2021 ESA Annual Meeting
Virtually Anywhere
August 2 – August 6, 2021

Deadline: 5:00 PM Eastern (2:00 PM Pacific)
Thursday, April 29, 2021

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.

Abstracts that are incomplete or received after the deadline will not be considered.


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. All participants including, but not limited to, attendees, speakers, volunteers, exhibitors, ESA staff, service providers and others are expected to abide by the Code of Conduct for ESA Events. This 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 Code of Ethics for the Ecological Society of America.

How To Submit

You must submit your abstract using the online submission form. Abstracts sent by email will not be considered. Click the link below to begin your submission. You will be able to return to the abstract 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.

Begin an Abstract Submission


About the 2021 Annual Meeting

In the interests of attendees’ health and safety, #ESA2021 will be all-virtual, Aug. 2-6, 2021. Learn more about what this means for your Annual Meeting experience.

Before You Begin

Please read and follow the abstract guidelines carefully. They are provided here as a guide to help you plan in advance. You can start your submission, save your progress, and then return to complete it at any time before the deadline has passed. A login and password will be automatically emailed to you when you begin an abstract submission. You may log in to view your abstract at any time by logging in here.

If this is your first time submitting an abstract for an ESA meeting, we suggest reading some poster abstracts from a previous meeting. Abstracts from recent meetings are available online (2020, 2019, 2018). If you are a student, we strongly encourage you to work closely with your faculty adviser as you develop your abstract. If you encounter problems during abstract submission, email Jennifer Riem (jennifer@nullesa.org) and include the abstract ID number.


About Latebreaking Poster Abstracts

We invite submission of abstracts for latebreaking poster presentations for the 2021 ESA Annual Meeting. These poster presentations will include an optional audio “lightning” summary as well as live video discussion. 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.

There will be three components for each latebreaking poster:

  1. An eposter uploaded in advance of the meeting (around mid to late July).
  2. A “lightning” summary: a 3-5 minute audio walkthrough recorded by the presenting author. Lightning summaries are highly encouraged for authors who can record them; however, we realize some authors may face technical or other constraints that do not allow this.
  3. A live virtual discussion scheduled for Thursday, August 5th. This discussion will include all of the presenters in the session and will be moderated by a presider. This discussion will not include presentations, although presenters may share their poster as needed to help support the discussion. We will schedule posters in groups of 10 speakers to help facilitate discussion.

By submitting an abstract, the presenting author is indicating that they will be available during any of the possible time slots on Thursday, August 5th. We are anticipating meeting days will run 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific Time.’

Abstract Submission Guidelines

Abstract guidelines

  • The body of the abstract is up to 400 words, split between the two sections: Background/Question/Methods, in which the objective of the study is clearly identified and the methods are described; and Results/Conclusions, in which specific results of the study are explicitly reported and their implications for ecology are briefly discussed.
  • The abstract must primarily report on new work within the field of ecology.
  • Reviews of previous work (excluding quantitative meta-analysis studies) are not permissible for contributed talks and posters.
  • The abstract must report specific results. The results may be preliminary but they may not be vague. Abstracts without explicitly stated results will be rejected.
  • It is understandable that abstracts describing non-traditional work may lack quantitative data; however, it is still expected that the abstract will address some question and have a “take-home message” describing specific findings.
  • Abstracts must be clear. Poorly written abstracts will be rejected.
  • Abstracts must be written in English and must follow standard grammar and punctuation rules. Abstracts that do not meet this guideline will be rejected.

Helpful information about abstract entry

  • For every author listed, their name, institution, and email are required information.
  • Missing coauthors are a very common issue. Be sure to check to make sure everyone has been included. This is under People, the second step in the process. You can follow your progress at the top of the screen.
  • The presenting author is the corresponding author who will receive all communications, including acceptance and scheduling notifications, from ESA. In order to receive notifications from us on time, it is important to make sure the correct person is indicated and that their email is entered correctly.
  • Any author can be designated as the presenting author. The first author is designated by default, and this can be adjusted by editing the author list. The presenting author’s name will appear in bold text.
  • During abstract submission, you will rank 3 themes to guide the grouping of your presentation into a session with similar presentations. Consider the themes carefully.


Session scheduling

Each latebreaking poster session’s one hour discussion time will be scheduled on Thursday, August 5th. By submitting an abstract, you are indicating you will be available during any of the possible time slots on this date.

One presentation rule

Each person is allowed to submit only one abstract where they are listed as presenting author. This rule is enforced in order to encourage broad participation. You may present a poster or a talk, not both. This rule does not apply to coauthors. An author may be the presenting author on two abstracts only if one of the abstracts primarily reports on ecology education/outreach or is for an Inspire presentation.

Abstract fee and virtual meeting technology

There is no abstract fee to submit an abstract for a latebreaking poster. The abstract fee for talks covers costs associated with abstract submission and new technology needed to support improved engagement for virtual presentations. Uploaded presentations (talks and posters) will remain available to registered meeting attendees for at least a few months after the meeting. We are exploring new virtual tools to support presenters and attendees and to enable more discussion within and outside of scheduled sessions.


After Submission

Abstract review

Peer reviewers will rate abstracts using the abstract guidelines included in this call. The ratings and comments provided by peer reviewers will inform the acceptance decisions made by the Program Subcommittee.

Editing abstracts

Because the submission deadline is very close to our final preparations of the program, editing these abstracts is not possible after the submission deadline has passed. Proofread very carefully.

Meeting registration

The presenting author of every accepted abstract is required to register for the meeting and will be reminded to do so in meeting correspondence. Submitting an abstract does not register you for the meeting. Registration is a separate process that will open in May.



When submitting an abstract, presenters should be reasonably confident that they will attend the meeting and give the presentation as scheduled. The presenting author should notify ESA as soon as possible if a presentation needs to be cancelled. We understand that planning ahead is particularly challenging this year. Please cancel by May 1 if possible, to help us minimize gaps in the final meeting program.


Presentation Guidelines

We will provide more information about how to prepare presentations for upload after abstract acceptance.


Important Dates

April 29, 2021 Abstract submission deadline.
June 3, 2021 Notification of acceptance sent to presenting author.


Dr. Sarah Emery
Program Chair
Biology Department
University of Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky
Phone: (502) 852- 5940
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