Division of Invertebrate Zoology

Spring 2019 Newsletter

Message from the Chair, Ken Halanych, Chair.DIZ@sicb.org

VOTE PLEASE! See elections information below; this is important.

Tampa at night (photo credit: SICB student photographer)

DIZ had a strong showing at the Tampa meetings in January. Learning about amazing new scientific studies, while reconnecting with colleagues and friends, is always a spectacular way to spend the week. Although the meeting has grown in size over the past several years, I still cannot think of a scientific meeting that is more welcoming and comfortable for individuals at all career stages. Of course, this atmosphere is made possible by how SICB and DIZ are organized and run. DIZ has been fortunate to have a cadre of exceptionally giving individuals who are interesting in seeing the Division and its members succeed. However, we need more participation in running the Division especially by early career investigators and graduate students. Yes, the number of offices is limited, but there are often several other activities and functions where your participation can have a meaningful impact. Typically, one hears about such things through word of mouth at DIZ functions (social, business meeting) at the annual meeting.

DIZ had an unusually busy meeting this time and many of these activities will be mentioned more fully in the other sections of this newsletter. Hand-in-hand with making these activities successful, is the hard work, time and effort of several individuals who deserve our appreciation. This past meeting hosted a successful Libbie Hyman Auction that added a tidy sum to that endowment which currently stands at about $150,000. If you want to know how much was raised, please read Abigail Cahill’s report below. Abigail did a wonderful job pulling an auction committee together to help solicit donations and running the auction! Tying the auctions to the DIZ social once again seemed to be financially lucrative! Funds raised help support students with initial visits to field stations so that they can get direct hands on experiences with invertebrate animals. If you want to know who this year’s recipient was then please read Jennifer Burnaford’s report. A thank you also goes out to Jennifer and the committee for efforts with the Hyman fund.

As you all know symposia are at the heart of SICB meetings. In Tampa, we hosted four symposia, including a Society-wide symposium on “Integrative Plant Biology”. Although at first glance this may seem outside the Division’s purview, we are a Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology and DIZ fully supports the efforts to make the Society more representative of biological studies beyond animals. We will also be hosting several more symposia at the next meeting. For those details, I would refer to you to Program Officer report. Linda Walters, the Program Officer, deserves the thanks of all DIZ members for her effort with the program. This officer position requires, hands down, the greatest time and commitment of any divisional officer position.

This meeting also signaled a change in Divisional Secretary. Sarah Berke has been fabulous in serving the DIZ, helping John Zardus (past Chair) and myself! Justin McAlister has taken over and has already jumped right in!

Parting Shot: SICB can help serve as your voice on science, research, or education matters that may be larger than an individual researcher. For example, SICB signed on to a letter that helped NSF Biology change course on proposal submission guidelines. Also, the Society is very active and progressive and is addressing issues of inclusiveness and diversity. As we are the experts, we need to be the ones to help inform our science and education agencies as to what is in the best interest of the community. One such concern presently is to what degree should publicly-funded research be mandated to be published in journals that are 100% open access (e.g., the proposed Plan-S). This has major potential consequences for societies such as SICB. Please see Marcia McNutt’s editorial in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences USA (https://www.pnas.org/content/116/7/2400). Although my personal opinion is that Plan S is overreach, you should be aware of this proposal, the potential implications, and let your society leaders know what you think about it and if they should act. —Ken Halanych

UCF students assisting with oyster reef monitoring in the field in Florida in winter months. Photo credit: Linda Walters

Message from the Program Officer, Linda Walters, DPO.DIZ@sicb.org

Hi DIZ friends,

Another great annual meeting for SICB and DIZ is behind us. I hope everyone appreciated the warmth and hospitality of the Tampa Bay area. I know I enjoyed walking around the city, traveling to new, fun restaurants, re-connecting with friends at University of Tampa, and visiting the Aquarium. The Tampa Bay Convention Center was still under construction in October when the program planning committee visited. I am glad it was finished by January and had sufficient room for the large number of SICB meeting attendees. 2531 individuals pre-registered for the conference, jumping up to approximately 3000 participants when on-site registrants were included. 1031 oral presentations were given, and 743 posters were on display.

UCF students taking marine biology topics to children at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando as part of a marine biology service learning course. Photo credit: Linda Walters

A highlight for me this year was the Libbie Hyman Auction. I think I scored the best of anyone taking home a beautiful sculpted kelp statue that is now on display in my living room, as well as a piece of Trish Morse art in the form of a silver jellyfish necklace. I wear it a lot and each time it reminds me of what an amazing artist, scientist and person she is! Of course, there were also breath-taking scarves made by Sara Lindsey, historic books, and opportunities to share meals and a place to stay with famous invertebrate biologists. Please start thinking about your donations for the next auction in a few years!

Linda Walters (far right) with students showing that their quadrats are in capable hands! Photo credit: Linda Walters

Austin, Texas is our next meeting venue (2020) and the program officers meeting on site will be the first weekend in October 2019. At this meeting, we will determine the placement of all talks and posters as well as vote on symposia for 2021. DIZ has only had a limited number of symposium proposal submissions in recent years, so consider making this the year you decide to put in an application! My suggestions to submitters are simple: 1) make sure you have secured a full slate of presenters (this is usually the biggest kill switch to proposals as no one votes yes to a speaker called TBD, 2) make sure you have diversity in your suite of presenters (this includes diversity in academic rank and type of institution), and 3) make sure your topic has not recently been the topic of a SICB symposium.

For Austin, DIZ is helping to support three symposia:

  • New Frontiers in Antarctic Marine Biology, Organizers: James McClintock, Charles Amsler, Bill Baker, Amy Moran & Art Woods
  • Form, structure and function: How plants vs. animals solve physical problems, Organizers: Simon Poppinga, Ulrike Müller, Anna Westermeier
  • Building Bridges from Genome to Phenome: Molecules, Methods and Models, Organizers: Karen Burnett, Don Mykles, David Durica & Jonathon Stillman

If you have a great symposium idea, please contact me or any of the DIZ officers. We are very happy to help.

Sincerely, Linda Walters

Message from the Secretary, Justin McAlister, secretary.diz@sicb.org

It is my pleasure to take up the Secretory torch from Sarah Berke who provided excellent service to our Division for the past several years. I’m looking forward to taking on the task and hope that you’ll bear with me as I learn the ropes over the coming months.

The 2019 Annual Meeting in Tampa, FL was excellent! The venue was easy to navigate, the weather was cooperative, and there was an abundance of amazing science to take in. My undergraduate students were positively in awe at the diversity of scientific questions being pursued, the research systems being used, and the overwhelming positivity and collegiality of the members of our Society. We should all be proud of how welcoming our Society is to students and new members!

Justin McAlister and four College of the Holy Cross undergraduate students enjoying a poster session at the Annual Meeting in Tampa, FL. Photo credit: Justin McAlister

This year’s DIZ business meeting focused mainly on updating members of the Division about ongoing business. I’ll provide a link to the meeting minutes below and encourage you to read them at your discretion. Note that next year there will be changes to the Student Awards Program. Similar to what has occurred in other Divisions, DIZ will be moving to a single session for these awards. The best oral presentations will be named in honor of Mary Rice and the best poster presentations will be named in honor of Alan Kohn. DIZ will also initiate a new mentoring program at next year’s meeting, which will include one-on-one mentoring separate from the judging process. Members of the committee will be Bob Podolsky, Rachel Merz, and Jon Allen.

This year we will hold elections for our next Program Officer. We are fortunate to have two great candidates for this position in Karen Chan and Andy Mahon. You’ll find more information about both of these candidates at the end of the newsletter. Also, before she leaves the position after next year’s meeting, we should all thank Linda Walters for her valuable service to DIZ.

In his update, Ken mentioned the need for younger members of DIZ to contribute to running our Division and the Society. While leadership opportunities are limited, note that the SICB Education Council needs 1–2 people from each division to help vet teaching materials. These are new positions and their roles are not completely defined, but they will provide opportunity for more members of DIZ to get involved in running the Society. Outgoing Secretary Sarah Berke has agreed to chair the nominating committee for these positions and may have more information about them if you are interested.

Students arriving during low tide for a summer course at Shoals Marine Lab on Appledore Island, Maine. Photo credit: Justin McAlister

Note that our Division has a Facebook page that can be used to provide updates year-round about invertebrates. Also, if you have information about opportunities for students or researchers that are invertebrate-centric, pass them on to me and I’ll disseminate that information as best I can. One last shout out: if you have undergraduate students who are interested in learning more about invertebrates, Scott Santagata and I will be teaching a Field Marine Invertebrate Biology course at Shoals Marine Lab on Appledore Island in Maine this summer from June 24 — July 8. More info can be found here: https://www.shoalsmarinelaboratory.org/course/field-marine-invertebrate-biology

Sincerely, Justin

Message from the Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee Representative, Sammi Smoot

Sammi Smoot presenting a poster of her research at the Annual Meeting in Tampa, FL. Photo Credit: Sammi Smoot

The goal of SICB Student Postdoctoral Affairs Committee (SPDAC) is to improve student and postdoctoral experiences both at the annual meeting and throughout the year by offering workshops. At the annual meeting in Tampa, we brainstormed plans for the next annual meeting in Austin 2020. We’re really excited to start planning for a workshop on ‘Transitions in Science’ with students, postdocs and experts for roundtable chats on major issues in the shifts between undergraduate-graduate, Masters-PhD, PhD-postdoc, postdoc-academia, and Masters/PhD-outside academia. If you are interested in other resources that SPDAC has to offer, check out this link for advice on applying to postdocs and grant and fellowship opportunities at http://www.sicb.org/resources/studentpostdoc.php3 and the DIZ and the SPDAC Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SICBDIZ/ and https://www.facebook.com/sicbspdac. Have any questions or ideas for future SPDAC events or want to be involved? You can email me at scs0051@auburn.edu.

Thanks! —Sammi

Message from the Student Awards Committee Chair, Anne Böttger

Thank you to everyone who made the Annual SICB Meeting in Tampa, FL memorable and a special thank you to all the students who presented! It was a great meeting that included excellent student presentations representing the Division of Invertebrate Zoology. I would also like to take the time and thank the 49 volunteer judges for their continuing commitment to the student presentations and their invaluable comments supporting our DIZ students.

In order for students to compete in our division they need to be a member of the DIZ and this year 31 students competed for the best student paper in 11 oral and 20 poster presentations!

The winners of the presentation awards and the Adrian M. Wenner Strong Inference Award for the 2019 SICB meeting are:

Best Oral Presentation:

  • Winner — Kathrina Harms, Surprise in a Small Package: Foregut Metamorphosis in an Ectoparasitic Snail (Pyramidellidae).
  • Runner-up — Tingxuan Liu, Interactive effects of temperature and salinity on early development of Polychaete Hydroides dirampha.

Poster Presentation:

  • Winner — Fatemah Jamal, Pinnotherid Crabs and Their Sand Dollar Hosts, Eastern Gulf of Mexico
  • Runner-up — Yareli Alvarez, Mother knows best: Maternal investment causes differences in UV-tolerance of intertidal and subtidal populations of sea urchins

Adrian M. Wenner Strong Inference Award: Winner—Yareli Alvarez, Mother knows best: Maternal investment causes differences in UV-tolerance of intertidal and subtidal populations of sea urchins.

Please join me in congratulating these outstanding students for their contributions. I look forward to seeing you at the next meeting in Austin, TX in January 2020!

Sincerely, Anne

Message from the Libbie Hyman Auction Committee Chair, Abby Cahill

I’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who contributed in any way to this year’s Libbie Hyman Auction at the Tampa meeting to benefit the Libbie Hyman Memorial Scholarship Fund. The event took place during a joint social event and included contributions from many members of the division. A wide range of items were auctioned off — original art and jewelry produced by DIZ members, invertebrate-themed books and clothing — the list goes on and on and includes a complete set of Hyman’s The Invertebrates. Billie Swalla was our fabulous auctioneer — she kept the party rolling late into the evening and overall, we raised over $4000 for the scholarship fund. —Abigail Cahill, chair of the Hyman Auction for 2019

From left to right: A view of some of the items that were available at the auction; A nautilus necklace from the auction; An invertebrate-themed sweater & a full set of Hyman’s The Invertebrates. (Photo credits: Sammi Smoot)

Message from the Libbie Hyman Scholarship Selection Committee Chair, Jennifer Burnaford

Applications for the 2019 Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship were due on 5 February. We received 11 applications this year.

Applications were reviewed by a three-person committee: Dr. Will Jaeckle, Dr. Shanna Hanes, and Dr. Bruno Pernet. This review committee awarded a single scholarship of $3448 to Georget Oraha to support a stay to conduct research at the University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories in summer 2019. Georget is a first year M.S. student working with Jennifer Burnaford at California State University Fullerton. Georget’s thesis work explores the effect of low tide thermal stress on the attachment strength of the common west coast mussel, Mytilus californianus. This field station experience will allow Georget to conduct manipulative laboratory and field experiments on her study species in a region of intense summertime thermal stress which will deepen the depth and breadth of her MS project.

I’d like to give a special round of thank yous to Will Jaeckle, Shanna Hanes and Bruno Pernet for taking over the application reviews and decisions this year. I’d also like to thank SICB Webmaster Ruedi Birenheide for all of his work with the webpage and application logistics. This exceptional teamwork makes the application and award process move smoothly.

The Libbie H. Hyman Award provides funding to support the first significant field station experience for advanced undergraduates or early career graduate students pursuing coursework or research on invertebrates. This first field station experience is typically a transformative period in the career and life of a student. We deeply appreciate the donations which allow us to support these experiences. As the costs associated with summer field station experiences continue to rise, we are always happy to accept contributions to the Scholarship Fund so that we can increase the amount of support to these deserving students. To contribute, click on Donate to SICB on the SICB home page (www.sicb.org) or send a check to:

SICB Business Office, Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship Fund, 1313 Dolley Madison Blvd., Suite 402, McLean, VA 22101

Checks should be made payable to SICB and marked as a “Contribution to the Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship Fund.” All contributions are tax deductible. Thanks for your help! — Jennifer Burnaford, Chair, Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship Committee

Elizabeth Balser Graduate Fellowship Funding Solicitation

A message from Will Jaeckle, Mary Rice, and others at SMS-Fort Pierce:

It was with sadness that the scientific community learned of the death of Dr. Elizabeth (Susie) Balser in May of 2018 after an extended illness. Through her publications, and as a faculty member at Illinois Wesleyan University for over 20 years, a co-instructor in the prestigious course in Invertebrate Zoology at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories, member of SICB, AMS and other scientific societies, and former co-editor of Invertebrate Biology, Susie touched many lives and added greatly to the scientific knowledge of invertebrate animals which was her passion.

Dr. Susie Balser

Dr. Balser received her PhD from Clemson University working with advisor Edward Ruppert on the anatomy and phylogeny of hemichordates and echinoderms. This research was supported, in part, by a Smithsonian Graduate Fellowship at the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce. With a subsequent Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian Marine Station under the direction of Mary Rice she continued and expanded this research on the development of crinoid and holothurian echinoderms. Later, as a Visiting Scientist at the Marine Station, she investigated larval cloning in oceanic planktonic larvae of ophiuroid echinoderms.

In recognition and appreciation of Dr. Balser’s substantial contributions as a researcher and educator in marine invertebrate zoology, and of her contributions to the broader scientific community through service to nationwide scientific organizations, a fund has been initiated in her memory for support of graduate research fellowships at the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, Florida.

The Elizabeth Balser Graduate Fellowships are planned to be of 3-month duration and focused on research in the development and life histories of marine invertebrates.

To contribute to the Elizabeth Balser Graduate Fellowship Fund, make checks payable to: Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, with a notation on the check: for Balser Graduate Fellowship. Any questions may be addressed to Dr. Mary Rice at 772- 462–0987 or Rice@si.edu. The Smithsonian Marine Station is a 501(C)3 tax exempt organization.

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, 701 Seaway Drive, Fort Pierce, FL 34949

Election Information: Candidate Biographies (vote here: http://sicb.org/elections/2019.php)

Candidates for Program Officer

DIZ Program Officer candidate Karen Chan

Karen Chan

Current Position: Assistant Professor of Biology , Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA

Education: BSc (Hon) in Environmental Life Science, The University of Hong Kong (2003–06); MSc. in Oceanography; University of Washington(2006–2009); PhD in Oceanography, University of Washington (2009–2012).

Professional Experience: Assistant Professor of Biology, Biology Department, Swarthmore College (2019-present); Assistant Professor in Life Science, Division of Life Science, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (2014–2018); Visiting Scholar, Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology (Pre-tenure sabbatical, 2018); Coastal Ocean Institute and Croucher Foundation Postdoctoral Scholar, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution(2012–2014).

SICB Activities: SICB and DIZ member (since 2010); DIZ representative for the Student and Postdoctoral Affairs Committee (2012–2014); Assisted the curation of the DIZ Digital Library; Routinely serve as Session Chair at Annual Meeting and Judge for Best Student Presentations.

Other Memberships: Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography; Sigma Xi; National Marine Educators Association

Research Interests: Marine invertebrate larval ecology; Global Change Ecology; Functional morphology; Swimming behaviors of plankton and biomechanics; Dispersal and individual-based modeling.

Goals Statement: I am running for Program Officer of DIZ because I am passionate about invertebrates, i.e. the majority of animal diversity. I look forward to the opportunity to help curate exciting meeting programs that not only disseminate new findings about invertebrates, but also connect invertebrate researchers with each other. Thus, enabling us to develop new ideas and research programs. Given my interest in pedagogy, I am also eager to promote public awareness of and student participation in invertebrate research. Engagement is especially important for this important group in the face of global change. SICB has been my home society and DIZ has always been the Division I identify with. It would be an honor to serve DIZ, and to work with and learn from other Officers and members.

DIZ Program Officer candidate Andrew Mahon

Andrew R. Mahon

Current position: Professor of Molecular Ecology, Department of Biology, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI USA

Education: B.S. in Chemistry, Truman State University (1997); M.S. in Biology, Truman State University (1999); M.S. in Biology, University of Alabama-Birmingham (2000); Ph.D. in Ecological Sciences, Old Dominion University (2007)

Professional Experience: Postdoctoral Fellow at Auburn University with research experience in Antarctica (2007–2009); Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame (2009–2011); Assistant and Associate Professor of Molecular Ecology at Central Michigan University (2011–2018); Chair of the Earth and Ecosystems Studies Doctoral Program at Central Michigan University (2014–2016)

SICB Activities: Member and presenter since 1999. Mentor for multiple graduate and undergraduate presenters since 2011 (since my appointment as Assistant Professor at Central Michigan University).

Other Memberships: Ecological Society of America (ESA), lifetime member; Alpha Chi Sigma, Professional Chemistry fraternity, professional member; PADI; SSI; Institute for Great Lakes Research (CMU)

Research Interests: My research focuses on using molecular genetic and genomic tools to explore interesting questions related to biodiversity, evolution, and phylogeography, primarily in aquatic and marine systems. This includes development and application of molecular tools for surveillance and monitoring of rare species in these environments. One of my larger focuses is investigating the evolution, population structure, and phylogeography of Antarctic marine invertebrates, including the charismatic and amazing sea spiders (Pycnogonida).

Goal Statement: I’ve been attending and presenting at SICB meetings since for the past 20 years, since I began my graduate career. SICB has played a significant role in my career, influencing my research, teaching, and my mentoring of students. Through SICB and DIZ, I’ve developed collaborations that have led to new research pathways that would not have been possible without the society and the annual meetings. I’m am excited about the possibility of being the next Program Officer of DIZ because I am passionate about DIZ and invertebrate biology and I want to give back to the division which has been such a positive force for me and my graduate and undergraduate students. I want to help DIZ and SICB in any way I can, and I believe I can bring new ideas to help promote the division and be a positive force for the future of the division and the society.