Special Sessions

Call for Session Proposals

Meeting Dates

August 14 – 19, 2022
ESA & CSEE Joint Meeting
Montréal, Québec, Canada


5:00 PM Eastern (2:00 PM Pacific) Thursday, December 16, 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.

Proposals 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 ESA Meetings Code of Conduct. 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, all ESA meeting attendees must agree to abide by the ESA Scientific Integrity and Professional Ethics Policy and the ESA Diversity Statement.

How to Submit

You must submit your proposal using the online submission form. Proposals sent by email will not be considered. Click the link below to begin by selecting which type of proposal you would like to submit. You will be able to return to the proposal 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.

About the 2022 Joint Meeting

This year’s annual meeting is a joint meeting with the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution. Members of CSEE will be able to register for the meeting at the ESA member rate. CSEE members are welcome to submit session proposals and presentation abstracts through the usual ESA submission process and deadlines.

If public health conditions allow, the 2022 Annual Meeting will be an in-person meeting in Montréal, with all speakers attending in person. If an in-person meeting is not possible, the meeting will be virtual, with all sessions held online.

About Special Sessions

We invite proposals for special sessions for the 2022 Joint Meeting. Special sessions are 60-minute sessions that 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 appropriate for the presentation of formal research talks and do not include presentation abstracts. Special sessions do not conform to any single structure and innovative use of the session is encouraged. They may, for example, involve one presenter, a series of presenters, a panel, a film or video, an open-ended discussion, or some combination of these. You can browse examples of special sessions from the 2021 meeting.

All special sessions will be open to all registered meeting attendees without any advance signup required. Session organizers should plan for a potential range of attendance numbers since attendees can decide to attend any special session without advance notice.

Logistical Considerations

Special sessions will be scheduled as 60-minute sessions. To avoid conflicts with scientific sessions, special sessions are not scheduled concurrently with oral or poster sessions. Accepted special sessions will be scheduled to minimize topic overlap and as meeting space and logistics allow. We are tentatively planning to schedule these sessions for the traditional Monday morning timeslot following the Scientific Plenary; however, we do not yet have enough information about social distancing measures to know if this will be feasible. We will need to build the in-person schedule to accommodate deep cleaning of rooms between sessions and other safety measures that our venue is still in an early stage of developing. We will follow up with organizers of accepted special sessions once we have more information.

The standard A/V setup is a screen, LCD projector, and laptop (with sound). Some of the rooms we will use for workshops may not have wireless internet access. There is a place in the proposal form to indicate if wireless connectivity is important for your workshop. Any additional equipment, such as flip charts, must be requested in the proposal. Additional equipment may incur costs and can only be provided if the organizer provides funding to cover the costs.

Career Track

All sessions included in the Career Track will be highlighted throughout the program and scheduled to minimize conflicts. Submitters proposing a session about career options, skills and development will be able to indicate that they would like to be included in this track.

Proposal Format

The information listed below must be submitted through the online submission form. It is provided here to assist you in planning your submission. The form may differ slightly from the version listed here. Proposals that are incomplete or received by email will not be considered. You may begin a submission and then return to edit it up until the deadline.

Components of a Proposal

  • Session title (75 words max.) A strong session title is short and descriptive.
  • One lead organizer (Required; name, institution, and email).
  • Any number of co-organizers, including zero (Optional; name, institution, and email for each).
  • Speaker(s) (Optional; name, institution, and email).
  • Moderator (Optional, one person; name, institution, and email). The moderator introduces each speaker (if the session has speakers) and manages any Q&A and discussion. The moderator may also be an organizer or a co-organizer.
  • Session description (250 words max., required)
  • Diversity description (400 words max., required): Describe how this session involves diverse perspectives and voices as elaborated in ESA’s Diversity Statement.
  • Broader benefits description (400 words max., optional): Describe how this session benefits broader society (for example through education, public policy, communication/public engagement, application to commercial technology, national security or international cooperation).
  • Conflicts: Are there any other proposed sessions that this session should not conflict with?
  • Linked sessions: Is there another proposed session or requested social event that this session is linked with?
  • Would you like this session to be considered for inclusion in the Career Track? Yes/No.
  • Room setup: All special sessions will be set to comply with social distancing requirements. Unfortunately, we cannot consider special session organizer preferences for room setup this year.
  • Equipment: We will provide each workshop with a laptop (with sound for videos), screen, and LCD projector. Does this session have any other logistical needs? None, wireless internet connection, flip chart and easel, additional A/V equipment (specify with a note).
  • Organizer demographics: The submission form asks a few questions about the session’s lead organizer to help ESA improve our services and monitor our efforts towards diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.  All information will be shared only in the aggregate to help us assess the diversity of our submissions. Proposal reviewers and the committee will not see this information for individual proposals. It is required to answer each question, but you can select “Prefer not to answer”.

Session and Presentation Rules

Special sessions are required to have one organizer who will be the point of contact for correspondence with ESA and will be asked to make decisions regarding the session during planning. Co-organizers may also be listed, but the lead organizer is the point of contact.

To promote diversity of sessions and topics, no person will be permitted to serve as the lead organizer for more than two workshops, short courses, and/or special sessions at the 2022 Annual Meeting. A group of organizers may propose multiple linked sessions. Each session should be submitted separately, and it should be made clear which other proposals it is linked to, as well as its intended order in the sequence of the events.

Note that the One Presentation Rule does not apply to workshops, short courses, and special sessions. Anyone presenting in one of these sessions may also present in a scientific session (a formal talk or poster).

Other Important Information to Consider

Acceptance of your proposal does not obligate ESA beyond providing a meeting space and including the session in the program. All organizers and participants must register for the conference at the one day or full week rate. Organizers are responsible for making this clear to anyone they recruit to help with the session. ESA will not reimburse session organizers for expenses.

Evaluation Process and Criteria

The Program Subcommittee reviews all proposals for special sessions and makes acceptance decisions. Proposals may be from any area of science related to ecology, but those that pertain to the overall theme, “A Change Is Gonna Come” 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 Subcommittee has final authority for acceptance and scheduling for any proposed special session.

If Your Proposal is Accepted

All submitters will be notified of acceptance decisions by February. At that time, organizers will be provided with instructions to begin preparing the session for the online program in the spring.

Finalized information for all accepted special sessions will be available in the online program when registration opens.

Cancellation Policy

Once a special session has been accepted and listed online, cancellation imposes a serious burden. 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 session is accepted by the Program Committee, cancellation by the session organizer may preclude the acceptance of any sessions proposed by the organizer for the 2023 ESA Annual Meeting.

December 16, 2021
Deadline for submitting a proposal to ESA.

February 3, 2022
Notification of acceptance sent to organizer.

May 2022
Finalized session information is available in the online program.


Dr. Nyeema C. Harris
2022 Program Chair
School of the Environment
Yale University
(203) 432-2415

Jennifer Riem
Meeting Program Associate
Ecological Society of America

(202) 833-8773 x 218