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How to Submit a Good Abstract for #ESA2021

How to Submit a Good Abstract for #ESA2021

ESA Water Cooler Chat ~ February 17, 2021

View the recording

Submit an Abstract for a Talk or a Poster

We invite abstracts for contributed talks and posters for ESA’s 2021 Annual Meeting August 1-6, 2021. The meeting theme is ” Vital Connections in Ecology”. Abstracts are encouraged to address the meeting theme “Vital Connections in Ecology” if appropriate but doing so is not necessary. We welcome submissions from any topic in ecology. This includes submissions that report interdisciplinary work, address communication with broad audiences, or explore ways of teaching ecology at any level. Abstracts will be reviewed using criteria described in the proposal calls.

Abstracts must be submitted through the online form by February 25, 2021 at 5:00 PM Eastern Time (2:00 Pacific Time). No late or emailed abstracts will be considered.

Get familiar with the submission forms here


Sarah Emery, 2021 Program Chair
Kiona Ogle, 2020 Program Chair
Sarah Anderson, Meetings Committee
Christi Nam, Director, Conventions and Meetings
Jennifer Riem, Meeting Program Associate

Summary of the Conversation 

ESA staff walked through all of the steps of an abstract submission showing screenshots of a form to submit an abstract for a talk as an example. Meetings Committee members gave advice on what makes a good submission using the submission guidelines as a reference. The slides from this chat are linked near the end of this page.

In addition to the submission guidelines, general advice from the committee included:

  • Most mistakes can be avoided by taking the time to carefully read and follow the abstract guidelines before beginning the submission and proofreading carefully during submission.
  • Abstracts will be reviewed by peer reviewers with acceptance decisions made by the Program Subcommittee. Abstract acceptance is not competitive. Abstracts that meet the guidelines are accepted.
  • Common reasons for rejection include: the work described is not primarily about ecology, it does not include any results or the results are vague, the abstract describes old work, and the writing is not clear.
  • Meta analyses are acceptable since they present new findings about existing work.
  • Presenters are limited to one presentation each year with a few notable exceptions (Inspire, education/outreach topics).
  • Submitters with incomplete work (data analysis in progress) are encouraged to consider whether they can describe partial results at the time of abstract submission. If some specific results can be described now, then additional results can be included in the presentation later.
  • If no specific results can be described yet, the committee recommends not submitting for the February deadline. The latebreaking poster deadline (April 29) may be a better fit in some cases.
  • The latebreaking poster call has the same guidelines and submission process, so it can be a great option for submitters who are not sure if they will have results to report in time for the February deadline. All accepted abstracts from the latebreaking call will be scheduled as posters separately from the main abstract call.
  • Posters have traditionally been recommended for new and inexperienced presenters since they offer more one-on-one interaction. For this year’s meeting, we expect the virtual presentation experiences will be more similar. All presentations will be uploaded in advance with the option to submit an audio recording along with the slides. Both talks and posters will have scheduled discussion times during the meeting as well as tools to help presenters engage with their audience one-on-one.

Click here to see the slideshow from the ESA Water Cooler Chat – Feb 17.

Important Links

Meeting website

Call for contributed oral abstracts

Call for contributed poster abstracts

Submission website