89TH ANNUAL MEETING
AUGUST 1-5, 2023
University of Alabama &
The 89th American Malacological Society meeting took place from 1-5 August 2023 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at the University of Alabama and the Alabama Museum of Natural History. The deadline to register for in-person attendance of the meeting and to submit abstracts for posters and talks is 23 June. Registration for remote participants will be accepted until 31 July.
The meeting will open the evening of 1 August with a welcome reception in the Grand Gallery of the Alabama Museum of Natural History. This beautiful space features the 60-foot skeleton of the fossil whale Basilosaurus cetoides, the only meteorite known to have directly injured a human by its impact, and, of course, several exhibits on molluscs. An assortment of drinks and h'ordeuvres catered by Sweet Olive Eats will be served.
Given the incredible diversity of freshwater molluscs in Alabama, the topic of the President's Symposium (2 August) will be “Freshwater Mollusk Diversity in a Biodiversity Hotspot.” This symposium was organized by Dr. Carla Atkinson (University of Alabama) and will include the keynote talk by Dr. Dave Strayer (Cary Institute) and talks by Dr. Art Bogan (North Carolina Museum of Natural History), Dr. Alexa Maine (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation; CTUIR), Dr. Ellen Strong (Smithsonian Institution), Dr. Caryn Vaughn (University of Oklahoma), and Dr. Nathan Whelan (Auburn University and USFWS).
Contributed oral presentations (3-4 August) and posters (evening of 2 August) are expected to span diverse sub-disciplines of malacology with work on molluscan genomics, phylogenetics, and freshwater molluscan ecology expected to be particularly well-represented. Contributed oral presentations will be allocated 15-minutes each including time for questions. Please plan your actual presentation to be completed in 12 minutes to allow plenty of time for questions and transitions between speakers. Time limits will be strictly enforced. Posters should be in landscape orientation and no larger than 48" X 36". The deadline for submission of abstracts for posters and talks is 23 June.
Student-centered events will include a student mixer at Black Warrior Brewing Company (after the poster session on 3 August) and a student-mentor networking program for in-person attendees (during lunch on 4 August). After registration closes, the meeting organizing committee will e-mail registered attendees details on how to sign up for the student-mentor networking program.
The meeting will also include a panel discussion on inclusive fieldwork and field courses hosted by the Society’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee (during lunch on 3 August). Attendance to this event is strongly encouraged! The panel will be in the Bryant Conference Center in Rast B, which can seat over 100 attendees. The discussion will be moderated by Rose Osborn with panelists Nimanthi Abeyrathna, Beth Davis-Berg, and Kelly Martin. Time will be split between panelist introductions, topic presentations, and Q&A from the audience. I’m particularly excited about this event as it will address important topics that are highly relevant to our field. Rose has done an amazing job leading the organization of this event and I’m incredibly grateful to the panelists who are willing to share their experiences and perspectives to help educate the Society. To give you a better idea of what to expect, here’s some guidance Rose provided to the panelists: “During the introductions phase, you will have 5-7 min to share a bit about who you are and 1-3 key points or topics related to inclusive fieldwork. Think of these points as the one thing (or three things) you hope that someone remembers from the panel discussion, even if they forget everything else. Focus on aspects of your experience or identity that give you a unique perspective on fieldwork and/or inclusive workplaces. For example, has pregnancy, lactation, or childcare influenced your fieldwork? If you work in museum collections, how does your approach to fieldwork differ from "typical" academic work? If you are an international student or have done international fieldwork, how do you approach cultural differences or power imbalances? How has gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, etc. impacted your field experiences? What do you do to prevent and respond to harassment or discrimination in a fieldwork context? You may prepare a few slides to accompany this part of the discussion. Once you introduce yourselves and share your main topics, I will open it up to audience questions.” Audience members will have the opportunity to submit questions anonymously to the panelists. After the panel, attendees are invited to join the panelists and JEDI committee for dinner that evening to continue discussing inclusive fieldwork in an informal context. We will meet in the Hotel Capstone lobby, then proceed to a local restaurant TBD.
We will be holding the annual AMS Auction (on 3 August) with auctioneer Paul Callomon. This is a favorite of many AMS attendees that showcases the generosity of the malacological community – from those willing to donate prized keepsakes for auction to those willing to spend hard-earned dollars on garish snail-themed salt and pepper shakers or squid print underwear – all to support travel and research awards for AMS student members! Please consider donating items to be auctioned off. Items submitted for auction can be anything mollusc-related (e.g., books, art, trinkets, etc.) but cannot include shells or other specimens. Items for auction could also include services. Feel free to be creative! You could donate your time through e.g., scientific illustration, a tutorial/training session on a skill in your area of expertise, or even manuscript review or copy editing. Please contact Kevin Kocot (email@example.com) if you plan to make a donation, even if you plan to hand-carry it to the meeting. Otherwise, you can ship your donations to Tuscaloosa ahead of the meeting. The shipping address for donations is: Kevin Kocot, University of Alabama, 1325 Science and Engineering Complex, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487. For services or non-tangible items, please send Kevin a written description so that this can be added to the auction.
The meeting will close with a banquet catered by Sweet Olive Eats and an awards ceremony in the Grand Gallery of the Alabama Museum of Natural History (on the evening of 4 August). The banquet is free for students! An optional field trip (on 5 August) will allow participants an opportunity to see some of Alabama’s 204 species of freshwater snails and 180 species of freshwater mussels. We are planning on starting the morning with a visit to the Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center and then spend the afternoon at Living River on the Cahaba River looking at mollusks in the field, snorkeling, and cooling down. You will get wet on this ride.
Also on 5 August, the HaptoNet team will be holding a workshop at the Alabama Museum of Natural History. HaptoNet is a new project that will be proposed to the NSF Capacity program as a themed collection network The project aims to catalog adherent marine organisms (haptobionts) that are already present in museum collections. Representatives of member institutions will be there, but anyone who is interested in taking part or hearing more is welcome to attend. Contact Paul Callomon (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details.
We hope you will join us in Tuscaloosa! However, in the interest of inclusivity, all oral presentations will be streamed live to the web for viewing by remote participants who are unable to attend the meeting in-person. Registration costs for remote participants will be just $25 to support the costs of equipment rental and tech support. Please note: only in-person presentations will be possible and events other than oral presentations and the JEDI panel will not be livestreamed.
Tuscaloosa is located just one hour from Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, AL and is easily and affordably accessible by the Groome shuttle service. A block of rooms is reserved at Hotel Capstone, which is located immediately adjacent to the Bryant Conference and just a 10-minute walk from the Alabama Museum of Natural History. There are many other hotels nearby in addition to other options for accommodations through vacation home rental websites. Additional information about AMS 2023 can be found on the AMS website or by contacting Kevin Kocot (email@example.com).
We thank the University of Alabama Department of Biological Sciences, Alabama Museum of Natural History, the Alabama Water Institute, the Geological Survey of Alabama, and EnviroScience, Inc. for their sponsorship of AMS 2023. The 89th AMS meeting logo was designed by David Galinat (Alabama Water Institute). It depicts Anamenia farcimen (Heath, 1911) (Mollusca, Aplacophora, Solenogastres) on its cnidarian prey. Image reproduced from: Heath, H. 1911. The Solenogastres. Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard College XLV(1).