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Future/Past Meetings SVP 69th Annual Meeting Summary

SVP Annual Meeting and the 57th Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy (SVPCA)
Sept. 23-26, 2009
Bristol, United Kingdom

 Images from the
SVP 69th Annual Meeting
Photos courtesy of Neffra Matthews.

Well, we did it! Our first ever meeting outside North America was a resounding success with 1120 attendees, only 46 attendees short of our largest meeting in Austin in 2007. We met jointly with the 57th symposium of the Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy (SVPCA), who also co-sponsored the meeting. 

Our hosts were the Palaeobiology and Biodiversity Research Group at the University of Bristol, and the meeting’s success was guaranteed by the efforts of the hard-working and gracious host committee, chaired by Mike Benton and Emily Rayfield. Thanks to all of you! A record number of abstracts were submitted for the meeting as well as proposals for symposia. 348 oral and 423 posters were presented, and five symposia on topics ranging from molecules and morphology, Mesozoic birds, marine reptiles to synapsids and late Triassic faunas were delivered. 

All abstracts can be viewed in the downloadable SVP Annual Meeting Program and Abstract Book, and a hard copy can be ordered from In addition to the scientific presentations, there were workshops on evolution education, preparation techniques, as well as amazing field trips before and after the meeting to Darwin heritage sites and classic fossil localities both in the United Kingdom and Europe. A special thanks should go to Paul Barrett for all that he did to make the field trips successful. 

All of the symposia, field trips and workshops were highlighted in the 2009 Annual Meeting Second Circular available on the Web.
Catherine Badgley, Sir David
            Attenborough and Blaire Van Valkenburgn
University of Bristol logo

The special lecture by Sir David Attenborough was sponsored by The University of Bristol. Photo courtesy of Blaire Van Valkenburgh.

A high point of the meeting was the evening talk provided by Sir David Attenborough (Planet Earth, Life of Mammals, etc.) entitled, “Sir Alfred Russel Wallace and the Birds of Paradise.” A wonderful presence on film, Sir David was even more delightful in person. His entire talk along with a great Q & A exchange can be viewed on the University of Bristol Web site. Of course, the main focus of the meeting is the exchange of information with fellow paleontologists and old friends. T

his was enhanced by a series of well-attended social events including the welcome reception at the @Bristol Museum, the student roundtable and reprint exchange, the auction, awards ceremony and after-hours dance party. As usual, the auction was uniquely wonderful, led by Brent Breithaupt and Leslie Noé of the SVPCA, with the entire committee dressed as Pythons in search of the holy grail (or a few dollars at least). They succeeded in raising £8,139 ($13,022) that was shared between the SVP Preparators Award and the SVPCA Jones-Fenleigh Memorial Fund.

Highlights of the Annual Business Meeting included presentations by the treasurer, Ted Vlamis, on the steps taken by the Executive Committee to reduce costs, and by the chair of the Publications Committee, Mark Wilson, on the transition to publishing with Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 

In addition, Lou Taylor, as chair of the Development Committee, announced the initiation of a fund-raising campaign in December of 2009 to begin to rebuild the general fund and thereby secure our awards for the foreseeable future. Minutes of the Business meeting are available on line

Finally, Chris Beard (Carnegie Museum of Natural History) presented an exciting preview of next yea'r's annual meeting (our 70th!) in PIttsburgh, Pennsylvania. .The business meeting was capped by thanking our outgoing Secretary, Chris Brochu, and Member-at-Large, Mike Gottfried, for their years of excellent service. We welcome their replacements, Chris Bell as Secretary and Kristi Curry-Rogers as Member-at-Large.


See you in Pittsburgh in 2010!