Call for Organized Poster Session Proposals

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

Deadline: 5:00 PM Eastern (2:00 PM Pacific)
Thursday, September 25, 2014

Any proposals sent by email or 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 Organized Poster Sessions

We invite proposals for organized poster sessions for the 100th ESA Annual Meeting, “Ecological Science at the Frontier: Celebrating ESA’s Centennial.” Organized poster sessions will consist of sets of posters in multiples of 5 that are organized around a specific topic with all of the presenters invited by the organizer. Organized poster sessions will be scheduled during one of the regular poster sessions at the annual meeting, from 4:30-6:30 PM, Monday-Thursday. All posters in each organized poster session will be placed as a group in the exhibit hall.

Proposals are encouraged to address the meeting theme,  “Ecological science at the frontier: Celebrating the ESA Centennial,” if appropriate, but doing so is not necessary. Any timely and coherent subject of broad ecological 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.

Proposal Format

All proposals must include:

  • Title of organized poster session
  • Principal organizer (Name, institution or affiliation, email)
  • Co-organizers (Names, institutions or affiliations, email).
  • 5-20 Speakers in multiples of 5. (Names, affiliations, and tentative titles or topics). Only speakers who have been contacted and have committed to the session should be listed.
  • Session description (< 400 words) : Should focus on the theme of the session. May include background information, goals, objectives, importance, and interest to the membership of ESA. The description should avoid overly specialized language. Any ecologist attending the meeting should be able to understand it. It will appear in the online program and be read by attendees deciding whether or not to attend the session.
  • Session justification (< 250 words): The justification should focus on how the review criteria are met by the proposal. It should not simply repeat the description.
  • One sentence session summary (<50 words): This is a very short version of the session description. It will appear in the print program and be read by attendees deciding whether or not to attend the session.

Review Criteria

All proposals will be peer reviewed and scored by reviewers selected by the ESA Program Committee. The Program Committee may accept, decline, or offer an opportunity to present the proposed work in a more appropriate format (organized oral session, workshop, or special session).  Session organizers will be notified of decisions by December 11, 2014.

Proposals will be assessed using the following criteria. The weighting of particular criteria may vary depending on the nature of proposals.

A strong organized poster session proposal will:

Scientific strength

  • 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

  • form a coherent whole through contributions from individual presenters
  • offer a range of perspectives through the collection of speakers
  • avoid the appearance of biases toward their organizers’ own perspectives


  • list 5-20 CONFIRMED speakers in a multiple of 5 (speakers who have been contacted and have committed to the session)
  • include a specific title for every speaker’s poster
  • offer a diverse mix of speakers, each of whom brings new contributions to the session

Endorsements: There are no official endorsements of organized poster sessions.

Other Details To Consider

In the interest of broadening participation, an individual is allowed to be the lead organizer for only one scientific session (symposium, organized oral, or organized poster).

The moderator of an organized oral session must be someone who is not a speaker in that session (they may speak in another session). An organizer of an organized oral session may serve as its moderator or one of its speakers, but not both.

Speakers who commit to speaking in an organized oral session should be aware that the one presentation rule will be enforced. That is, anyone who is the presenter in the session cannot also present in another scientific session (symposium, organized oral, organized poster, contributed talk, contributed poster). Organizers are responsible for notifying any speakers they recruit about this rule.

The one presentation rule does not apply to participants speaking in Ignite sessions, special sessions, workshops, or a plenary. There is an exemption to the one presentation rule for an author submitting an abstract for a second presentation IF the second abstract is directly related to ecology education, scientific outreach, or the history of ecology or

If Your Proposal Is Accepted

After acceptance decisions have been made and the scheduling for the meeting is underway, cancellations and schedule changes are very disruptive to meeting planning. It is therefore very important that session organizers obtain firm commitments from their invited speakers before submitting their proposal.

If a proposal is accepted, the organizer will be required to submit an up to date version of the session details and confirmed speaker list in January.

Organizers will be informed of their session’s time and date in mid February. Organized poster sessions may be scheduled for any poster session timeslot between Monday and Thursday (always 4:30-6:30 pm). The program committee will attempt to avoid any overt conflicts between sessions and will give organizers an opportunity to notify us of known scheduling conflicts (strictly defined as conflicts between accepted sessions).

Communication With Speakers

If a proposal is accepted as a session, it is very important that the organizer communicates with speakers between December and August about the acceptance status of the session, the confirmation status of speakers, abstract requirements and deadlines, session scheduling information, and expectations for participation in the conference. Here are a few details that all speakers should know up front. Miscommunication about them can disrupt session planning later in the process.

We are unable to honor scheduling requests. When asking speakers to commit to the session, organizers should inform them that the session could be scheduled any day Monday through Friday. We cannot schedule or move a session to accommodate the availability of speakers.

Speakers who fail to submit an abstract on time will be removed from the session. It is the responsibility of the session organizer to make sure each speaker submits an abstract for his/her talk using the unique link that will be emailed to each speaker in January. And this starts with making sure all of your speakers are aware of the deadline early on.

All speakers are required to register for the conference. Registration will not be waived or reduced for any speaker. We greatly appreciate the contributions of invited speakers, but due to the number of organized sessions, we typically invite over 800 speakers each year. ESA is not able to provide any financial assistance, stipends, free or reduced registration, travel assistance, or paid lodging to session organizers or to individual session participants. Organizers are responsible for making this clear to their speakers.

Cancellations (For Presenters)

Instructions for how to cancel are included in all notification emails sent to presenters. Presenters should reply to any of those emails to cancel.

Late Cancellations And No Shows

The deadline for cancellation without risk of penalty is May 1. 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 the following penalties for avoidable situations which result in gaps in the meeting program.

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.

Late Cancellations (after May 1)

The late cancellation fee is $50 USD for all presentation types (invited and contributed, posters and talks). It applies only to the presenting author, not to any coauthors.

No Shows

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. This penalty applies only to the presenting author, not to any coauthors. The ban is for presenting a formal talk or poster only. The presenting author can still organize a session, be listed as a coauthor, and attend the conference.

Extenuating circumstances

We realize that sometimes unforeseen events outside of a presenter’s control prevent them from presenting as scheduled. For example, a flight cancellation, medical condition, or family emergency.  A presenter in such a situation should reply to any of the notification emails sent to presenters. Messages and notes passed in person on the meeting site are highly unreliable! Email is by far the best method for letting us know what has happened. We may not be able to respond during the conference but we will save all such messages for processing after the conference.

The late cancellation and no show penalties will not be applied to presenters with understandable and unavoidable reasons for not attending the conference (medical issues, family emergencies, unforeseen travel problems, difficulty acquiring a visa for travel to the US, and similar situations outside of a presenter’s control). Late cancellations due to a presenter’s inability to secure funding to attend, starting a new job, or other scheduling conflicts are considered avoidable.

If a cancellation is unavoidable, the author should notify ESA as soon as possible. Please let us know if you will not be able to present, even if you are cancelling on a date close to or during the Annual Meeting. If you are cancelling after May 1 and would like us to consider waiving the applicable penalties, please include a brief reason for the cancellation when you contact us.  We realize that in the cases of no shows, sometimes a presenter’s immediate problems cannot be communicated to ESA staff until after the scheduled presentation time has passed. We will be lenient for such situations if we receive some sort of explanation from the presenter, even if the message is sent after the presentation would have occurred. For other cases, where there is not a compelling reason and no notice was received, the no show penalty will be enforced.

Replacement speaker

A replacement speaker is allowed (and encouraged) if your plans change close to the conference dates. If circumstances prevent attendance for a scheduled presentation, the presenting author should attempt to find another person to make the presentation on their behalf. A coauthor is ideal, but the substitute speaker does not necessarily need to be a coauthor. If you have arranged for a replacement speaker after May 15, you do not need to notify ESA because we cannot update the program. However, please notify session organizers if applicable.

Important Dates

September 25, 2014 Deadline for submitting a proposal to ESA.
December 11, 2014 Notification of acceptance sent to organizer.
January 12, 2015 Deadline to submit session revisions and confirmed speaker lists.
February 12, 2015 Notification of scheduling (session date and time) sent to organizer.
February 26, 2015 Deadline for speakers to submit abstracts.

To Submit

You must submit your proposal using the online submission form. Proposals sent by email will not be considered. When you submit your proposal, you will be automatically notified of receipt by an email sent to the address that you provide. If you do not receive such a notification, please contact Program Coordinator Jennifer Riem at to confirm that your proposal was received. You will be able to return to the proposal to edit it until the submission deadline has passed. Information on how to do so will be included in the automated email.

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