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International Union for the Study of Social Insects

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Roundup of news from the XVIII International congress in Guarujá, Brazil

The 2018 Hamilton award

The fourth Hamilton Award was presented to long-time member of the NW European section Jacobus (Koos) Boomsma. The award consisted of an engraved glass ornament, and a monetary award of US$ 1000, which Koos donated to the IUSSI to suppport the digitization of the union's archive.


New officer

Jennifer Fewell was elected as president at the general assembly meeting, in association with hosting the next international congress (see below)

Other officers that have agreed to continue in their posts are Madaleine Beekman (Secretary-General), Chris Star (Archivist) and David Nash (Webmaster)


New editor-in-chief of Insectes Sociaux

After 4 years as editor-in-chief, Michael Breed is stepping down, and will be succeeded by Miriam Richards.


Financial sub-committee

Joan Herbers stepped down from the committee, and has been succeeded by Rachelle Adams. The other members of the sub-committee, Mark Brown and Heike Feldhaar, remain in office.

The next international congress

The XIX international congress of the union will be hosted by the North American section, and will be held in San Diego, California in summer 2022.


News from the 2017 winter meeting

The 2017 Winter meeting was a 2-day meeting held on the 18th & 19th December, at the University of York, and attracted delegates from across the section.

It was also decided that the membership fees would, once again, remain unchanged for 2017.


News from the 2016 winter meeting (updated)

The 2016 Winter meeting was held on the 19th December, at the Natural History Museum, London, and attracted delegates from across the section.

The prize for the best student talk was awarded to David Treanor, for his presentation "Wolbachia in Myrmica scabrinodis", and he received £50 from the section. The talk by Louis Guillot on his A-level project "Investigation on the link between the depth of the organic layer in the soil and the number of Lasius flavus ant mounds in salt marshes on the island of Fanø off the Danish coast" was particularly commended.

It was proposed that the 2017 meeting be a 2-day meeting at York, jointly hosted by Elva Robinson (York) and Liz Duncan (Leeds)

It was also decided that the membership fees would, once again, remain unchanged for 2017.


New officers elected at the winter meeting 2015

The new officers elected at the winter meeting, and who took up their offices from the 1 January 2016 are:

President: Paul Eggleton

Secretary: Heikki Helanterä

Treeasurer: Elizabeth Duncan

Their contact details van be found on the Officers page.

Thanks to the retiring team - Mark Brown, Elli Leadbeater and Bill Hughes for their hard work over the last three years!


New server for the NW European section

The web site for the NW European section of the IUSSI was migrated to a new server on 13 May 2015 - which unfortunately meant that the site was unreachable for some time prioor to this date - Hopefully this will be the last disruption to the site for a while.


Webmaster's Report 2014

You can download the webmaster's report for 2014 here


New "Who's where" page

We now have a new "Who's where" page to complement our "Who's who" page - Here you can find a map showing how our members are distributed across North-west Europe. The map is far from complete, so if you are a member that would like an entry, please check what is there already and let the webmaster know if any cahnges should be made (or make the yourself following the instructions on the page).


News December 2014

2015 Subscriptions

At the Winter 2014 meeting it was decided that the membership subscriptions for 2015 will continue at the same rate as ast year- They have now been unchanged since 2004. Membership subscriptions for 2015 are due by 31 January 2015


Roundup of news from the XVII International congress in Cairns

The 2014 Hamilton award

The third Hamilton Award was presented to Mary Jane West-Eberhard at the XVII International Congress, in Cairns in July 2014. The award consisted of an engraved glass ornament in the shape of a book, and a monetary award of US$ 1000, which Mary Jane donated to the IUSSI.

New international officers

The following new officers were elected at the general assembly meeting:

  • Secretary General: Madeleine Beekman
  • President: Klaus Hartfelder

Other officers that have agreed to continue in their posts are Chris Star (Archivist) and David Nash (Webmaster)

New editor-in-chief of Insectes Sociaux

After 24 years as editor-in-chief, Johan Billen is stepping down, and will be succeeded by Michael Breed, whio will take over in August.

The next international congress

The XVIII international congress of the union will be hosted by the newly revitalized Brazilian section, and is planned to take place in the beach resort of Guarujá in July or August 2018

News February 2014

The first of the new-style spring newsletters for the section is now online. Amongst other updates:

The section can now accept PayPal payment for annual subscriptions, which should massively simplify payment from overseas members.

The section now has a Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/571681816242424/) - This is a closed group, so if you would like to join, please click on the "join group" button, and someone in the group will approve your membership.

A spring clean

Mark Brown writes: I'd like to start my first message to all our members by saying a big thank you to previous officers (and not just our immediate predecessors!) for running such a great Section. Certainly, for me, ever since I joined what was then the British Section in 1997, it's been a welcoming, social and intellectually thriving society.  I look forward every year to our Winter meetings, to be inspired by the latest science, meet the newest social insect researchers, and catch up with my friends. I hope that it's the same for everyone else!

On being asked if I would be prepared to stand for President of our Section - which was a huge honour - I decided that, if I were lucky enough to be elected, I and the committee would take a good look at what we, as a Section, do. The structural questions we've asked ourselves so far are whether we should just continue as usual (what ain't broke, don't need fixin'), evolve in a neo-Darwinian way, or try out some Hopeful Monsters via a bit of saltation.  

While we're looking at many other things, the most immediate one, on which we would like your opinion, is the newsletters.  A number of people who I've chatted with feel that 2 newsletters a year is one too many, and that the Section would be better served by a single newsletter in September. Alternatively, we might make the spring newsletter a round-up of the Winter Meeting and any changes to Section rules, for those people who were not able to make it to the meeting, and keep the Autumn newsletter for lab news and info about the next Winter Meeting. Or, of course, we can keep the status quo.  Fairly soon we'll be setting up a very simple doodlepoll for people to register (or not, if they'd rather!) their views. In the meantime, if anyone has any additional suggestions re: the newsletter structure, please send them to me so they can be incorporated in the poll.

The next 3 years, with the Australian Congress in the middle, should be exciting times, and we look forward to serving you.

2013 Subscriptions

At the Winter 2012 meeting it was decided that the membership subscriptions for 2013 will continue at the same rate as 2012 - They have now been unchanged since 2004.

Call for reviews for Insectes Sociaux

Insectes Sociaux, the journal of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI), is looking for authors who can definitely commit themselves to writing a high-quality review article. We are also interested in review articles by graduate students, for example in collaboration with their academic supervisor.

The review's subject must be clearly delimited, directly related to social arthropods, carry implications of wider scientific interest, and be timely in that many authors have published recently on it since the last published review (if any). Treatment of recent studies must be exhaustive. Review manuscripts are subject to the standard peer review process, so acceptance is not guaranteed. Manuscripts that mainly summarize published or unpublished data by the review's author(s) will not be considered.

The maximum length of review articles is 10 printed pages (very roughly 65,000 characters including spaces). As a small token of our appreciation, the corresponding author will receive 200 € per accepted review article.

Before starting to write, authors should send a short summary (0.5-1 A4) to: Michiel B. Dijkstra, associate editor in charge of review articles, e-mail: michiel.b.dijkstra [at] gmail.com. This summary should delimit the intended subject, explain why a review would be timely, and briefly indicate the structure, including a list of topics that will be addressed.


News from the Winter Meeting 2012

At this year's winter meeting, held at the Zoological Institute, London on the 10 December 2012, the following new officers were elected:

Full contact details now appear on the Officers' page.


FORMIS 2012 ant literature database

Dan Wojcik and Sanford Porter have recently uploaded an updated version of FORMIS. It now has about 54,000 records about ant literature.

The FORMIS homepage provides information about the database and links for online searches or file downloads:


Online searches can be done at:


FORMIS 2012 is a composite of several ant literature databases. It contains citations for a large fraction of the world's ant literature (~54,000 references). This database is designed to allow convenient searches of titles, keywords and abstracts when available. Citations from this database can be exported to create specialty databases or personal reprint indexes. Many records now have links to PDF reprints.

2012 Subscriptions and grants

At the Winter 2011 meeting it was decided that the membership subscriptions for 2012 would continue at the same rate as 2011 - They have now been unchanged since 2004. Subscriptions for current members are due by 30 April 2012.

The provision of funds from the international secretariat, through sales of the society journal Insectes Sociaux has mant that we now have more funds available for student conference grants, and that there is a new application procedure with a new application form. The deadline for the first round of student conference grant applications is 31 March 2012.

The 2011 Winter Meeting

The Winter 2011 meeting of the North-West European section of IUSSI will take place at the University of Sussex on Thursday and Friday, 15-16 December.

The University of Sussex is located on the outskirts of Brighton, which is served by Gatwick Airport. Brighton is a lively, cosmopolitan, seaside town. The campus may be reached from Brighton by train, bus, or car.

The meeting will begin mid-morning on Thursday with registration/coffee. Lunch will be provided, and there will be a conference dinner that night. We'll convene again Friday morning, and the meeting will run until mid-afternoon, with breaks for lunch and tea.

Students will be offered a subsidy.

Posters will be displayed during a 1 hour poster session. Attendees are encouraged to bring a poster and stand by it during this session.

If you are interested in giving a talk, please submit a title and short abstract (< 300 words) to Roger Schürch (R.Schuerch@sussex.ac.uk) before the 2nd of September 2011. Please state your position (i.e. PhD-Student, Postdoc etc.). There will also be invited speakers.

For more details, see the meetings page

News from the 2010 International Congress

At the XVI international meeting of the IUSSI in Copenhagen, Denmark, the following officers were elected to serve on the international committee of the IUSSI:

Secretary General: Joan Herbers
President: Ben Oldroyd
Treasurer of the Congress: Madeleine Beekman
Editor of Insectes Sociaux: Johan Billen
Associate editors of Insectes Sociaux: Yves Roisin, Miriam Richards

Other officers that agreed to continue their previous positions at the meeting were:

Archivist: Chris Starr
Webmaster: David Nash

During the Congress, the IUSSI adopted a new constitution, which can be viewed or downloaded as a PDF file here.

The minutes of the International Committee meeting can be found here.

The report of the Secretary General can be found here.

Hamilton Award

A committee of IUSSI Section Presidents has chosen Charles D. Michener to receive the Hamilton Award 2010.

Professor Michener, who prefers to be called “Mich”, is the world authority on bees. He published his first paper in 1935 as a teenager, and in the ensuing 75 years his publications have included more than 400 papers, and highly influential books on bee social behavior and systematics. While his work has maintained a special focus on halictid bees, he has also made contributions to the biology of arthropods from moths to mites.

Mich has trained a legion of bee biologists during his long career at the University of Kansas; the list of his students and collaborators shows his strong influence on the development of social insect biology. He has inspired by example, and given his time generously to help his students do their best.

Few scientists have had the influence on our field as has Charles Michener, and we are honored to bestow this recognition on him

Hamilton Award 2010

The IUSSI honors a senior scientist at its quadrennial Congress with the Hamilton Prize. The highest honor we bestow, the Hamilton Prize recognizes lifetime achievement in the biology of social insects. We seek nominations of individuals whose scientific contributions are profound, and who has broadly influenced colleagues and students. The 2010 Hamilton Prize carries with it a plaque and $1000 honorarium.

The IUSSI hereby calls for nominations from Sections for the Hamilton Prize. Nominations will be accepted only from officers of Sections in good standing, and Sections are free to nominate anyone, including members from other sections. Nomination materials should include the following:

  • Letter of Nomination from the Section Officer (3 pages maximum)
  • One of the following:
    • Current curriculum vitae for the nominee OR
    • 2-page outline of nominee’s principal contributions to the field of
    • social insect biology, with up to 10 citations of significant publications
    • Three (3) supporting letters from members of the IUSSI
  • All materials must be received via electronic mail sent to herbers.4 (at) osu.edu, by June 1, 2010.

The Secretary-General will convene a committee of Section Presidents, and the committee will review all valid nominations to identify the 2010 winner of the Hamilton Prize. The recipient will be honored at the 2010 Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark.

News update January 2010

Following the business meeting at the 2009 winter meeting, the section now has three new officers, to serve 2010-2012. The new president is Jeremy Field, the new secretary is Eamonn Mallon and the new treasurer is Elva Robinson. Contact details can be found on the officers page.

At the meeting it was also decided that subscriptions for 2010 will remain unchanged from 2009 (and indeed from 2005):

  • Ordinary member
  • Student member
£ 7.50

Ross Crozier, 1943-2009

13 November 2009

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the sudden death of Ross Crozier yesterday while at work at James Cook University, Queensland. Ross was one of the great pioneers of modern social insect research, and was a key figure in many fields, not least the application of molecular genetic techniques in social insect research, and the theoretical exploration of many aspects of social evolution. He was the recipient of the IUSSI's Hamilton Award at the last IUSSI international symposium in Washington in 2006.

His approachability, good humour, and ability to present complex issues in an easily understandable way will be missed as much as his exemplary research.

Pess release from James Cook University: Leading Scientist Dies

Alex Wild's blog: Ross Crozier is gone

News update May 2009

Summary of main points discussed at the IUSSI North-west European Section business meeting, Nov. 2008.

  • Our Section’s name: The Section’s name change from the ‘British Section’ to the ‘North-west European Section’ of the IUSSI was welcomed by the Section, but remains to be formally approved at the business meeting of the International Congress in Copenhagen in 2010.

  • Our Section’s Health: The Section is flourishing, with 114 new members in 2008, and over 60 people attending the Winter (2008) meeting. Please continue to encourage both new and existing members of your research groups to support the Section by joining/renewing their membership. Despite Rob’s valiant efforts, we are unfortunately still unable to accept electronic online payment for membership subscriptions.

  • Subscriptions to our Union’s journal, Insectes Sociaux: These fell by about 50% in 2008. This is thought to be a result of the transfer of the subscription process to the publisher, Birkhauser, and a subsequent ambiguous request for subscription renewals from them. The Union no longer handles orders, money transfers or other business relating to individual subscriptions to the journal. Birkhauser now sends subscribers a renewal notice, which must be paid direct to Birkhauser. They can accept bank drafts, credit card transactions and other forms of payment. Any queries, please contact the sales office at Birkhauser by sending an email to Petra.Stromberger@birkhauser.ch. This is our Union’s journal: please do support it.

  • 2010 IUSSI International Congress: If you wish to receive email updates on progress being made in the organization of our Union’s next international meeting, please send an email to IUSSI2010@bi.ku.dk, with “Updates” in the subject header. Alternatively, visit the website, which is regularly updated.

  • Website: Please continue to send all job adverts and meeting announcements to our Webmaster, David Nash (DRNash@bi.ku.dk). We would also like to encourage all members (new and old) to review the content of their “Who’s Who” section on the website (http://www.zi.ku.dk/iussi/whoswho.html), and send any appropriate updates to David. Many of the current entries are limited to a list of keywords, whilst other are an engaging description of current research interests.

Officer elections

At the Winter meeting this year, Andrew, Rob and myself will be sadly stepping down from our positions as officers of the Section. We have had a wonderful time over the last 3 years, and would like to thank you all firstly for appointing us, secondly for tolerating us, and finally for not giving us too much trouble (you do have a few months left to do so though!). So, the time has come to start looking for our successors for the posts of President, Treasurer and Secretary. Following the tradition of our Section, we would like to invite self-nominations. Each nomination must come from a proposer and a seconder from the Section’s membership. All nominations (with proposer and seconder names) must be emailed to me (Seirian.Sumner@ioz.ac.uk) by 1st September 2009. The results will be announced in the Autumn/Winter newsletter and a democratic vote held amongst the membership to resolve any positions with more than one nomination. The new officers will be confirmed by the 15th October and will take over from the existing officers at the close of the Winter meeting in November this year.

Seirian Sumner

News from the winter meeting 2008

The winter meeting 2008 was attended by some 60 delegates, including several who became members of the section at the meeting. The section membership now stands at a record level of over 100 members. Many thanks to Paul Eggleton and the Natural History Museum for once again hosting a very successful meeting.

Winter meeting 2009

Francis Ratnieks and Jeremy Field offered to host next year's winter meeting at the University of Sussex, probaby as a two-day meeting in the second week of December 2009. Full details still need to be confirmed, but the membership present at the winter 2008 meeting unanimously accepted this offer.

Insectes Sociaux

Although membership of the sectionhas increased substantially since last year, subscriptions to Insectes Sociaux have reduced dramatically, probably associated with the change in handling of subscriptions that took place last year (see news section below), and some rather confusing information sent out by the publisher. As this journal is an integral part of the IUSSI, all members were encouraged to consider taking out a personal subscription to show their support for the journal. Personal subscriptions to Insectes Sociaux still represent very good value for money, particularly to those without access to library subscriptions.

A dedicated section of this web site will be set up shortly giving information about the journal and subscriptions.

Membership subscriptions 2009

It was decided at the winter 2008 meeting that membership subscriptions would, once again, remain unchanged for the 5th year in a row. The two subscription types available are therefore:

  • Ordinary member
  • Student member
£ 7.50

Important changes following the Winter 2007 Meeting

Several important changes were announced and agreed upon at the Winter 2007 meeting of the section on the 7 December 2007. The two most important are summarized below:

Section Name

It has been felt for some time that the name of the section ('British Section') did not accuately reflect the membership of the section, since almost half the members of the section are not resident in Great Britain. Following a discussion among the 66 members of the society present at the winter 2007 meeting, several alternative names for the section (and retaining the name 'British Section') were put to the vote. As a result of this vote, the section will henceforth be known as the North-west European section.

Changes to Insectes Sociaux subscriptions

Beginning in 2008, the IUSSI (North-west European section) will no longer handle subscriptions to Insectes Sociaux. Birkhauser will take over direct handling of all subscriptions from individuals. With the new arrangement, sections will no longer have any responsibilities for collecting subscriptions, handling money, negotiating complaints, etc. Birkhauser will soon communicate directly with subscribers concerning renewals for 2008.  Gratis subscriptions will continue to be provided to the Editorial Board as at present. If you have questions, please contact Birkhauser directly at petra.stromberger@birkhauser.ch

The web page for the journal can be found at:


Student Grants

The standard amount for the student grants has been increased from £100 to £250


Please send any information that you may want included in the Newsletter to the secretary, by the dates given below:

Spring/Summer: 15 April

Autumn/Winter: 15 October

Election of new officers

At the winter 2006 meeting, the following were approved as the new officers for the IUSSI British Section, to serve 2007-2009:

Section President – Andrew Bourke

Section Secretary – Seirian Sumner

Section Treasurer – Rob Hammond

News from the IUSSI international congress

At the XV international meeting of the IUSSI in Washington D.C., USA, the following officers were elected to serve on the international committee of the IUSSI:

Secretary General: Joan Herbers
President: Koos Boomsma
Editor of Insectes Sociaux: Johan Billen
Associate editors of Insectes Sociaux: Penny Kukuk, Yves Roisin

Other officers that agreed to continue their previous positions at the meeting were:

Conservation officer: Donat Agosti
Archivist: Chris Starr
Webmaster: David Nash

The election of Koos Boomsma to the office of president is in association with the selection of Copenhagen as the site of the next international congress in summer 2010, which will be organized by the British Section.

The first Hamilton Award was given at the same meeting, to Ross Crozier.

This site is maintained and promoted on the Internet by David Nash email to: DRNash@bio.ku.dk
Last modified Monday, August 20, 2018