U P D A T E S :
FT 3, FT 6, TK 1, TK 2 and WK 3 are sold out. WK 4 and WK 5 are cancelled.

Submit Your Special Session Proposal

2019 ESA Annual Meeting
Louisville, Kentucky
August 11 – 16, 2019


5:00 PM Eastern (2:00 PM Pacific)
Thursday, November 15, 2018

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.

ESA meetings, open to ESA members and those interested in ecology, are among the most respected meetings of ecologists in the science community. ESA is committed to providing a safe, productive and welcoming environment for all meeting participants and ESA staff. All participants including, but not limited to, attendees, speakers, volunteers, exhibitors, ESA staff, service providers and others are expected to abide by the ESA Meetings Code of Conduct.  The Code of Conduct applies to all ESA meeting-related events including those sponsored by organizations other than ESA but held in conjunction with ESA events, in public or private facilities. In addition, ESA members and authors of ESA publications must adhere to the ESA Scientific Integrity and Professional Ethics Policy.

How to Submit

You must submit your proposal using the online submission form. Proposals sent by email will not be considered. Click the link below to begin by selecting which type of proposal you would like to submit. 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 two automated emails you will receive, first when you begin and then when you complete your submission.

About Special Sessions

We invite proposals for special sessions for the 2019 ESA Annual Meeting. Special sessions complement the formal scientific program, providing an opportunity for presentations or extended dialogue and exchanges beyond what is usually possible in the regular scientific sessions. These sessions are not appropriate for the presentation of formal research talks and do not include presentation abstracts. Special sessions do not conform to any single structure. They may, for example, involve one presenter, a series of presenters, a panel, a film or video, an open-ended discussion, or some combination of these.

Image of a wooded shoreline with a rainbow cast on a blue sky.
Proposal Format

The information listed below must be submitted through the online submission form. It is provided here to assist you in planning your submission. The form may differ slightly from the version listed here. Proposals that are incomplete or received by email will not be considered. You may begin a submission and then return to edit it up until the deadline.

Components of a special session proposal

  • Session title
  • Session description (appears online only; 250 words max.)
  • Summary sentence (appears in print only; 50 word max.)
  • A lead organizer (Required; name, institution, and email).
  • Co-organizers (Optional; name, institution, and email for each).
  • Room set-up: Will you need a panel table?
  • Food and beverage request: none, coffee, soda and water, snacks.
  • Anticipated equipment needs: None, wireless internet connection, flip chart and easel.
  • If there are any costs for running the proposed session (food, beverages, or equipment) What is the source of the funding? What expenses would it cover, and for what amount?
  • Are there any other sessions proposed for the meeting that this session should NOT conflict with?
  • Is there a session (formal scientific session, business meeting, or mixer) that this session is linked with?

Special session logistics

All special session rooms will be set for theater style (with or without a panel table). The standard A/V setup is a screen, LCD projector, and laptop (with sound).

We anticipate that wireless internet will be available this year. Since wireless may not be available in all of the rooms we are using, it is important to specify at the proposal stage whether it is required so that we can plan accordingly.

Session and presentation rules

To promote diversity of sessions and topics, no person will be permitted to serve as the lead organizer for more than two workshops and/or special sessions at the 2019 Annual Meeting. A group of organizers may propose multiple linked sessions. Each session should be submitted separately and it should be made clear which other proposals it is linked to, as well as its intended order in the sequence of the events.

Note that the One Presentation Rule does not apply to workshops and special sessions. Anyone presenting in a workshop or special session may also present in a scientific session (a formal talk or poster).


To avoid conflicts with scientific sessions, special sessions are not scheduled concurrently with oral or poster sessions.

All special sessions will be scheduled for Monday morning, 10:15-11:30 am.

Meeting registration and special session costs

Special sessions are open to all meeting attendees on a first-come, first-serve basis. Any costs for food, refreshments, or special equipment requested by the organizer will need to be covered by funding provided by the organizer. Meeting attendees may choose to participate in any special session without advance notice. Since there is no advance sign up, organizers will not know in advance how many people plan to attend. It is best to plan to accommodate a range of participant numbers.

Other important information to consider

Acceptance of your proposal does not obligate ESA beyond providing a meeting space and including the session in the program. We especially stress that no ESA funds are available for waived or reduced meeting registration, honoraria, refreshments, special A/V needs, or travel expenses for session organizers or participants. All organizers and participants must register for the conference at the one day or full week rate. Organizers are responsible for making this clear to anyone they recruit to help with the session. ESA will not reimburse session organizers for expenses.

Evaluation Process and Criteria

Proposals for special sessions are reviewed and selected by the Program Chair in consultation with peers s/he may invite to assess proposals. Proposals may be from any area of science related to ecology, but those that pertain to the overall theme, “Bridging communities and ecosystems: inclusion as an ecological imperative” are especially encouraged. We also welcome proposals that explore connections with the social or natural sciences, or that are directed to ecological education at any level.

The primary criteria for acceptance include scientific merit, probable interest by meeting attendees, and a clearly written and compelling description. Limits of space and time may make it impossible to accommodate all worthy submissions. The Program Chair has final authority for acceptance and scheduling for any proposed special session.

If Your Proposal Is Accepted

All submitters will be notified of acceptance decisions by mid-January. At that time, organizers will be provided with instructions to begin preparing the session for the online program in the spring.

Finalized information for all accepted special sessions will be available in the online program when registration opens (typically in early April).

Cancellation Policy

Once a special session has been accepted and listed online, cancellation imposes a serious burden. Do not submit a proposal if you are uncertain that you will be able to fulfill your obligation to organize and conduct the session. Once a session is accepted by the Program Chair, cancellation by the session organizer may preclude the acceptance of any sessions proposed by the organizer for the 2020 ESA Annual Meeting.

Important Dates

November 15, 2018 Deadline for submitting a proposal to ESA.
January 10, 2019 Notification of acceptance sent to organizer.
February 7, 2019 Notification of scheduling (session date and time) sent to organizer.
Early April 2019 Finalized session information is available in the online program


Dr. Ryan McEwan
Program Chair
Department of Biology
The University of Dayton
Dayton, OH 45469
Phone (937) 229-2558
E-mail: ryan.mcewan@udayton.edu
Jennifer Riem
Meeting Program Associate
Ecological Society of America
1990 M Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036 USA
Phone: (202) 833-8773 x 218
Email: jennifer@esa.org