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Membership Structure: Sections and Chapters

Official logo of the ESAThe Ecological Society of America’s 9,000 members are organized into geographic chapters and sections based on areas of mutual interest or personal affinity. Every member who joins the Society can select one chapter or section for free, and join additional ones for $5 each. The elected chair of each of these bodies is part of the ESA Council, a governing body that meets every year at the Annual Meeting to discuss ESA business.


ESA’s chapters are the geographical framework of the membership. Chapters receive an annual budget based on their number of members, and use those budgets for business meetings and participation in regional scientific meetings. If your region isn’t represented here, you can work with ESA’s Membership Office to found a new one. Contact gro.asenull@pihsrebmem for more information about getting started.

  • Canada Chapter
    We are Canadian or Canada-based ecologists and members of the Ecological Society of America. We promote transnational science, cooperation across borders and the right use of ecological science by decision-makers in Canada.
  • Great Lakes Chapter
  • Latin America and the Caribbean Chapter
    This Chapter encourages research and education in ecology and its applications within Latin America and the Caribbean, and facilitates the participation of Latin American students and scientists in the Ecological Society of America. The Chapter fosters communication and development of collaborative links among ecologists by supporting regional scientific meetings, conferences, symposia, online seminars, projects, mentorship, workshops, mixers, and courses. To these ends, the Chapter seeks collaboration from existing academic and professional organizations in the region.
  • Mid-Atlantic Chapter 
  • Southeast Chapter
  • Southwest Chapter
    The Southwest Chapter serves as home to ecologists in the greater Southwestern U.S. region including Colorado, Utah, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and northern Mexico. We support scientists in the region, both for those that work and/or live in the SW, by hosting social events, coordinating organized oral sessions, and supporting early-career researchers at the annual meeting and throughout the year when possible.


ESA’s sections are sometimes based around mutual areas of scientific specialty, but they also include affinity groups among scientists and areas of important work for the Society. Sections also receive a budget based on their membership, and often spend those funds on special projects and to reach beyond the Society’s membership for collaborative opportunities. Like with chapters, there is a process to create a new section, so get in touch with gro.asenull@pihsrebmem to learn how.

  • Agroecology


  • Applied Ecology
    The Applied Ecology Section is ESA’s home for ecologists who seek to encourage research and the sponsorship of meetings to facilitate communication of results in all phases of the application of ecological principles. We primarily provide student scholarships for the Annual Meeting and organize networking opportunities at the Annual Meeting, including mixers and field trips. 


  • Aquatic Ecology


  • Asian Ecology
    The Asian Ecology Section is ESA’s hub for ecologists focused on ecosystems across the Asian continent. We foster and facilitate communication and collaborations among ecologists, advance and coordinate ecological research in Asia, and serve as a liaison between researchers, societies, and other groups interested in various branches of ecology within the region.


  • Biogeosciences


  • Black Ecologists
    The Black Ecologists Section is an international network of professionals that provides social, cultural, and academic support for Black ecologists and beyond. The term “Black” refers to individuals of racial identities and ethnicities underrepresented in STEM fields, including African Americans, Africans, Caribbeans, Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans, but we also encourage non-Black nationals to join. We host regular virtual events, offer travel awards, and organize symposia and networking activities at the Annual Meeting.


  • Climate AdaptationNEW


  • Coastal and Marine EcologyNEW


  • Communication and Engagement
    The Communication and Engagement Section is ESA’s home for ecologists who value communicating their research to the public, and who engaging the public in their research. For the Annual Meeting, we have travel, poster and practice awards; and co-host a networking event with the other human dimensions sections. We also host virtual events throughout the year, and advertise opportunities within and beyond ESA through our newsletter, social media, and Slack channel.


  • Disease Ecology
    The Disease Ecology Section is ESA’s home for scientists studying the ecology and evolution of host-parasite interactions and infectious disease. We develop and promote educational resources, present awards for student posters and papers, and organize annual mixers for networking and collaborating at the Annual Meeting.


  • Early Career Ecologists


  • Ecological Restoration


  • Education


  • Environmental Justice
    The Environmental Justice Section is ESA’s home for ecologists who are interested in blending justice with ecology. At the Annual Meeting, we host a business meeting in addition to events such as mixers and symposia where environmental justice researchers can be connected and present new research. Our vision of environmental justice is a world in which all people and wildlife enjoy a healthy environment, as well as have access to opportunities for meaningful participation in environmental stewardship actions, policies, and decision-making processes.


  • Human Ecology
    The Human Ecology Section is for ecologists interested in human dimensions of environmental problems. We collaborate with multiple Sections at ESA to develop sessions, social events, and travel awards for the Annual Meeting and support activities at the Human Dimension Collaborative. 


  • Inclusive Ecology


  • Invasion Ecology


  • Long-term Studies
    The Long-term Studies Section is ESA’s home for ecologists interested in and engaged in long-term ecological research. We encourage & promote ecological research on long-term processes by supporting our network of members through travel grants to the annual ESA meetings, highlighting current research, and facilitating the exchange of methods, procedures, and approaches to long-term studies!
  • Microbial Ecology


  • Natural History
    Representing the parent science of ecology, the Natural History Section is prominent at ESA conferences to remind you why you do what you.  Field trips that orient you, silent auctions that sell natural history books, and sessions that tell natural history stories, everyone can find a home with us.


  • Open Science
    The Open Science Section is ESA’s home for ecologists who want to make science accessible to everyone. In 2024, we will host regular webinars, give a student award, and organize an open science section at the Annual Meeting.


  • Paleoecology


  • Physiological Ecology


  • Plant Population Ecology


  • Policy


  • Private & Public Sector Ecologists (website pending)
    The Private & Public Sector Ecologists Section seeks to encourage networking between ecologists who work in for-profit or not-for-profit businesses or governmental agencies, whose primary professional focus is application of ecological science (rather than research or education), or any ecologist interested in careers in these areas or collaborating with PPS Ecologists. The section aims to better integrate ecologists working outside academia within ESA by developing programs and member benefits geared towards them and that better integrate PPS Ecologists into existing ESA programs, and by representing PPS Ecologists’ interests in ESA’s leadership. 


  • Rangeland Ecology


  • Researchers at Undergraduate Institutions


  • Soil Ecology
    The Soil Ecology Section includes ecologists focused on the biodiversity of belowground life and the impact these organisms have on ecosystem function. We present several student travel awards each year, host webinars, and organize networking opportunities throughout the year and at the annual meeting.


  • Statistical Ecology
    The Statistical Ecology Section is ESA’s home for ecologists who are interested in the application and development of statistical methods to further our understanding of the natural world. We present an annual Ecological Forecasting Award for outstanding publication and the E.C. Pielou Award to support student travel to the Annual Conference, we host a webinar series (jointly with the Ecological Forecasting Initiative) to share the application of novel methodological advancements in statistical ecology, and organize networking events at the Annual Conference.


  • Student Section
    The Student Section is ESA’s home for students and recent ecologists graduates which provides a  platform for networking and professional development opportunities. We organize online workshops and seminars, present an annual trailblazing award and travel awards for ESA annual meeting, and organize networking activities like student mixer and special session at the Annual Meeting.


  • Theoretical Ecology
    The Theoretical Ecology Section is ESA’s home for ecologists who develop mathematical and computational models. We present annual awards for student presentations and host a mixer at the Annual Meeting.


  • Traditional Ecological Knowledge


  • Urban Ecosystem Ecology


  • Vegetation
    The Vegetation Section is ESA’s home for ecologists who are engaged in all aspects of vegetation ecology. We give the Robert P. McIntosh Award to the best paper in vegetation ecology published in the previous year. At the annual meeting, we award the Ton Damman Award for the best student oral presentation, sponsor symposia, workshops (e.g., multivariate analysis of ecological data), and field excursions. We also coordinate activities with the North American Section of the International Association of Vegetation Science. 


  • Women in (Soil) Ecology (website pending)

Standing Committees

The ESA Council also includes the chairs of the standing committees. These groups are often chaired by members of the Governing Board to see to various areas of crucial work that require Society members’ involvement. Committee members may be appointed by the chairs; we periodically seek nominations for these roles: