Vol. 59, No. 3 | August 2014


Minutes of the Animal Behavior Society Executive Committee Meeting
Princeton, NJ, 9 August 2014
9 AM

PRESENT: Dan Rubenstein, Gail Patricelli, Eileen Hebets, Regina Macedo, Molly Cummings, Robert Seyfarth, Mike Beecher, Mark Hauber, Emilia Martins, Michelle Pellisier-Scott, Alison Bell, John Swaddle, Sue Margulis, Lee Drickamer, Shan Duncan

  • New business
  • Minutes from the 2013 meeting were approved.
  • President Dan Rubenstein reported that the Society and the Journal are in excellent shape. Issues relating to number of Society members and strategies for encouraging membership were discussed. A recommendation to increase nominations for Fellows was made.
  • Executive Editor Michelle Scott proposed that the Society consider paying editors, in recognition for the tremendous amount of work that they do. Most journals in the discipline do this. The British office pays their Animal Behaviour editors, so this would bring us in line with our sister Society. Discussion on this topic followed, and addressed such alternative options as paying for editors to attend the annual meeting, other uses for the money, having the Publisher pay editors directly, etc. Strong consensus emerged that providing some compensation for editors was appropriate, the exact amount of compensation was not finalized.

The following motion was made and seconded, and approved: that the Society should compensate the Executive and Associate editors of the Journal in some form. The EC will determine the appropriate amount of compensation.

  • A recommendation to increase the Society’s level of membership in AIBS (American Institute for Biological Sciences) was made. After some discussion, the EC decided to maintain our current level of membership, but also recommended sending a representative to the AIBS meeting. The recommendation was made to send a representative of the Public Affairs Committee.
  • Several details of policy/bylaws/constitutional changes were proposed by Eileen Hebets and Sue Margulis. The EC voted to clarify the wording in Policy for the system used to vote for Fellows and Career Awards recipients. No change in the process was made; rather, the details of the process were made more explicit. Discussion on the nominations process resulted in a motion, made, seconded and approved: to re-word policy (1) changing the date on which a slate of candidates was approved from June 15 to before the annual meeting (to account for variations in the date of the meeting). Furthermore, the following addition to policy was made, seconded, and approved: The nominating committee can ask the incumbent to extend their term by one year. Finally, the charge of the nominations committee was amended to require a minimum of two candidates for all offices.
  • A motion was made, seconded, and approved: to cover registration costs of EC members (only those EC members whose term was ending were eligible to vote).
  • The EC discussed the current process by which some meeting costs are covered by the Society, and some by the local host. Ultimately however, any deficits are covered by the Society, and any profits are returned to the Society, effectively creating a single budget. A plan was proposed by which a single budget would be used for the conference, with the Society providing some up-front funds to the Local Host. Specifically: The Society will advance the local host $10,000 and charge the Program Officers to work closely with the Local Host and receive a preliminary budget for review by October 15.
  • Johannes Schul presented the proposal for the 2016 Annual Meeting, July 30-Aug 3, at the University of Missouri at Columbia. The venue and logistics were met with approval by the EC.

II. Reports of Committees

  • AAAS Liaison (Dan Rubenstein). Dan encouraged members to propose symposia for AAAS to keep behavior in the forefront. Symposium ideas should be forwarded to Dan.
  • Applied Animal Behavior (Steve Zawistowski) The Applied Animal Behavior Committee continues to run successful Public Days, but Steve noted that this may be more problematic in Alaska, though will aim for a Public Day in Missouri. New committee members were approved.
  • Board of Professional Certification (Megan Maxwell standing in for Crista Copolla). Over the past 2 meetings, virtually all CAABs have attended at least once. The Society thanked the BPC for working so hard to increase their presence at the Annual Meeting. New committee members were approved.
  • Animal Care (Alex Ophir); no report was given, however the Committee has increased its membership and hopes to expand a bit more to encompass greater taxonomic breadth in expertise and develop clear guidelines for ethics reviewers..
  • Conservation (Bruce Schulte): The Conservation Committee proposed a workshop for the 2015 meeting. Chair Bruce Schulte’s term is ending; the EC thanked him for the excellent work he has done, and approved his recommendation that Misty McPhee become the next Chair.
  • Education (Sue Margulis reporting for Susan Foster) The Committee continues to expand its activities, and this year finalized an official “winner” and “finalist” sticker to be made available to publishers in association with the Children’s Book Award. Outreach efforts continue to be an important part of the meeting, and have been well-attended and well-received.
  • Film (Mike Noonan): Mike confirmed that the award amount for non-commercial films was increased at last year’s meeting. The Film Festival is the committee’s main activity. Mike will stay on as Chair for one more year. This year’s film-making workshop is going very well. We discussed ideas for increasing submissions of commercial films (Mike noted that we considered too “small” for larger commercial film producers). It was suggested that an effort be made to encourage film producers to come to the meeting, particularly next year, given the venue.
  • Latin American Affairs (Oscar Rios-Cárdenas): Oscar noted a lack of participation of committee members. It was suggested that the Committee try and recruit Latin Americans living in the US and Canada, who may be better able to get involved. The EC voted to approve funds to bring two ABS members to Brazil as speakers in the Brazilian Ethology Meeting.
  • Membership (Kaci Thompson): Ideas were discussed to increase membership, in particular the number of student members that convert to regular members. Kaci will explore such possibilities as mentoring, gift memberships, and webinars. Incentivizing “conversion” of membership via such things as t shirts was also raised. The journal is no longer sufficient incentive.
  • Public Affairs (Caitlin Gabor): No report, however the written report indicates that Caitlin is stepping down as Chair (and the EC thanked her for staying on an additional year). Possible successors as Chair were discussed.
  • Development (Lee Drickamer): L ee will be stepping down as Chair of this committee in a year. A motion was made, seconded and approved unanimously to change the name of the Development Committee to the Advancement and Investment Committee, and to appoint the Treasurer as an ex officio member. This change combines the roles of the current development committee and the ad-hoc investment committee. Extensive discussion followed on issues related to funds for named awards, endowments, and policies to facilitate gifts and donations. A motion was made, seconded and approved unanimously to revise the relevant section of policy. Relevant bylaws changes will be discussed at the Business meeting. Additional details of how named awards will be handled will require additional discussion.
  • Historian (Lee Drickamer): Lee is stepping down.
  • Diversity (Zuleyma Tang-Martinez): Diversity Committee has had great success at running workshops and lunches at the meeting. Zuleyma requested that changes approved at EC meetings be clearly communicated back to committee chairs as appropriate.

III. Reports by officers

  • First President-elect (Regina Macedo): the requirement of Founders Posters with 1-minute preview talks caused some confusion. Asking for early submission of Founders posters is a big help to the judges.
  • Second President-elect (Emilia Martins): As usual, we received an excellent set of papers and are looking forward to a strong Allee symposium.
  • Past President (Robert Seyfarth): As chair of the Nominating Committee, Robert proposed a slate of candidates (which was approved unanimously by the EC). With no candidates forthcoming for Treasurer, current Treasurer Molly Cummings agreed to stay on for one additional year.
  • Treasurer (Molly Cummings): The Society is in excellent shape. Extensive discussion about appropriate use of funds led to increases in funding for Student Research Grants, Diversity, Developing Nations Grants, Latin American Travel, and Symposium support. The proposed budget was approved unanimously.
  • Secretary (Sue Margulis): Sue noted that the August Newsletter will be delayed due the timing of the conference, and will be written together with the incoming secretary.
  • Program Officer and Program Officer-elect (Mike Beecher and Mark Hauber): Discussion of symposium funding was discussed that budget adjusted accordingly for consistency. The motion was made, seconded, and approved unanimously: all symposia except the Presidents symposium will be funded up to $2000 and registration waived for speakers. This amount will be re-evaluated every 3 years.
  • Parliamentarian (Eileen Hebets): the various policy changes were reviewed and the process for updating the on-line handbook was clarified.
  • Executive Editor (Michelle Scott): The Journal continues to do well, and is slightly ahead of competing journal with respect to impact factor. Michelle noted that the impact factor for most journals in our field, including Animal Behaviour, is somewhat down.
  • Members-at-large (Gail Patricelli): The number of Student Research Grants this year overwhelmed the system. We discussed options for making this run more smoothly in future.

IV. Report from the Ad hoc committee report on society administration

Last year, an ad hoc committee was formed to evaluate the role of the Central Office and possible alternatives to the current system for managing the conference, membership, and administration. The committee provided a report that proposed utilizing an outside company for all services. The EC thanked the ad hoc committee for their thoughtful and careful work.
The motion was made, seconded, and approved unanimously: to outsource administrative services to SPLTrack. A second motion was made, seconded, and approved: to terminate Central Office administrative functions effective Jan 31, 2015. Journal editorial support will continue. An ad hoc committee was established to oversee the transition.

The EC meeting adjourned at 4:12pm.


Animal Behavior Society Business Meeting
August 12, 2014
Princeton University

The meeting was called to order at 10:15.

President Dan Rubenstein summarized several major decisions made by the Executive Committee.

  • After a year-long evaluation of the economics of the functioning of the Central Office, the EC voted to close the Central Office and outsource Society management and conference services. After an extensive search, the Society has contracted with SPLTrack, a mid-size company that works with many scientific societies of our size. The Society is extremely grateful to the work of the Central Office staff, Shan Duncan and Lori Pierce, for their valued service.
  • The EC voted to move to a single-budgeting process for the annual meeting, to simplify accounting. Currently, the Society indemnifies the local host, thus allocating some expenses to the Society and some to the Local Host is unnecessary. The merging of the budgets is a prudent way to move forward. The program officers will police the system to ensure financial responsibility.
  • Dan thanked outgoing officers Sue Margulis, Gail Patricelli and Robert Seyfarth for their service.
  • The nominating committee, chaired by past-president Robert Seyfarth, presented the slate of candidates for election:

Second President-Elect:          

Jeffrey Podos
John Swaddle


Emily DuVal
Melissa Hughes

Program Officer-Elect:           

Todd Freeberg
Jonathan Pruitt

Executive Editor:                  

Susan Foster
Ron Rutowski

Program Officer Mike Beecher thanked the local hosts and Central Office for their excellent work. The conference has 760 registrants, 350+ papers, and 220+ posters. Please provide feedback on new features, such as the poster preview talks and the lightning talks, to the Program Officers.
Debbie Bogie-Tobin provided an update on the 2015 Conference, June 10-14 in Anchorage, Alaska. Book early!
Johannes Schul provided a preview on the 2016 conference, Columbia, Missouri, July 30-Aug 3.
Secretary Sue Margulis summarized policy changes over the past year. She discussed the issue of student members “converting” to full member status; this will be an initiative by the Society in the coming year.
Parliamentarian Eileen Hebets conducted several bylaws change votes (all passed unanimously). These included:

  • Changing the name of the Issues in Applied Animal Behavior Committee to the Applied Animal Behavior Committee.
  • Changing the name of the Development Committee to the Advancement and Investment Committee.
  • Adding the treasurer as an ex officio member of the Advancement and Investment Committee.
  • Designating the chair of the Advancement and Investment Committee as the point person for all gifts and donations.

Member-at-large Gail Patricelli provided and an overview of the huge increase in submissions to the Student Research Grants (198!), and thanked the 55 ABS members who served as reviewers. 22% of proposals were funded.
Executive Editor Michelle Scott provided a very positive report on the journal. Time to decision is 39 days, and the article-based publishing process has brought down time from submission to on-line publication to 26 weeks. A more flexible manuscript formatting process (“your article your way) will soon be implemented by Elsevier.
Treasurer Molly Cummings summarized the excellent financial position of the Society. An additional $100,000 has been invested, and funding to research grants, Latin American Travel Awards, Developing Nations Grants, and Diversity Funds have been increased.
Discussion focused on the decision to close the Central Office, sources of funds for named awards, and possibility of divesting in some categories of investments.

The meeting adjourned at 11:15




ABS Newsletter

Send general correspondence concerning the Society to Sue Bertram the secretary of the animal behavior society, E-mail: [email protected]. Deadlines for materials to be included in the Newsletter are the 15th of the month preceding each issue. The next deadline is 15 October, 2015. Articles submitted by members of the Society and judged by the Secretary to be appropriate are occasionally published in the ABS newsletter. The publication of such material does not imply ABS endorsement of the opinions expressed by contributors.

Animal Behavior Society Website: http://www.animalbehaviorsociety.org

Animal Behavior

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