Call for Abstracts: Contributed Posters

100th ESA Annual Meeting
Baltimore, Maryland
August 9 – 14, 2015

Deadline: 5:00 PM Eastern (2:00 PM Pacific)
Thursday, February 26, 2015

Proposals that are incomplete or received after the deadline will not be considered.

All ESA Annual Meeting proposal and abstract deadlines are 5:00 PM Eastern so that technical support and ESA staff assistance will be immediately available when submitters need it. If you begin your submission very close to the deadline, you are choosing to take a risk and we will NOT make an exception if you don’t complete your submission in time. The form automatically closes at 5:00 EST (2:00 PST) whether you have completed your submission or not.

About Contributed Poster Abstracts

We invite submission of abstracts for contributed poster presentations for the 100th ESA Annual Meeting. Abstracts are encouraged to address the meeting theme “Ecological science at the frontier: Celebrating the ESA Centennial” if appropriate, but doing so is not necessary. We welcome submissions that report interdisciplinary work, address communication with broad audiences, or explore ways of teaching ecology at any level.

Posters presentations are two hours long and give presenters an opportunity for extended discussion and networking. Individually submitted contributed abstracts will be grouped together to create poster sessions organized around a common theme. Abstract authors will rank their preferred session themes as part of the abstract submission process. Poster sessions are 4:30-6:30 pm Monday through Thursday. By submitting an abstract, a presenting author is indicating they will be available during any of the possible time slots.

Before You Begin

Please read and follow the abstract guidelines carefully. They are provided here as a guide to help you plan in advance. You can start your submission, save your progress, and then return to complete it at any time before the deadline has passed. A login and password will be automatically emailed to you when you begin an abstract submission. You may log in to view your abstract by going to:

If this is your first time submitting an abstract for an ESA meeting, we suggest reading some contributed abstracts from a previous meeting. Programs from recent meetings are available online (2014, 2013, 2012). If you are a student, we strongly encourage you to work closely with your faculty adviser as you develop your abstract.

If you encounter problems during abstract submission, email Jennifer Riem and include the abstract ID number.

Abstract Guidelines

  • The abstract must primarily report on new work within the field of ecology. Reviews of previous work are not permissible for contributed presentations.
  • The body of the abstract is up to 400 words, split between the two sections (up to 200 words each): Background/Question/Methods, in which the objective of the study is clearly identified and the methods are described; and Results/Conclusions, in which specific results of the study are explicitly reported and their implications for ecology are briefly discussed.
  • The abstract must report specific results. The results may be preliminary but they may not be vague. Abstracts without explicitly stated results will be rejected.It is understandable that abstracts describing non-traditional work may lack quantitative data; however, it is still expected that the abstract will address some question and have a “take-home message” describing specific findings.
  • Abstracts must be clear. Poorly written abstracts will be rejected.
  • Abstracts must be written in English and must follow standard grammar and punctuation rules. Abstracts that do not meet this guideline will be rejected.
  • For every author listed, their name, institution, and email are required information.
  • Missing coauthors are a very common issue. Be sure to check to make sure everyone has been included.
  • Any author can be designated as the presenting author. The presenting author’s name will appear in bold text. The presenting author is also the corresponding author. In order to receive notifications from us, it is important to make sure the correct person is indicated and that their email is entered correctly

If you are unsure if your presentation meets our guidelines, please ask us. We would rather talk to you about it in advance than send you a rejection notice in April.

Session Assignment

  • During abstract submission, you will rank 3 themes to guide the grouping of your presentation into a session with similar presentations.
  • Consider the themes carefully. We encourage you to browse sessions from recent conferences (2013, 2012, 2011) to see which session themes you would feel most at home in. Your colleagues who do similar work may not be ranking the topics you would think.
  • The frequency with which themes are ranked determines which themes ultimately become sessions each year.
  • Poster sessions are Monday-Thursday, 4:30-6:30 PM. By submitting an abstract, you are indicating you will be available during any of the possible time slots. Special scheduling requests cannot be honored.

Editing Abstracts

Abstract editing will be available for a short window (2-3 weeks) in April and early May. All presenting authors will receive instructions and a specific deadline by email. Edits are not possible outside the May editing window.

Meeting Registration

The presenting author of every accepted abstract will also need to register and will be reminded to do so in meeting correspondence. Registration is a separate process that will open in April.

One Presentation Rule

What the rule means

  • Each person is allowed to submit only one abstract where they are listed as presenting author. This rule is enforced in order to encourage broad participation.
  • Coauthors are not included in this rule. A person may serve as a coauthor on any number of abstracts.

Exceptions to the rule

An author may submit an abstract for a second presentation if one of the abstracts:

  • primarily reports on ecology education or outreach.
  • primarily reports on  the history of ecology as a discipline.
  • is for an Ignite presentation.

Other things you can still do that are not affected by the rule

  • Serve as a session organizer and/or moderator for any session type.
  • Preside over a contributed session.
  • Speak in a workshop or special session.

Please contact Program Coordinator Jennifer Riem if you have questions about whether an abstract fits these criteria.

E. Lucy Braun Award for Excellence in Ecology

Lucy Braun, an eminent plant ecologist and one of the charter members of the Society, studied and mapped the deciduous forest regions of eastern North America and described them in her classic book The Deciduous Forests of Eastern North America. To honor her, the E. Lucy Braun Award is given to a student for the outstanding poster presentation at the ESA Annual Meeting.

If you are a student (undergraduate or graduate) who is the presenting author of a presentation, you are eligible to be considered. Papers and posters will be judged on significance of ideas, creativity, quality of methodology, validity of conclusions drawn from results, and clarity of presentation. The students selected for these awards will be announced in the ESA Bulletin after the Annual Meeting. A certificate and a check for $500 will be presented to the recipient at the following ESA Annual Meeting. While all students are encouraged to apply, winning papers and posters typically describe fully completed projects.

How to Apply

To apply, simply complete the questions in the “Student Award” section of the abstract form. These questions are provided here to help you prepare your abstract in advance.

  1. What is your education level (as of the August meeting)?
    • Undergraduate student
    • Graduate student
    • Recent doctorate (within 9 months of graduation as of August)
  2. Does the research being presented describe the results of a fully completed project?
    • Yes/No
  3. Please describe why/ how the research you will present will advance the field of ecology. (250 words maximum)

Cancellations and No Shows

The presenting author should notify ESA as soon as possible if a presentation needs to be cancelled, even if it’s on a date close to or during the Annual Meeting. To cancel, reply to any of the notification emails received about the presentation.

f you are employed by a federal agency and are facing a challenging process to acquire travel approval, rest assured that ESA will be lenient regarding penalties in such cases. In return we ask that you help us adapt by keeping us informed. The sooner we know of each cancellation, the less disruptive it will be. If by mid-April when acceptance notices are sent you are still unsure about whether your travel will be approved, please let us know.


The deadline for cancellation without risk of penalty is May 1. Before submitting an abstract, presenters should be reasonably confident that they will attend the meeting and make the presentation as scheduled. Presenters in uncertain funding situations should cancel by May 1 or be prepared to pay the late cancellation fee.

Cancellations after May 1 (late cancellations) and failures to give scheduled presentations without any notice (no shows) are disruptive and leave gaps in the program that are a source of frustration for attendees. Therefore, ESA enforces penalties for avoidable situations that result in gaps in the meeting program. These penalties apply only to the presenting author, not to any coauthors, and for all presentation types (invited and contributed, posters and talks).

The late cancellation fee is $50 USD. The no show penalty is a one year presentation ban, regardless of presentation type (posters and talks). Any abstract with the penalized author listed as the presenting author will not be accepted for the following year’s conference.

Extenuating circumstances

We realize that sometimes sudden and unforeseen events outside of a presenter’s control prevent them from presenting as scheduled. For example, medical issues, family emergencies, unforeseen travel problems, difficulty acquiring a visa for travel to the US, and similar unforeseen situations outside of a presenter’s control.  The late cancellation and no show penalties will not be applied to presenters with unavoidable reasons for not attending the conference.

Late cancellations due to a presenter’s inability to secure funding to attend, starting a new job, or other scheduling conflicts are considered avoidable and the penalties will apply.

Replacement speakers

A replacement speaker is encouraged if a speaker’s plans change after May 1. The substitute speaker does not necessarily need to be a coauthor. You do not need to notify ESA about replacement speakers since we cannot update the program.

Presentation Guidelines

  • Conversation is encouraged at our poster sessions. These sessions provide an opportunity for extended discussion and networking. A cash bar will be available.
  • Poster sessions are 4:30-6:30 PM Monday through Thursday. Presenters are required to be present for the duration of their scheduled 2-hoursession.
  • Each presenter should hang their poster before the session begins and remove it at the end of the session.
  • The Exhibit Hall will be open during the lunch break on the day of each poster session (11:30 AM – 1:30 PM) and during each session (4:30-6:30 PM). At other times the hall will be closed.  Poster presenters will also be allowed access from 7 AM to 8 AM each morning. It is up to you whether you hang your poster early in the morning, during lunch, or right as the session begins.
  • There is no poster size requirement except that the poster fits on the provided board. Poster boards are landscape format with dimensions 8 ft wide x 4 feet tall (2.4 m wide x 1.2 m tall). To ensure the poster will fit, presenters should design posters to be at least 2 inches (5 cm) smaller on each margin.
  • Pushpins are the only method allowed for attaching the poster to the board. These will be supplied on site.
  • Poster presenters may not use audio-visual equipment. Unfortunately we cannot accommodate the space and logistical requirements for such equipment.
  • Poster presenters are welcome to bring handouts. Many poster presenters bring a few 8.5×11 copies of their posters to provide as handouts. These will fit into an envelope that can be attached to the poster board using pushpins.

Important Dates

February 26, 2015 Abstract submission deadline.
April 16, 2015 Notification of acceptance sent to presenting author.
May 1, 2015 Deadline to cancel without penalty. This is also the deadline for editing abstracts.
May 21, 2015 Notification of scheduling (session date and time) sent to presenting author.

To Submit

Click the button below to begin submission.

Link To Submission Form


Dr. Carol Brewer
Prairie Ecotone Research Group, LLC
PO Box 1135
Berthoud CO 80513

Jennifer Riem
Program Coordinator
Ecological Society of America
1990 M Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036 USA
Phone: (202) 833-8773 x 218