At the Animal Behavior Meetings, the film group welcomes

“Please stay for all the films, and fill out our questionnaire to help us decide on the awards. Anyone can join the ABS Film Committee; we want your participation,” said Mike Noonan, in one swoop making everyone a part of the group. He later told me that quite a few people stayed for the whole four hours, investing in this important part of our society, and feeling included.

After all, what we do is behavior, so what could be better than watching it? How many of us have boxes and boxes of videotapes of animal behavior? The results of these tapes may be shown here as dry graphs and statistics. This first evening, though, we got to watch monkeys, rats, and anoles fighting, socializing, and doing all the things we study.

I thought what Mike did with his open invitation was powerful. Did you ever go to a scientific meeting and feel left out? Did you not feel left out, but notice that person in the corner, studying the program suspiciously long? Are you from a small program, and not from one of the research powerhouses? Do you not have just as much to contribute as anyone else, if only you could be discovered?

Do you wonder how exactly decisions are made in this society? I sure did, but now I know. I’m learning the codes, and know the EC is the Executive Committee, and a MAL is a member at large of the EC, for example.

Actually, the Animal Behavior Society is one of my favorites. I attend the meetings even though my beloved micro-organisms don’t do much that could be considered behavior. Why do I love it? Partly because of its openness. Talks are largely given by people that want to talk, often grad students, though symposia are growing.

So, thanks Mike, for shedding some delightful openness on this early and important facet of our society.

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About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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