102nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America convenes in Portland, Ore.

Linking biodiversity, material cycling and ecosystem services in a changing world
6–11 August 2017

ESA2017 portland logoFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, 11 May 2017
Contact: Liza Lester, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, gro.asenull@retseLL


Environmental scientists from 50 U.S. states, U. S. territories, and countries around the world will converge on Portland, Oregon this August for the 102nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America. Five thousand attendees are expected to gather for nearly four thousand scientific presentations on breaking research and new ecological concepts at the Oregon Convention Center on August 6th through 11th, 2017.

ESA invites press and institutional public information officers to attend for free (see credential policy below). To apply, please contact ESA Communications Officer Liza Lester directly at gro.asenull@retsell. Walk-in registration will be available during the meeting.

The meeting theme, “Linking biodiversity, material cycling and ecosystem services in a changing world,” invites reflection on the often invisible environmental processes that support human life. Natural systems filter water, enrich topsoil, support fisheries, prevent erosion, pollinate crops, buffer effects of storms and floods, and bring us joy and recreation. These are just a few of the many “ecosystem services” necessary to the health and wellbeing of human societies. A rich diversity of life undergirds the healthy functioning of these systems. When species disappear, their absence changes the system, eventually depreciating the services it provides. Symposia will explore the connections between biodiversity, cycles of materials like carbon and water, and ecosystems services.

Meeting field trips will explore the meeting’s theme outside the convention center, visiting the post-eruption ecosystems of Mount St. Helens, rural partnerships in the Tualatin River Watershed, the Columbia River Gorge, and more.

The main program will kick off on the evening of Sunday, August 5th at 5:00 pm, with an opening plenary lecture on “Science and the dialectic of people and nature” by Mary Ruckelshaus, managing director of the Natural Capital Project at The Nature Conservancy and a senior research scientist at Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

A preliminary conference program detailing field trips, workshops, and special sessions, can be browsed online now. A full schedule, including abstracts for individual oral and poster presentations, will be available in June. Meeting abstracts are not embargoed. Reporters who would like help locating presenters and outside sources for in person or phone interviews should contact Liza Lester at gro.asenull@retsell or (202) 833-8773 x211.

Plenary, special Lecture and Forum Sessions
*Plenaries are open to the public

  • Opening Plenary Science and the dialectic of people and nature”: Mary Ruckelshaus, managing director of the Natural Capital Project at The Nature Conservancy and a senior research scientist at Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, develops models to estimate the flow of environmental services under different management regimes around the world.
  • Special Policy Forum “Science based policy and navigating the current political landscape”: ESA President David M. Lodge, Jane Lubchenco, Frank Davis, and Rich Pouyat will discuss how ecologists are stepping outside of the lab and into the halls of Congress and beyond.
  • Scientific Plenary (Robert H. MacArthur lecture) “How evolutionary is ecology?”: Anurag A. Agrawal investigates the ecology and evolution of plant-insect interactions, integrating natural history with big theory questions, at Cornell University in New York. ESA awarded Agrawal the 2016 MacArthur Award, recognizing outstanding mid-career ecologists.
  • New Phytologist LectureLook back lest you fail to mark the path ahead”: Thomas Lovejoy, a professor at George Mason University and a senior fellow for science, economics, and the environment at the United Nations Foundation, works on the interface of science and environmental policy.
  • Recent Advances LectureDigging deeper into the tangled bank: recent advances in biodiversity and ecosystem dynamics”: Katharine N. Suding, a plant community ecologist at the University of Colorado Boulder, directs the Niwot Ridge Long-term Ecological Research Program in the high peaks of the southern Rocky Mountains.


Journalist Travel Grants

ESA offers four $500 travel grants to help defray the cost of attending the meeting for freelance journalists. Awards will be based on recent clips and a stated intent to pitch news stories from the conference. Please contact Liza Lester gro.asenull@retsell by Friday, June 30th to apply.


ESA Policy on Press Credentials

ESA’s press office provides complimentary registration for professional journalists attending to gather news and information to produce media coverage of the Annual Meeting. Credentials considered for press eligibility include a recognized press card or current membership in the National Association of Science Writers, the Canadian Science Writers Association, the International Science Writers Association, and the Society of Environmental Journalists. Freelancers must be currently active in journalism and able to present recent bylined news stories in the natural sciences.

We do not offer press registration for editors of peer-reviewed journals, ad sales representatives, publishers, program officers, or marketing professionals.

Members of the press may attend all research presentations, but some events, workshops, and field trips may not be open to reporters without prior arrangement.


Institutional Press Officers

We offer complimentary registration for press officers and public information officers. Press officers who cannot attend, but would like to promote presenters from their institutions, are welcome to prearrange distribution of press releases and other author materials on the meeting website in the on-site Press Room. Press officers may request copies of all abstracts related to their institution. For registration, more information, or help finding scientists in our meeting program, please contact Liza Lester at gro.asenull@retsell or (202) 833-8773 x211.


On-site Press Room

Pre-registered press may pick up their credentials in the Press Room and enjoy coffee, tea, internet access, a printer, telephones, and an interview area. Journalists may also register on site in the Press Room.

Location: Oregon Convention Center, room A103

Press Room hours:

  • Sunday, 6 August: 1:00 pm-5:00 pm
  • Monday, 7 August – Thursday, 10 August: 7:30 am-5:30 pm
  • Friday, 11 August: 7:30 am-Noon


The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at https://www.esa.org