
Davis Award for the best oral paper went to Brad Wright from the University of Chicago for
his talk entitled, "Oscillation Versus Undulation in Balistiform Locomotion."
The winner of the DVM student poster prize was Richard Blob, also from the University of
Chicago for his poster, "Vertebral Markers for Vent Position in Lizards: Applications
for Functional Studies." I saw both presentations and am delighted that the tradition
of excellent student presentations that marks the DVM was highlighted by such outstanding
pieces of research. Congratulations to both Brad and Richard!
On a sadder note, I must report this year will be Jim Hankens last as editor of American
Zoologist. Jim has done a great job over the past few years in making innovations in
our journal which have kept pace with the many changes to the society. As a member of our
own division, Jim represented us well. I know we all are grateful to him for the
extraordinary job that he did with the journal during his tenure as editor. It will be a
difficult task to replace Jim. This is an important position for our society and I would
ask all of you to give this some thought. Please relay any ideas you have about Jims
possible replacement to me or directly to Jim.
In closing, I would simply like to wish all of you an enjoyable and very productive
summer! Best of luck to everyone until we meet again at the 1999 SICB Annual Meeting in
Message from the Program Officer
For many of us in the East this newsletter is a welcome harbinger of spring, though as
I write the New England winter continues unabated outside. The 1998 SICB Annual Meeting in
Boston is a recent and pleasant memory the weather was mild, the food good and the
variety of microbrews dizzying! Oh yes, the talks were also great. Indeed, there was a
virtual embarrassment of riches. The problem most of us faced was deciding among
conflicting papers. This, of course, is a perennial problem for DVMers (an inquisitive lot
by nature) and the bane of the program officers existence, or so I am learning.
Conflicts between DVM paper sessions and related interdivisional sessions, or symposia,
are likely to remain inescapable. However, in the coming year my fortuitous geographic
proximity to the SICB program officer (fellow DVMer Willy Bemis) will allow me to travel
to Amherst at the appropriate time where I might, under the guise of "helping,"
exert undue influence on behalf of DVM to mitigate such conflicts. In the long term, there
is discussion of extending the meeting time for one day, but this remains on a distant
horizon, so please do not e-mail the head office with praise or protest just yet!
The Northeastern Regional Meeting of DVM at the University of Connecticut last October
was a great success. I urge all who can to attend the next meeting at the Museum of
Comparative Zoology, Harvard. It is organized by Kate Jackson (email@example.com) and Tomasz Owerkowicz
(firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are in
the Northeast and did not receive an e-mail announcement for the UConn meeting, be sure to
contact Kate or Tomasz to have your address added to the master list. All others are
welcome to attend if in the vicinity (and if willing to undergo an unpleasant hazing
ritual to become an honorary easterner).
The next SICB Annual Meeting will be at the Adams Mark Hotel in Denver, Jan.
6-10, 1999. Please note that, not only is Denver a great city and the hotel reputed to be
excellent, but the rates will be only $70 single/double, a real bargain. There will be
three symposia of direct interest to DVM:
- "Function and Evolution of the Vertebrate Axis," organized by J. H. Long, Jr.
and T. J. Koob
- "Teaching Biology and the WWW," organized by M. L. Blum and S. Nowicki
- "The Evolutionary Origin of Feathers," organized by P. F. A. Maderson and D.G.
The deadline for DVM-sponsored symposia proposals for the Atlanta Meeting in 2000 is
April 15, 1998. You can obtain a proposal submittal form by requesting one from the
Chicago office (SICB@BurkInc.com). I will be happy to work with anyone who needs information,
or wants to discuss ideas or strategies.
Finally, I would like to use this forum to thank John Hermanson who has toiled quietly,
yet powerfully, on behalf of the division. As I begin to glean the difficulties and
complexities of the program officers job, I appreciate all the more Johns
great skill and effectiveness in the job. John has left things in very good shape, so any
foul-ups that occur henceforth can be unambiguously attributed to me.
Message from the Secretary
Minutes of the Business Meeting
January 4, 1998
Peter Wainwright, DVM chair, began by thanking the outgoing secretary, Dominique
Homberger, and program officer, John Hermanson, for their excellent work. He also thanked
John Bertram and the Nominating Committee for their efforts in the recent DVM elections.
Wainwright reported that SICBs Executive Committee had approved, in order to offset
an expected budget shortfall, a ten percent increase in membership dues. The committee
requested feedback on this issue from SICB members.
After an introduction by Wainwright, Hermanson issued his report of the program
officers meeting. Of primary concern to the division was the issue of whether the society
should continue to organize itself by divisions and whether DVM wished to decrease the
proportion of contributed papers presented orally. In response to concerns, Hermanson
encouraged members to continue interdivisional sessions as an experiment for several
years, in spite of the conflicts such sessions create with divisional sessions. Divisional
issues such as these, explained Kurt Schwenk, new DVM program officer, are coming to the
forefront in the society. Because of the changes underway, argued Homberger, DVM should
prepare and present its position at the societys business meeting.
The following motion, moved by Richard Wassersug, passed by unanimous voice vote:
"The Division of Vertebrate Morphology is happy to remain the Division of Vertebrate
Morphology." Wassersug presented a second motion, which passed with votes of 23
"yes," two "no," and five "abstain:" "The Division of
Vertebrate Morphology wishes to maintain contributed paper sessions." Wainwright was
charged to present these divisional positions to SICB at large at the business meeting. If
you wish to comment, please contact either Schwenk or Wainwright.
DVM Web Site to be Revamped
In order to facilitate communication among our members, Im working with Kerry Clark,
the chair of the SICB Electronic Communications Committee, to redesign the DVM web site to
become a useful resource for teaching, research and job-hunting in the field of vertebrate
morphology. Such a site may help us begin to answer the call, as put forth by previous DVM
Secretary, Dominique Homberger, in her last message (p. 38, Fall 1998 SICB Newsletter), to
revitalize the science of organismal structure and avoid further erosion of our presence
in academia. I, for one, would benefit from a site that included:
- Links to other DVM member web sites.
- Resources for teaching vertebrate morphology.
- News on available academic positions for graduate students and professors alike.
- A screened message board with updates on the status of our profession.
- A site for the latest news on equipment, animals and techniques.
- Links to online journals.
If you have suggestions for what else might be included, please contact me (email@example.com). Also, I will be asking, in the
next several months, for contributions (links, news or graphics) from our members.