97th ESA Annual Meeting
Portland, Oregon
August 5 - 10, 2012

Submission Deadline: February 23, 2012 at 5:00 PM Eastern

We invite submission of abstracts for contributed oral and poster presentations at the 2012 ESA Annual Meeting. The meeting will be held August 5-10, 2012, in Portland, Oregon, at the Portland Convention Center. Abstracts that address the meeting theme, “Life on Earth: Preserving, Utilizing, and Sustaining our Ecosystems”, are especially encouraged, but submissions may address any aspect of ecology and its applications. We also welcome submissions that report interdisciplinary work, that address communication with broad audiences, or that explore ways of teaching ecology at any level. Please adhere to the following guidelines in preparing and submitting your abstract.

Please note that invited speakers for Symposia, Organized Oral Sessions, and Organized Poster Sessions should not submit their abstracts using the links on this page. Speakers confirmed to present in these organized sessions should submit by following specific instructions that will be emailed to them in mid January. The same deadline of February 23, 2012 applies to abstracts for organized sessions.

A. One Presentation Rule
B. Guidelines for All Poster Presentations
C. Guidelines for All Oral Presentations
D. Evaluation and Acceptance of Abstracts
E. Abstract Submission
F. Corrections
G. Cancellations
H. Penalties and Fees for Cancellations/No-Shows
I. Begin Submission Process


A. One Presentation Rule

  • To encourage broad participation, each person is allowed to submit only one abstract where they are listed as presenting author. Contributed oral, contributed poster, symposium, organized oral, and organized poster presentations are included in this rule.
  • A person may serve as a non-presenting author on several abstracts.
  • You will be able to identify the presenting author when you enter author information during submission. The first author is presenting author by default but you can change this as you enter your author list. The presenting author will receive all notifications from ESA, so check to make sure the right person is indicated and their email is typed correctly.
  • Serving as a session organizer and/or moderator for a symposium, organized oral session, or organized poster session does not violate the one presentation rule.
  • Organizing and/or presenting in a workshop or special session does not violate the one presentation rule.

Exception to the One Presentation Rule:
An author may submit an abstract for a second presentation only if one abstract is directly related to a) ecology education or scientific outreach or b) the history of ecology or ESA. Presentations that focus on the history of the discipline or ESA are exempted in recognition of ESA's Centennial in 2015.
Please contact Program Coordinator Jennifer Riem if you have questions about whether an abstract fits these criteria.  

B. Guidelines for all Poster Presentations

  • Posters are encouraged as they allow extended informal discussions and active participation by authors and coauthors. Posters are displayed for a full day, and interested persons can view the poster even when the author is not in attendance.
  • Late afternoon poster sessions Monday - Thursday provide an opportunity for discussion in a relaxed setting after completion of oral sessions. Presenting authors are required to be present for the scheduled 2-hour period (4:30-6:30 PM) when their poster is being displayed.
  • Poster boards are landscape format 2.4 m wide x 1.2 m tall (8 ft wide x 4 feet tall).  Presenters should design posters to be at least 5 cm (2 inches) smaller on each margin. These are maximum dimensions for each poster; there is no width x height requirement except that the poster fits on the board.
  • Pushpins will be supplied and are the only method for attaching the poster to the board.
  • Poster presenters may not use audio-visual equipment but are welcome to bring along handouts associated with their presentation.  

C. Guidelines for All Oral Presentations

  • Contributed oral presentations are allotted 15 minutes for presentations plus 5 minutes for questions. The 5-minute period between talks allows for questions, discussion, and introduction of the next speaker. This 5 minute period belongs to the audience, not to the speaker, and is managed by the session presider. Time limits will be strictly enforced.
  • Abstracts will be placed in sessions based on topics (themes) ranked by the submitting author. Each contributed talk may be scheduled Monday afternoon through Friday morning. By submitting an abstract, it is expected that the presenting author will be available during any of these time slots. Special scheduling requests cannot be honored. Talks cannot be moved once scheduling is complete.
  • Contributed oral papers may be placed in Organized Oral Sessions by the Program Chair if they support the theme of that session. Presenting authors may indicate a preference for a particular OOS on the abstract submission form. A list of OOS titles will be available by mid January of 2012. Individuals who submit contributed papers before then may log back in before the deadline to indicate their preference.

Important Information Concerning All Oral Presentations:

  • Acceptable media: CDs, Flash drives. You will need to ensure that these are compatible with our laptops – which will have CD readers and USB 2 ports.  
  • Microsoft PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 are the only acceptable audiovisual formats for electronic presentation for oral papers. Overhead or slide projectors will be available only upon special request by June 15, 2012, to Michelle Horton.
  • Each meeting room will be equipped with a dedicated LCD projector and PC laptop configured with DVD/CDRW combo rom drives, 3 USB ports and will be running Windows XP Pro with MS Office XP Suite and Adobe Acrobat 6.0. It is your responsibility to make sure that your presentation will run under this system. Newer versions of PowerPoint files may not work – save your files in a format compatible with MS Office 2000 for Windows 2000, or with Adobe Acrobat Reader 8 or 9!
  • Corel presentations are NOT supported. Embedded animation or graphics are NOT supported.
  • Please do NOT bring your own laptop for your presentation. If you created your presentation on a MAC and confirmed that your presentation does not work in one of the speaker-ready rooms available at the Annual Meeting, you may connect your MAC to the LCD projector IF you bring your own VGA dongle. ESA will not provide these adapters.
  • All presenters will be expected to arrive at their session room at least 20 minutes in advance of the start of their session. This time is used to check in with the presider and allows the projectionist to pre-load presentations onto the dedicated laptop.

D. Evaluation and Acceptance of Abstracts

  • Accuracy of the abstract is the responsibility of the author(s). Abstracts will be REJECTED if they do not comply precisely with the guidelines on content and format listed here and on the submission website.
  • Abstracts may be submitted before all analyses and conclusions are in their final form, but authors MUST report some specific preliminary results. Vague statements such as “results will be discussed” will result in abstract rejection. Authors who cannot yet report any specific results and expect to be able to do so by May should submit to the Late Breaking Poster call (May 10 deadline). Abstracts primarily based on work for which data cannot yet be reported will be REJECTED if they are submitted for this call.
  • Abstracts must use standard English and follow English syntax, grammar, and punctuation rules. Poorly written abstracts will be REJECTED.  
  • Abstracts must be based primarily on new, unpublished material. Reviews of past work are generally not permissible outside of symposia or other special sessions.

E. Abstract Submission

Select the link at the bottom of this page to begin the submission process. 

If you have been asked by an organizer to present in a Symposium, Organized Oral Session, or Organized Poster Session, do not submit here. You will specific instructions by email in mid January and should follow those instead. Contact Jennifer Riem if you need the instructions resent.

Indicating Preferences for Session Assignment:

  • Contributed oral and poster presentations will be grouped with similar presentations to form sessions.  We attempt to make sessions thematically coherent based on the preferences authors rank among likely session themes.
  • For most abstracts, session themes are the only information we use to create sessions, so please consider the options carefully. You may find it helpful to peruse sessions from recent conferences (2011, 2010, 2009) to see which session themes you would feel most at home in.
  • We have listed likely session themes, based on submissions and sessions from prior meetings, in pull-down’ lists under five categories: 1) ecological concepts and processes; 2) ecosystem or habitat; 3) ecological applications, tools, and techniques; 4) subdiscipline; and 5) taxonomic or functional group. 
  • Please rank 3 of these themes (1 indicating most preferred) to guide our grouping of papers into sessions. Each of your preferred themes may be selected from any of the 5 categories.
  • If your first preference is not selected frequently enough to populate a full session, we will use your second and third preferences as an indicator of how to group your presentation with others.
  • If a theme is selected by many people, we will divide papers among more focused sessions using your other preferences and sometimes the information in your title and abstract. 
  • You may elect to enter a theme not on the lists provided; to do so, check the other’ box, and enter a brief term in the space provided.  Please use this option only if you are unable to find an appropriate theme in the lists provided.
  • Please note that these themes are designed to identify similarities among papers for purposes of grouping, not as keywords for searching the program. Highly specific terms (e.g., precise focus of research, species names, place names, particular techniques) are not useful here.  Attendees will be able to search the full text of your abstract in the program to find abstracts that include specific terms.

Submitting Abstract and Author Information:

Follow the on-line instructions to submit your abstract.  Follow these general guidelines when entering your abstract:

  • Abstracts may be no longer than 400 words in total and must include information on both a) Background/Questions/Methods, using up to 200 words to identify the objective of the study; and b) Results/Conclusions, using up to 200 words to explicitly report the results of the study. Abstracts without explicitly stated results will be REJECTED.
  • Exception: If you are presenting a non-traditional research paper, it is understandable that the abstract would lack specific data in the “Results/Conclusions” section; however, it is still expected that your talk would address some question. Every talk should have a “take-home message.”
  • When entering your title, capitalize the first word, proper nouns, and the first word following a colon. The title is limited to 255 characters (about 15 words). Do not type the title in all capital letters. Place a comma before the word "and" in a series. Do not end your title with punctuation
  • For each author, enter the full first name, the first letter of the middle name, and the full last name.  Do not add punctuation after any of the names. 
  • Only the first line of text in an author’s affiliation will appear in the official conference program; this should be the name of your institution.  Do NOT enter department name on the first line of an author’s affiliation.  Do not end a line with any type of punctuation.
  • Symbols, special characters, and fonts are available from a pull-down menu of codes on the abstract submission form. Enter them by selecting from this menu.
  • Each person who submits an abstract, whether for an oral paper or a poster, MUST also provide payment information (credit card or check) to ESA. No abstract submission will be accepted for presentation unless this payment information is received by ESA.
  • Payment information provided during abstract submission will be used to process late cancellation/no show fees ONLY if the presenter either: 1) cancels after the May 1, 2012 deadline or 2) fails to show up to present his/her paper or poster and does not arrange for a co-author or other alternate person to present the abstract. The fee is $60 for oral presentations and $40 for poster presentations.    

Example abstract from the 2011 meeting program.

Abstract Notifications:

  • If you enter an incorrect email address, you will NOT receive any notifications! Be sure to double-check your email address for typos when submitting your abstract.
  • Your abstract will be assigned an Abstract ID Number. Please do not delete the email containing this ID number as it will be required for future communications. 
  • Notification of receipt: You will be automatically notified when your abstract has been submitted using the e-mail address entered on the submission form. You can return to edit your abstract until the submission deadline, February 23, 2012. 
  • Notification of Acceptance: You will be notified of acceptance or rejection of your abstract via e-mail by April 19, 2012.
  • Notification of Scheduling: You will be notified of the day and session of your presentation via e-mail by May 17, 2012. A full preliminary program including presentation times will be available by mid June.

If you encounter problems during abstract submission, contact Jennifer Riem.

Note: Due to the limited amount of time and space available for oral sessions, and the anticipated large number of submissions, you may be asked to give a poster presentation instead of an oral presentation.

F. Making Corrections

  • You may view your abstract by going to: http://eco.confex.com/eco/2012/cfp.cgi and entering your Abstract ID Number and password received at the time of submission.
  • Edits can be made directly to the abstract until the submission deadline, February 23, 2012. No edits can be made after the submission deadline and while abstracts are still in review. Abstract editing will be available for a short window (2-3 weeks) in May and all presenting authors will receive instructions and a deadline by email at that time. Edits are not possible after the May editing window.
  • You will able to view your session day, time, and room assignment once the schedule has been finalized. We expect this information to be available by mid June.  

G. Cancellations

  • Before submitting an abstract, authors should be confident that they will attend the meeting and make the presentation.
  • 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, you do not need to notify ESA and we cannot update the program. But please notify session organizers if applicable.
  • If cancellation is unavoidable, the author should notify Jennifer Riem by email 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.
  • The deadline for cancellation without risk of penalty is May 1, 2012.  For more information on ESA’s cancellation policy, continue reading through the next section.

H. Penalties and Fees for Cancellations/No-Shows

Late cancellations and failures to give scheduled presentations (no shows) are disruptive and leave costly gaps in the program that are distracting to all attendees.

Therefore, ESA has adopted the following cancellation policy and fee schedule (all values are in US dollars):

ESA’s late cancellation and no show policy:

  • In all cases where cancellation is unavoidable, the author should notify Jennifer Riem by email as soon as possible.
  • The deadline to cancel without penalty is May 1, 2012. After May 1, 2012 authors are charged a late cancellation fee.
  • After May 15, 2012, authors are charged a late cancellation fee and banned from presenting at the 2013 conference.
  • Presenting authors who do not notify ESA of cancellation and fail to present at the scheduled time (no shows) are at risk for the late cancellation fee and a 2 year presentation ban (2013-2014).
  • The late cancellation fee is $60.00 US Dollars for oral presentations and $40.00 US Dollars for poster presentations.

Exceptions: Cancellation fees and penalties may be waived for extenuating circumstances. Consideration will be made on a case-by-case basis. Please include a brief reason for the cancellation if you would like us to consider waiving the applicable penalties.
Fees for cancellations will be processed and decisions regarding bans from future meetings will be made after the Annual Meeting.

I. Begin Submission Process

To begin the submission process, please click here.
For further information consult the ESA meeting web site or contact the Program Chair, Brian McCarthy, or Program Coordinator, Jennifer Riem:

Dr. Brian C. McCarthy
Department of Environmental & Plant Biology
Ohio University
Athens, OH  45701
Phone: 740-593-2979
Fax: 740-593-0053
Email: mccarthy@ohio.edu

Jennifer Riem
Program Coordinator
Ecological Society of America
1990 M Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036 USA
Phone: (202) 833-8773 x 218
Fax: (202) 833-8775
Email: jennifer@esa.org