Call for Organized Oral Session Proposals

96th ESA Annual Meeting
Austin, Texas
August 7 - 12, 2011

Call Open: July 19 - September 16, 2010

We invite proposals for organized oral sessions for the 96th ESA Annual Meeting. The meeting will be held August 7-12, 2011 in Austin, Texas at the Austin Convention Center.

Organized oral sessions are organized around a specific topic with most of the speakers invited by the organizer. These sessions are distinguished from symposia in that 1) there is less emphasis on breadth of appeal and overall synthesis; 2) they may be comprised largely of related case studies; 3) talks are set at 15 minutes each, with 5 minutes following for discussion (as in contributed oral sessions); and 4) at least 2 time slots out of the 10 available in an organized oral session are reserved for placing related talks from the contributed abstracts by the Program Chair.

Organized oral sessions are limited to half-day sessions (3.5 hours long); full-day organized oral sessions will not be considered. Proposals addressing the meeting theme, “Earth Stewardship:  Preserving and enhancing earth's life-support systems” are especially welcome, but any timely and coherent subject of broad interest will be considered. We also welcome proposals that explore interdisciplinary connections with areas of social and natural science outside of ecology or that relate to ecological education at any level.

Applications must be received on or before Thursday, September 16, 2010. You must use the online submission site at that will be available from the ESA website ( as of July 19, 2010.

  1. Evaluation Process and Criteria
  2. Endorsements
  3. Presentation Rules
  4. If Your Proposal Is Accepted
  5. Application Format
  6. Cancellation Policy
  7. Summary of Deadlines
  8. Begin Submission Process

A. Evaluation Process and Criteria

Organized oral session proposals will be assessed under the following criteria. Weighting of particular criteria may vary depending on the nature of proposals, but proposals should explicitly address these criteria, as appropriate.

Decisions will be made by December 16, 2010.

Scientific strength: Sessions may receive higher priority if they:

  • feature significant contributions to or advances in ecological understanding
  • present innovative and original work
  • provide examples of how ecological research benefited from attention to public policy concerns, outreach or educational activities.

Structure and organization: Strong proposals will describe sessions where:

  • individual talks clearly contribute to a coherent whole
  • the collection of speakers offers a range of perspectives; organizers should carefully avoid the appearance of biases toward their own perspectives

Integration: Proposals may receive higher priority if they are clearly linked to the meeting's overall theme, or to other sessions proposed for this meeting or presented at recent ESA meetings.

Speakers: Invited speakers may be a mix of well-established scientists, rising stars, and newcomers, but each speaker should bring new contributions to the session, not simply reviews of previous work. Inclusion of experienced or particularly engaging speakers can strengthen a proposal, but new voices are also important. Proposals with a larger proportion of confirmed speakers will be favored.

All speakers will be required to submit an abstract by the February 24, 2011, abstract submission deadline. The session organizer is responsible for assuring that all abstracts are received by this date.

B. Endorsements

There are no official endorsements of Organized Oral Sessions.

C. Presentation Rules

In the interest of broadening participation, an individual is allowed to be an organizer (either a principal organizer or a co-organizer) for only one organized oral session.

Moderators for organized oral sessions may not serve as speakers in those sessions.  A moderator may, however, be a speaker in another session.

Persons agreeing to present papers in organized oral sessions also should be aware that the one-paper-rule will be enforced. That is, anyone who is first author or presenter of an organized oral session paper cannot also be first author or presenter for another paper whether for a symposium, organized oral session, contributed oral session, or poster session. Organizers should make certain that speakers they recruit understand this rule and make no conflicting commitments.

Exceptions to the one-paper rule may be made for participants in special sessions or workshops and for plenary speakers. Also, an author may submit an abstract for a second presentation ONLY if the second abstract is directly related to ecology education, scientific outreach, the history of ecology, or the history of ESA. Historical topics are now exempted in recognition of the ESA's Centennial in 2015.

D. If Your Proposal Is Accepted

After organized oral sessions are accepted and the scheduling for the meeting is underway, cancellations and schedule changes are very disruptive to meeting planning. Hence, organized oral session organizers should obtain firm commitments from as many of their invited speakers as possible before submitting their proposal.

If a proposal is accepted, the organizer(s) must submit a final summary description of the organized oral session to the Program Coordinator no later than January 21, 2011. This summary will appear on the meeting website, should have a description written so as to stimulate interest and promote attendance by a general audience, and thus is different in focus from the longer description in the original proposal. This final summary must include a complete and current listing of organizers' names and their affiliations, addresses, telephone and fax numbers, and email addresses; a 250 word description of the session; a single-sentence (up to 50 words) description of the session; and a final, confirmed speaker list.

It is the responsibility of the organized oral session organizers to see that each speaker submits an individual abstract of his/her talk through the Abstract Submission site by the February 24, 2011, deadline.

ESA is not able to provide any financial assistance, stipends, free registration, travel assistance, or paid lodging to organized oral session organizers or to individual session participants. Organizers are responsible for making this clear to the participants.

E. Application Format

All proposals MUST follow the format of the online submission form on the ESA meeting website. Incomplete and inaccurate information provided on these forms may result in the proposal not being accepted.

Note that the following information must be entered during proposal submission. A list is provided here to assist you in planning your submission. Also note that the web page format may differ slightly from the format listed here.

All proposals must include:

  • Title of organized oral session
  • Principal organizer (Name, institution or affiliation, email)
  • Co-organizers (Names, institutions or affiliations, email). Indicate which of the organizers will serve as moderator. The moderator may not serve as a speaker in the session.
  • Speakers (Names, affiliations, and tentative titles or topics). Indicate which speakers are confirmed and which are tentative.
  • Description (< 400 words) and justification (<250 words) of the session: Background information, goals, objectives, importance, and interest to the membership of ESA. The description should focus on the theme and structure of session (including anticipated sequence of speakers and topics), while the justification should focus on how the review criteria are met by the proposal and should not simply repeat the description. Keep in mind the evaluation criteria in preparing your description and justification.

When you submit your proposal on the website submission form, you will be notified of receipt by email to the address that you provide. If you do not receive such notification within 2 days of submitting your proposal, please contact Program Coordinator Jennifer Riem at Organizers of accepted Organized Oral Sessions will be notified by the end of February regarding the date and time for their sessions at the Annual Meeting. Organizers are responsible for notifying all participants in their session of the date, time, and place of the session.

F. Cancellation Policy

Late cancellations and failures to give scheduled presentations (no shows) are disruptive and leave costly gaps in the program that are distracting to all attendees.
Therefore, ESA has adopted the following cancellation policy and fee schedule (all values are in US dollars):
ESA’s late cancellation and no show policy:

  • In all cases where cancellation is unavoidable, the author should notify Jennifer Riem by email as soon as possible.
  • The deadline to cancel without penalty is May 1, 2011. After May 1, 2011 authors are charged a late cancellation fee.
  • After May 15, 2011, authors are charged a late cancellation fee and banned from presenting at the 2012 conference.
  • Presenting authors who do not notify ESA of cancellation and fail to present at the scheduled time (no shows) are at risk for the late cancellation fee and a 2 year presentation ban (2012-2013).
  • The late cancellation fee is $60.00 US Dollars for oral presentations and $40.00 US Dollars for poster presentations.

Exceptions: Cancellation fees and penalties may be waived for extenuating circumstances. Consideration will be made on a case by case basis. Please include a brief reason for the cancellation if you would like us to consider waiving the applicable penalties.
Fees for cancellations will be processed within 4 weeks of notification. Fees for cancellations received after July 1 and all no shows will be processed after the Annual Meeting. Decisions regarding bans from future meetings will be made after the Annual Meeting.

G. Summary of Deadlines:

September 16, 2010: Deadline for proposal submission
December 16, 2010: Notification of acceptance sent out
January 20, 2011: Deadline to submit final revisions and confirmed speaker lists
February 17, 2011: Notification of date and time of organized oral sessions sent out
February 24, 2011: Deadline for speakers to submit abstracts for their talks (required)


Dr. Thomas W. Jurik
Program Chair
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011

Phone: (515) 294-5617
FAX: (515) 294-1337
E-mail: Thomas W. Jurik

Jennifer Riem
Program Coordinator
Ecological Society of America
1990 M Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036 USA

Phone: (202) 833-8773 x 218
Fax: (202) 833-8775

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Banner photo by Flickr user greg westfall.