Ecological Society of America

Call for Special Session Proposals

93rd ESA Annual Meeting
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
August 3 - 8, 2008
Call Open: September 20 – November 30, 2007

You are cordially invited to submit a proposal for a Special Session at the 93rd ESA Annual Meeting. The meeting will be held August 3-8, 2008 in Milwaukee , Wisconsin at The Midwest Airline Center .

Special Sessions complement the formal scientific program, providing an opportunity for presentations or extended dialogue and exchanges beyond what is usually possible in the regular scientific sessions. These sessions are not intended for the presentation of formal research papers, and they do not run concurrently with the symposium, organized oral, contributed oral, or poster sessions.

Special sessions do not conform to any single structure. They may, for example, involve one presenter, a series of lectures or a panel; a film, video or illustrated lecture; or a discussion. The Program Chair has the option of scheduling Special Sessions in the 1.5 hour time slot after the Opening Scientific Plenary on Monday morning, August 4 (10-11:30 am), or during the evenings of Monday August 4-Wednesday, August 6. Evening sessions run between 8-10 pm . To assist in assignment of a meeting room, you must indicate the expected minimum and maximum attendance. Special sessions may involve a ticket for a drink or refreshments for the participants, but it is important to list that in your proposal. NOTE: If refreshments are served, attendees will be required to pay a fee to attend the session in order to cover the cost of refreshments, unless the costs of these are covered by a sponsor for the session.

For examples of special sessions, please consult the program schedule from the ESA San Jose meeting, held in August 2007: (

Evaluation Process and Criteria for Special Session Proposals

Proposals for Special Sessions are reviewed and selected by the Program Chair in consultation with peers he may invite to assess proposals. Proposals may be from any area of science related to ecology, but those that pertain to the overall theme— “ Enhancing Ecological Thought by Linking Research and Education ” — are especially encouraged. We also welcome proposals that explore connections with the social or natural sciences, or that are directed to ecological education at any level. The primary criteria for acceptance include scientific merit, probable interest by meeting attendees, and a clearly written and compelling description. Limits of space and time may make it impossible to accommodate all worthy submissions. The Program Chair has final authority for acceptance and scheduling for any proposed special session.

Submission Procedure

All proposals MUST follow the format of the online proposal submission forms on the ESA Milwaukee meeting website ( Incomplete or inaccurate information provided on these forms may result in the proposal not being accepted. Information requested includes complete contact information for all co-organizers, a description (250 word maximum), a summary sentence (50 word maximum), and a list of speakers/panelists, if appropriate. The description should include a justification for the session as per the evaluation criteria listed above. If there is a sponsoring group/agency for the session, this should be mentioned in the session description or summary.

All sessions must have a lead organizer who serves as the primary contact, who will be readily available by email and phone in the months leading up to the meeting, and who is expected to be present at the session. A secondary contact is also required.

If Your Proposal is Accepted

All organizers will be notified of the acceptance of their proposal by January 15, 2008 . If accepted, your session description will be posted on the annual meeting website and a summary sentence will appear in the printed program. The description and summary sentence should be written with particular attention to attracting attendees and submitted in the correct format on the website proposal submission form available through the ESA website. Other contributors and their topics can be mentioned in the description, but there is no space for a detailed agenda.

One Presentation Rule

Note that the organizers and/or speakers during a special session are not precluded from also being first author or presenter on a poster, contributed oral, organized oral, or symposium talk.

Session Fees

An important note regarding funds: Acceptance of your proposal does not obligate ESA beyond assuring you of a meeting space and inclusion in the printed program. We stress especially that no ESA funds are available for honoraria, refreshments, or travel expenses for special session participants. Further, meeting registration is not waived. ESA will not reimburse session organizers for expenses. Anyone participating in any capacity in a special session must be registered for at least one day. Organizers are responsible for making these facts clear to persons they invite to participate.

Cancellation policy

Once a special session has been accepted and listed online, it imposes a serious burden to cancel it. Do not submit a proposal if you are uncertain that you will be able to fulfill your obligation to organize and conduct the session. Once a special session is accepted by the Program Chair, cancellation by the session organizers will preclude the organizers from being allowed to submit any proposals for special sessions for the 2009 ESA annual meeting.

Application Format

Please note this information must be entered on the website proposal submission form . It is provided here only to assist you in planning your submission. Also, note that the website format may differ slightly from the format listed here. All information requested must be submitted.


Components of a Special Session Proposal:

You MUST submit your proposal using the website proposal submission form . You will be notified electronically concerning receipt, review, and acceptance of your proposal, using the return e-mail address that you provide. The notice of receipt will include a reference number that you will need to retain. If the return email address is incorrect, you will not be notified. If you do not hear from the Program Chair or the Program Assistant regarding receipt of your proposal by December 15, 2007, please contact Aleta Wiley ( to confirm that your proposal was received. You may view your proposal by accessing the website and entering your proposal number. The website and proposal number will be provided to you when we acknowledge receipt of your proposal. The complete scientific program should be on the ESA website by May 15, 2008, by which date each accepted proposal organizer or submitter should check for the exact time and location of her/his session. Organizers are responsible for notifying all participants in her/his session concerning the date, time, and place of the session.

For further information consult the ESA web site ( or contact the Program Chair, Louis Gross, or the Program Assistant, Aleta Wiley.


Program Chair
Louis Gross
University of Tennessee
Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
569 Dabney Hall- 1416 Circle Dr.
Knoxville, TN   37996-1610

Phone: (865) 974-4295
Fax: (865) 974-6042
Email: gross at tiem dot utk dot edu

Program Assistant
Aleta Wiley
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: aleta at esa dot org


November 30, 2007 : Deadline to submit workshop proposals

December 15, 2007 : Contact Aleta Wiley if you have not received confirmation of your submission

January 15, 2008 : Notification of proposal acceptance sent to organizers

February 15, 2008 : Notification of date, time, and location of workshops sent to organizers

May 15, 2008 : Final scientific program published. Organizers should check time and location of their session and notify their presenters.

Mid-July, 2008: Registrant lists emailed to lead organizer.