Division of Animal Behavior

Fall Newsletter 2019

Alice C. Gibb
Oct 30 · 10 min read

Best Student Presentation Competitions

Seven students have been selected to compete in this year’s Marlene Zuk Award for Best Student Presentation. Our judging panel, composed of the DAB executive committee, Program Officer-elect Kathleen Lynch, and previous Marlene Zuk Award winner Sydney Hope selected these finalists on the basis of their extended abstracts. The finalists are (in reverse alphabetical order): Yusan Yang, Lewis Naisbett-Jones, Liza Mitchem, Kayla Goforth, Zachary Emberts, Jason Dinh, and Kelsey Brass. These students will each present the results of their research in a special “Zuk Award” session on January 5th starting at 1:30 pm. Please join us in congratulating these finalists!

Austin, Texas is the site of the upcoming annual SICB meeting. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

We will also have 30 students competing for the Elizabeth Adkins-Regan Award for Best Student Poster in the poster sessions. If you are interested in serving as a judge in the poster competition, please indicate your interest when you register for the conference, or contact DAB Secretary Erica Westerman at Secretary.DAB@sicb.org.

Message from the Chair, Kendra Sewall, Chair.DAB@sicb.org

We are looking forward to our annual meeting in Austin, TX, this coming January and hope folks will participate in several opportunities through the DAB, especially those events that support our students and early career members! Please join us for the following:

  • DAB Mentoring Program: We are rolling out our first mentoring program at the 2020 conference — PLEASE SIGN UP TO BE MENTORED OR TO MENTOR — OR BOTH!! In an effort to help DAB members, especially students, get broader perspectives and advice we are organizing a mentoring program in which matched teams will communicate before, during, and after the meeting. The topic of mentoring can be broad and meetings can occur during our annual social so please sign up (https://forms.gle/eRfnZp29qmfhwCfs9). Even if you can’t participate, sharing this information with trainees and through social media is a huge help. More details are on the form and below.
  • Student talk and poster awards: These sessions highlight the best work our students are doing so they are about a lot more than just the competition. Please attend these events to support our students and consider volunteering to judge them.
  • Building community: Please join us for our DAB social and the DAB Members Meeting. The members meeting is actually fun, open to everyone, and a great way to learn about and help shape our division. We are not an elitist group — we want input and help from members at all career stages and from diverse areas of interest!
  • Organizing symposia: Because we are so integrative our division supports a lot of symposia. However, we have few symposia that are focused on behavior. If you have ideas for a symposium for the 2021 meeting in Washington, D.C. that would focus on behavior please contact our new Program Officer, Kathleen Lynch. Organizing a symposium can be a great way to highlight your work and all symposium papers are published in Integrative and Comparative Biology.
  • Leadership opportunities: Please consider nominating yourself or someone else for the position of DAB Secretary or Student or Postdoc representative. These are outstanding opportunities for students and early career members to build their network and service portfolio.

More about the mentoring program: The objective of the SICB DAB mentoring program is for interested members to identify mentors outside of the network immediately available to them. We feel that this objective demands iterative interactions. Therefore, to participate in the mentoring program both mentors and the mentees must commit to:
(1) Communicate by email or phone before the meeting about areas of interest and mentoring need.
(2) In advance of the conference, arrange a ‘Mentoring Meet-up” that is sufficiently long for each mentee in the group to have 20 minutes of focused attention. We strongly encourage meet-ups during the DAB social, or during coffee breaks or poster sessions, so that space and refreshments will be provided.
(3) Follow up through at least two emails or interactions after the conference to communicate about progress on the mentee’s goals and concerns.

To sign up, just fill out the google form (https://forms.gle/eRfnZp29qmfhwCfs9) and we will be in touch with team assignments. Thanks to Rindy Anderson, Jenny Gumm, Sydney Hope, Kathleen Lynch, Scott MacDougall-Shackelton, and Erica Lynn Westerman for help starting this initiative.

Nominating Committee Information: This coming spring we will be electing a new DAB Secretary, who will take over from Erica Westerman at the end of the 2021 meeting. Duties of the secretary can be found at http://www.sicb.org/about/constitution.php3#dabbylaws. Currently our DAB officers act as the nominating committee for our division, but we would love to have broader participation in the nomination process! And we strongly encourage self nomination. If you are interested in being part of the DAB nominating committee, or if you would like to run for DAB Secretary in Spring 2020 (or are interested in running for Chair or Program Officer in future years), please contact Kendra (DAB Chair, ksewall@vt.edu), Scott (DAB Program Officer, DPO.DAB@sicb.org), or Erica (DAB Secretary, ewesterm@uark.edu).

Message from the Program Officer, Scott MacDougall-Shackleton, DPO.DAB@sicb.org

The 2020 meeting in Austin is shaping up to be another large one, with an amazing array of talks, posters, and symposia. Program officers met in October 2019, and the venue looks great, with lots of nearby restaurants, a nearby market, and taco trucks within two blocks. The hotel and conference facilities are all in the same building with an outdoor pool (heated) and large fitness room. The river is just a few blocks away. Let’s hope it is warmer than the last time we were in Austin! Remember to bring a water bottle and coffee mug. Water dispensers will be available in all the presentation rooms for you to refill you cups, but we won’t be providing disposable cups.

The program committee processed almost 2000 abstract submissions into 140 sessions and 11 symposia. Almost 400 of those were on topics related to Animal Behavior. This year the Division of Animal Behaviour co-sponsored the following symposia: 1) Epigenetic Variation in Endocrine Systems, 2) Reproduction: the female perspective from an integrative and comparative framework, 3) Bio-inspiration of silent flight of owls and other flying animals: recent advances and unanswered questions, 4) Long Limbless Locomotors: The mechanics and biology of elongate, limbless vertebrate locomotion, 5) Applied Functional Biology: linking ecological morphology to conservation and management, and 6) Integrative comparative cognition: can neurobiology and neurogenomics inform comparative analyses of cognitive phenotype?

Left: Program Officers hard at work coordinating presentations. Right: The infamous board of abstracts.

Planning for the 2020 SICB meeting in Austin: Please don’t forget that presenters must register by November 6, 2019 and early registration discounts end on December 4th!

The meeting will be held at the JW Marriott Austin. Please remember to make hotel reservations early! Child care will be provided for free this year by Preferred Sitters, the same group that has provided care at SICB for the last 5 years. To register for childcare, please send an e-mail to: preferredsitters@msn.com. The email must include the following information: full name, telephone number, email address, children’s name(s), ages and any special instructions/needs. Additional information is available on the meetings travel page: https://burkclients.com/sicb/meetings/2020/site/childcare.html. Please register by December 4th if you would like to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

Message from the Secretary, Erica Westerman, Secretary.DAB@sicb.org

Looking forward to seeing you all in Austin this January! It’s hard to believe we are preparing to elect a new DAB Secretary in Spring 2020, it feels like I was just elected into this role. If you are interested in being DAB Secretary, or if you would like to nominate someone for the position, please let me know, I am happy to discuss the role and responsibilities that come along with this enjoyable service to DAB and SICB. One of my goals as Secretary has been to make this newsletter more relevant to DAB members. Along those lines, I have added, and am continuing to build, a section highlighting funding opportunities for graduate students and postdocs in animal behavior (see below). If you have a funding opportunity you would like me to include, please contact me at Secretary.DAB@sicb.org.

The Best Student Presentation competitions are always a highlight of our annual meeting. DAB supports one of the largest and most dynamic BSP competitions in our society, and these competitions are made possible by the dedication and the many DAB judges. As you prepare for Austin, please consider serving as a judge for this year’s post competition- your thoughtful critiques of our student’s work are critical for this competition and are always much appreciated by the students.

Our division has an ever-increasing presence on social media, and as you prepare for Tampa, make sure to check out @SICB_DAB on Twitter, or join the “SICB Division of Animal Behavior” group on Facebook. There’s always a lot to share in the weeks and months leading up to the annual meeting! You also have the opportunity to participate in SICB’s online Researchers Database. If you would like to have your infor- mation included in this database, please send me a word document or PDF with your name, a brief description of your work, and a high-resolution .jpg photograph, at Secretary. DAB@sicb.org.

Message from the Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee Representative, Sydney Hope

We’re excited for what’s in store for this year’s meeting in Austin! For the first time, DAB is organizing a mentor/mentee program, aimed to match a small group of students/post-docs with a senior researcher. This is a great networking opportunity! Details about the program and the sign-up form can be found here: (https://forms.gle/eRfnZp29qmfhwCfs9). Please sign-up before November 1.

Additionally, the SPDAC will be holding two main events: a booth at the Exhibitor’s Hall and a lunch-time workshop. The booth will have a “How-To” theme. We will have “How-To” brochures on a wide range of topics (e.g., science communication, research and teaching statement design, creating a symposium proposal, getting a post-doc, etc.). Please email me (shope@vt.edu) if you have any ideas/requests for brochures that we should include!

Lastly, the SPDAC workshop will be addressing “Transitions in Science”. This will be a round-table discussion aiming to answer questions related to the major transitions of science careers (e.g., undergraduate to graduate student, PhD to postdoc, academia, or other career paths). We hope that many students and post-docs will be able to attend! But, we also need other senior scientists (all career stages, diverse career paths) to attend in order for this to be a success. If you are a senior scientist interested in joining this workshop, please email me (shope@vt.edu)!

SICB Student and Postdoc Funding Opportunities: While the deadlines for the Broadening Participation Travel Award (funds to attend the 2020 SICB meeting), Charlotte Magnum Student Support Program (funds to attend the 2020 SICB meeting), Dorothy M. Skinner Award (funds for female scientists (often postdocs) to attend the 2020 SICB meeting), and GIAR/FGST(funds to support student research (Grants in Aid of Research and Fellowship of Graduate Student Travel awards) have already past, I wanted to bring these funding opportunities to the attention of the students and postdocs in DAB. If you missed the deadline this year, plan for next year! It is usually in the middle of October.

For the many DAB student members who work with invertebrates, the Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship, which funds student research on invertebrates at field stations, is usually due in early February each year. Please check out the Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship website for details and current deadlines:sicb.org/grants/hyman. And for the many DAB student members who are also members of the Animal Behavior Society, the ABS Student Research Grant applications are due December 15th. These are small research grants for graduate students working in the field of animal behavior. Please check out the ABS student research grant website for details: www.animalbehaviorsociety.org/web/ awards-student-grants.php. There are also new Graduate Research Excellence Grants from the Society for the Study of Evolution which may also be applicable to many graduate student DAB members. Applications are due in February and September. Please check out the SSE graduate research excellence grants website for details: www.evolutionsociety.org/content/society-awards-and-prizes/graduate-research- excellence-grants.html.

For graduate students wrapping up their degrees, or brand-new postdocs, the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Research Fellowship application is due Monday July 1st, 2019. Applicants must be within 12 months of their graduation to apply. Details can be found at: http://hhwf.org/research-fellowship/application/. The NIH NRSA postdoctoral fellowship application has three submission deadlines a year. The winter deadline is December 8th, 2019, and the spring deadline is April 8th, 2020. Details can be found here: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-19-188.html. While the NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology applications are due November 19th, 2019. Details can be found here: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503622&org=NSF.

Welcome DAB’s Incoming Program Officer!

Kathleen Lynch
Kathleen Lynch
Kathleen Lynch

Kathleen Lynch, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Hofstra University was elected to the position of DAB Program Officer last spring. Kathleen, a former DAB Best Student Presentation winner, has been a SICB meeting participant since 2002, and has been active both as a best student poster and presentation judge, and as a symposium co-organizer over the last few years. We are excited to welcome her to a new leadership position in the division. During her upcoming term as the Program Officer of the division, Kathleen looks forward to creating integrated sessions that present both the ultimate and proximate mechanisms of behavior. She also aims to reach out to early career scientists and scientists from underrepresented backgrounds to encourage new ideas for symposia. Congratulations Kathleen!

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