Frequently Asked Questions

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General Information
Scientific Program
Presenting at the Meeting
For Students

General Information

Where is the 2015 Annual Meeting?
The 2015 Annual Meeting will be at the Baltimore Convention Center. Some scientific sessions and social events will located at other sites that are very close.

When does the Annual Meeting begin and end?
The meeting runs Sunday, August 9 through Friday, August 14. The scientific program begins Sunday evening with the Opening Plenary at 5 pm and concludes at noon on Friday. Weekend events (workshops and field trips) also take place on Saturday and Sunday (August 8 and 9). Organized and contributed paper sessions are Monday afternoon through Friday morning. Organized and contributed poster sessions are Monday through Thursday in the late afternoon, with the exception of Latebreaking Posters which are on Friday morning.

Do I need to be a member to attend?
No, but the registration rates are reduced for members.

I’m an invited speaker. Do I need to register to attend?
Yes. This is true for all speakers as well as attendees who are not presenting. Sorry, we can’t waive or reduce registration for speakers since most of our attendees do present. We have over 1100 invited speakers this year.

Which airport and train station are closest to the meeting?
The closest airport is the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). The closest Amtrak station is Penn Station (BAL), about 2 miles away. Attendees traveling from the DC area on a weekday could also take the MARC’s Camden Line to Camden Station. More information on air and rail travel is available here. Driving directions are here.

How can I get around Baltimore?
There’s a circulator bus (it’s free), light rail, Metro (subway), and local bus routes. Here are some maps of local transit to help you figure out which service will get you where you need to go.

Does ESA offer travel support?
Sorry, we aren’t able to offer travel support for attendees. However many of our sections offer competitive awards to help attendees (often students) studying a specific topic pay their way. We don’t recommend relying on them for your travel budget though. They’re meant to help someone who is already able to attend stretch their budget a little farther, not fund an entire trip.

Is there a meeting app?
Yes, we have an app.

Will there be wireless coverage this year?
Yes, within the common areas and most session rooms within the convention center. Sessions held in the hotels (some scientific sessions and social events) will not have wireless coverage.

Where can I print things on short notice?
There’s a copy center inside the convention center.

What are some fun things to do in and around Baltimore?
The city of Baltimore has put together a guide for ESA attendees. You can check it out here.

Scientific Program

When will the full program be posted online?
It’s here.


When is the deadline for abstracts? Can I submit late?
The deadline for abstracts is Thursday, February 26. Our deadlines are firm. All submission deadlines are 5:00 pm Eastern. Late abstracts will NOT be accepted for any deadline for any reason. If you miss the February deadline, you can still submit for the Latebreaking Poster deadline by May 7.

My research will be in progress when abstracts are due in February. Can I submit an abstract for August?
You may report preliminary results for the February deadline. Preliminary means that the results described so far are only part of the story and that the specifics of the findings may change upon further analysis. Preliminary does not mean the results are vague or in future tense (Ex: “Samples differed in species count and diversity. Details will be reported at the conference.”). Abstracts that do not report at least preliminary results by the submission deadline will be rejected.

If you are unable to report some specific results by the February deadline but will be able to do so by May 7, you should submit to the Latebreaking Poster session. If do not have any specific results to report by May 7, we hope to see you present at next year’s conference.

Does submitting an abstract register me for the Annual Meeting?
No. Meeting registration is a separate process that is required for all presenters. Abstracts are due in February and registration opens later in April.

Where do historical presentations go in the theme list?
If you look under “Ecological applications, tools, and techniques” you will see an option that says “history of ecology.” We recommend you rank that one first and anything else that seems applicable second and third.

There’s also a “historical ecology” option under “Subdiscipline.” That is more about long-term ecology, often the ecology of a specific site or ecosystem over time. This one will only be appropriate for certain historical presentations. We mention it here in case it’s applicable for you.

When will I receive notification of my abstract acceptance?
All presenting authors except for Latebreaking Posters will be notified of acceptance by April 16. Latebreaking Poster authors will be notified by June 4.

When will I receive notification of the day and time of my presentation?
Presenting authors will be notified of their session scheduling (day of week, session title, session time) by May 21. A preliminary schedule which includes poster numbers and the timing of talks in sessions will be posted on the conference website soon after the scheduling notification has been sent out.  All schedule details are typically final by early June.

I submitted an abstract before the deadline but have received no correspondence about it by the notification deadline.
Occasionally we encounter a problem with an organization’s spam filter, but usually the problem is a mistake in the presenting author’s email address (a typo or outdated address entered during abstract submission). Sometimes one of the coauthors was listed as the presenting author by mistake. Contact Jennifer Riem to have any notification emails resent.

How do I know my abstract submission is complete and was received on time? Can I make changes to the abstract information?
When you begin your abstract submission, you will receive an automatic email with brief instructions on how to log back in to edit your abstract. You may use the login information in the email to edit your abstract up to the submission deadline.

When your submission is complete (after the final confirmation stage), you’ll receive a second automatic email summarizing your submission. You may use your login information to view your abstract after the submission deadline, but you may not edit the abstract at that point. There will be an opportunity to edit accepted abstracts in late April.

How do I cancel my abstract?
To withdraw your abstract, you must notify Jennifer Riem. You will be notified when your abstract has been withdrawn from the program. You must cancel by May 1 in order to avoid any penalties. For more information on this see the Cancellations section.


Presenting at the Meeting

What size is a poster board?
Each presenter is provided with a 4 ft high by 8 ft wide poster board (1.2 m by 2.4 m). Poster boards have a 2.5 cm (1 in.) frame. Posters must be able to fit on the board but can be any size within these maximum dimensions. A typical poster size is 3-4 feet tall by 4-5 feet wide.

How long is a talk?
Most talks (contributed and organized oral) are 20 minutes long. This is 15 minutes for the talk and 5 minutes for Q&A and transition to the next speaker.

Symposium talks are longer: 30 minutes total, 25 minutes for the talk and 5 minutes for Q&A and transition to the next speaker.

Ignite talks and Lightning talks are only 5 minutes. No time to lose your train of thought with these!

Where and when do I hang up my poster?
All poster session will be in the Exhibit Hall. Every poster presenter will receive specific instructions, including their board number, in an email a few weeks before the meeting. If you’ve lost the email instructions, locate your poster listing in the online or print program to find your board number. Each poster is listed by session with a numbering system that lists the session number first and the board number second. For example,if the program listing says PS 1-25, that poster should go on board #25.

The Monday through Thursday poster sessions are 4:30-6:30 PM. It’s best to hang your poster in the morning on the day of your presentation, and you will need to take it down immediately once the session is over. It is best to hang your poster before the Exhibit Hall opens (before 11:30 AM). This allows attendees to drop into the Exhibit Hall and read it throughout the afternoon. Talks start at 8 AM, so we recommend hanging your poster on your way to the morning sessions between 7 and 8 in the morning. You will be able to enter the hall starting at 7 AM as long as you are wearing your ESA badge and carrying a poster tube.

I’m giving an Ignite talk. How does that work?
Each Ignite talk will feature 20 slides that advance automatically every 15 seconds. We’ll make sure the session organizer, moderator, and A/V volunteer all have instructions on how to set a PowerPoint presentation to automatically advance. It’s not difficult, we promise. We will also send the instructions to every presenter in advance so that you can practice your talk using the automated timings. You will need to use PowerPoint for this particular format to work smoothly. More information is available within the call for proposals.

I’m giving a lightning talk. How does that work?
Each lightning talk is very similar to the 15 minute contributed talks, with two exceptions. One, the lightning talk is only 5 minutes long, and two, rather than a separate Q&A time following each presentation, there is a 10 minute period for discussion after every group of 4 speakers. An example schedule is available within the call for abstracts.

I have more detailed questions about setting up my poster or talk.

More detailed information about what to expect when presenting a talk or a poster will be emailed to every presenter over the summer, and it is also available in the calls for contributed talks, contributed posters, and contributed lightning talks (click the “Presentation Guidelines” tab). We’re repeating only a few basic answers on this page.



Can I register after August 3rd? How?
Yes, you can always register on site at our meetings. Please come to our Registration area where we will be happy to help you. Please be advised that there may be a line on Sunday and Monday, as these are very popular dates for registering on site. You should give yourself some extra time.

Where is Registration?
We’re in the Charles Street Lobby inside the Baltimore Convention Center.

What are Registration’s hours on site?
3:00 – 6:00 PM
6:30 AM – 6:30 PM
Monday – Thursday                    
6:30 AM – 6:30 PM
7:00 AM – 12:00 noon

Do I need to be a member to attend?
No, but the registration rates are lower for members. You can still become an ESA member for 2015 to qualify for member registration rates.

What does my registration fee include?
Your registration fee includes access to all ESA oral and posters sessions, plenaries, the exhibit hall, business meetings, and non-ticketed social events. There’s also free coffee available during breaks. The Latebreaking Poster session on Friday morning has free pastries. Food is otherwise not included unless you register for a specific event (such as a workshop or field trip) that includes a meal or snack as part of its registration.

Can I register to attend the meeting now and add optional activities to my registration later?
Yes, after you submit a registration form (online or print form), you may subsequently complete a supplemental registration form to add optional field trip, workshop, ticketed event, and/or guest registration. Please note, however, that you will not be able to add these to your registration using the online meeting registration system. The supplemental registration form is available only in print format and must be submitted to ESA by mail, by fax, or as a scanned document attached to an email and sent to

Field trips and workshops that do not reach minimum enrollment may be cancelled prior to the meeting. Since these decisions must be made by early July, we encourage you to go ahead and register for any optional activities you are interested in by the close of Early Bird registration.

What is the cancellation/refund policy?
Written notification of registration cancellation must be emailed to The registrant must submit registration cancellation notice by July 1 in order to be eligible for a refund of the registration fee paid less a $25 processing fee. No refunds will be issued if cancellation notice is given after July 1 except in extenuating circumstances (illness, family emergency).

How do I request a letter of invitation for my visa application?
If you are giving a presentation, we will include instructions in your acceptance email that allow you to download an invitation letter from our website. This email will be sent April 16. If you are not presenting, you must first register for the meeting. Then you may request a letter of invitation by emailing the meeting registrar.

Can I bring a guest?
Yes, guests are welcome. If a friend or family member would like to attend any of our non-scientific events, you should register them as your guest. The fee to register an adult guest (18 years old or older) who will accompany an attendee at the meeting is $45 per guest. Child or youth guests may be registered at no charge. Registered guests may attend plenary sessions and access the exhibit hall. They may also attend field trips and ticketed events, but keep in mind you should also pay any applicable fees for such events. Registered guests do not attend symposia, oral sessions, workshops, and special sessions. Anyone planning to attend such events should register as an attendee rather than a guest.


Where are hotels that are close to the convention center?
All of the hotels in our housing block are within walking distance of the convention center. You’ll be able to see them on a map when you browse our housing options. This information will be available in April.

When and where can I reserve my hotel room?
You’ll be able to request housing starting in April. Reservations for 2015 will be accepted until July 6th, subject to availability. We recommend booking your room in April or May since this will be a big meeting.

I’m looking for a roommate. Where can I find one?
We have a room and ride share forum to help you find a roommate or a ride.

Will the ESA Housing Bureau charge my credit card to guarantee my reservation?
The ESA Housing Bureau will not charge your credit card. However, your hotel may charge a deposit of one night’s room and tax as early as three weeks prior to the start of the ESA Annual Meeting. Deposit amounts may vary. Please refer to the deposit policy in your hotel confirmation.

Will I receive a hotel confirmation?
Yes. A detailed confirmation will be automatically emailed to you once your reservation has been made.

What is the hotel cancellation policy?
You can cancel reservations through the ESA Housing Bureau prior to July 6th by email or phone. To cancel reservations after July 6th, please contact your hotel directly. Cancellation policies will vary by hotel. Please check your reservation for details.

For Students

Is there an award for best student presentation? How do I apply?
Yes! There are two awards, one for best contributed talk (Buell Award) and one for best contributed poster (Braun award). The deadline is the same as for abstracts (February 26). Application is simple: there is an optional step in the contributed abstract form that you will need to complete in order to apply. The form asks if you would like to apply for the award, your current education level, and a short essay (250 words or less) explaining why your research advances ecology.

There are also a number of Section awards available to students. More information on those awards is available here (click the Chapter/Section Awards tab).

What opportunities are there to help students cover meeting expenses?
To help with meeting expenses, ESA offers students the opportunity to volunteer at the Annual Meeting. In exchange for 14 hours of volunteer service, ESA will refund volunteers’ Early Bird registration fee.  See the next question for more information about volunteering.

How and when do I apply to volunteer? What is involved?
Student volunteers perform various jobs to help the meeting run smoothly. Typical tasks include serving as a projectionist for sessions, providing information to attendees at the Info Desk, and providing assistance at Registration. Student volunteers must complete at least 14 hours of volunteer service to receive a be eligible for their early bird registration fees.

In order to be considered for a volunteer assignment, you must: 1) be a current student, 2) register for the Annual Meeting by the Early Bird registration deadline, and 3) submit a complete student volunteer application by the Early Bird deadline. The Early Bird deadline is June 19 this year. Availability is a key consideration in volunteer selection, so having an open schedule increases the likelihood you will be chosen. More information will be posted in April when the application opens.

I’m new and this meeting is huge. Help! How do I find my way around?
We suggest four things. First, realize that everyone here was once new and didn’t know anyone else. People are generally friendly, so don’t be afraid to attend mixers in your area of interest and introduce yourself to people. Second, attend the student orientation. It is specifically designed to help you learn your way around. Third, attend a few student events. They’re the best place to meet other students and learn what is going on at the meeting. Fourth, we encourage you to meet with one of our mentors who can help guide you. Mentors will be available during the welcome reception (it’s free, after the opening plenary) and during the networking breakfast event on Tuesday (register for TK 2, it’s $5).