(202) 833-877 esahq@esa.org

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information


Scientific Program And Meeting App

Presenting at the Meeting

Meeting Registration


For Students

Other Questions


General Information

Where is the 2016 Annual Meeting?

The 2016 Annual Meeting will be at the Greater Fort Lauderdale and Broward County Convention Center. Some scientific sessions and social events will be located at other sites that are very close.

When does the Annual Meeting begin and end?

The meeting runs Sunday, August 7 through Friday, August 12. 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 6 and 7). 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. You can become an ESA member at the time of registration in order to qualify for member registration rates.

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 800 invited speakers in a typical year.

Which airport and train station are closest to the meeting?

The closest airport is the Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

How can I get around Fort Lauderdale?

Broward County’s public transit website is here.

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 will have an app again this year.

Will there be wireless coverage this year?


What are some fun things to do in and around Fort Lauderdale?

The city has a local guide here.

Will there be a room for nursing mothers?

Staring on Saturday, August 6 two nursing mothers rooms will be available (Rooms 131 and 132) on level one of the convention center. Each room will have a comfortable chair, power outlet, small table and mini fridge in it.

Will there be gender neutral bathrooms at the meeting?

Yes. This year we are designating several bathrooms in the convention center as gender neutral. There will be one on each floor of the convention center. Gender neutral bathrooms are bathrooms that can be used by anyone, regardless of gender, sex, or gender presentation. The locations are: Level 1, near room 114; Level 2, near room 213; and Level 3, near room 315.



When is the deadline for abstracts? Can I submit late?

The deadline for most abstracts (everything except Latebreaking Posters)  is Thursday, February 25. If you miss the February deadline, you can still submit for the Latebreaking Poster deadline by May 5. Our deadlines are firm. All submission deadlines are 5:00 pm Eastern. Late abstracts will NOT be accepted for any deadline for any reason.

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, you should submit to the Latebreaking Poster session. If do not have any specific results to report by May, 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 in April.

When will I receive notification of my abstract acceptance?

All presenting authors except for Latebreaking Posters will be notified of acceptance by April 14. Latebreaking Poster authors will be notified by June 2.

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 19. 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, and they’ve been receiving the emails all along. Contact Jennifer Riem if you aren’t receiving the emails you should be.

How do I know my abstract submission is complete and was received on time? Can I make changes to the abstract information?

When you finish the first page of your abstract submission, you will receive an automatic email with brief instructions on how to log back in to edit your abstract.  When your submission is complete (after the confirmation step), you’ll receive a second automatic email summarizing your submission. You may use the login information in either email to return and edit your abstract before the submission deadline has passed.

After the deadline has passed, you may use your login information to view your abstract, but you may no longer edit the submission. There will be a final opportunity to edit accepted abstracts during a 2-3 week window following the arrival of the acceptance notice in April.

How do I cancel my abstract?

To withdraw your abstract, you must notify Jennifer Riem by email. 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.


Scientific Program And Meeting App

When will the full program be posted online?

We usually post a partial version by April 1 (Field Trips, Workshops, Special Sessions) with invited sessions (Symposia, Organized Orals and Posters, Ignite) following a few weeks later. The contributed sessions are posted in late May. All content is preliminary until editing is complete in early June.

When will the meeting app be available?

We are aiming to launch the app by early July.


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

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 each specific format (contributed talks, contributed posters, and contributed lightning talks).


Meeting Registration

What are the registration rates for 2016?

Our registration rates for Fort Lauderdale are available here.

Can I register on site?

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.

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 coffee available during morning 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?

If you have registered online, and decide later to add a field trip, workshop, ticketed event or a guest registration, simply log back into your ESA web account.  Please note: after June 16, you MUST print and submit a paper Supplemental Registration Form [PDF] to change your registration.The supplemental registration form is available only in print format and must be submitted to ESA by mail, fax, or as a scanned document attached to an email and sent to registrar@esa.org.

If you have registered by paper registration and you decide later to add a Field Trip, Workshop, Ticketed Event or Guest Registration you must use the Supplemental Registration Form. Please do not complete a second Meeting Registration Form as duplicate registration fee charges will result.

Please note that some field trips (and occasionally workshops) will be very popular and may fill up quickly once registration opens. A few field trips and workshops that do not reach minimum enrollment may be cancelled in July. To ensure availability of the activities that are of strong interest to you, we encourage you to go ahead and register for those by the close of Early Bird registration in June.

What is the cancellation/refund policy?

Written notification of registration cancellation must be emailed to registrar@esa.org. The registrant must notify ESA of cancellation by July 1 in order to be eligible for a refund of the registration fee paid minus a $25 processing fee. No refunds will be issued if the cancellation notice is received 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 14. If you are not presenting, you must first register for the meeting. Then you may request a letter of invitation by emailing registrar@esa.org..

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 $50 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?

Yes, they are all pretty close this year. A list of the 2016 hotel rates, including the names of all of the hotels that will be in our block, is available here. More complete information will be available when our housing reservation system opens in April.

When and where can I reserve my hotel room?

You’ll be able to reserve housing on this website starting in April.

I’m looking for a roommate. Where can I find one?

We’ll have a room and ride share forum to help you find a roommate or a ride. This will also appear in April.

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 by email or phone prior to a specified date in early July (TBD for 2016, but it’s usually around July 4th). To cancel reservations after that date, 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 25). To apply, download and complete the application form (41 KB, DOC) and email it to the address specified in the application. Award applications are due on the same date as the abstract deadline, by 5:00 PM Eastern (2:00 PM Pacific).

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 reimbursement for the early bird registration fee.

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.  Availability is a key consideration in volunteer selection, so having an open schedule increases the likelihood you will be chosen. There is more information about volunteering here.

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 (it’s inexpensive, usually $5).


I have a question that isn’t answered here! Or I found a mistake.

Please email jennifer@esa.org.