Call for Symposium Proposals

95th ESA Annual Meeting
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
August 1 - 6, 2010

Call Open: July 20 - September 24, 2009

We invite symposium proposals for the 95th ESA Annual Meeting. The meeting will be held August 1-6, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Pittsburgh Convention Center.

Symposia are the scientific centerpiece of the meeting. They will be assigned premium meeting space at the Pittsburgh Convention Center and will serve as the cornerstone for assembly of the scientific program. Proposals addressing the meeting theme, “Global Warming: The legacy of our past, the challenge for our future”,are especially welcome, but any timely and coherent subject of broad interest will be considered.

Symposia are limited to half-day sessions (3.5 hours); full-day symposia will not be considered. This meeting will include 24 symposia. Individual talks in symposia range from 15 to 30 minutes in length at the discretion of the symposium organizer. Time devoted to synthesis, summary, and discussion is strongly encouraged.

Applications must be received on or before Thursday, September 24, 2009. You must use the online submission site at will be available from the ESA website ( as of July 24, 2009.

  1. Evaluation Process and Criteria
  2. Endorsements
  3. Presentation Rules
  4. If Your Proposal Is Accepted
  5. Application Format
  6. Cancellation Policy
  7. Summary of Deadlines
  8. Begin Submission Process

A. Evaluation Process and Criteria

All proposals will be peer-reviewed and ranked by reviewers selected by the ESA Program Chair. The Program Chair may accept or decline your proposal, or offer you the opportunity to present your work in an alternative forum (organized oral session, workshop, or special session) during the annual meeting.

Decisions and alternative offers will be made by December 17, 2009.

Symposium proposals will be assessed using the following criteria. Weighting of particular criteria may vary depending on the nature of proposals, but proposals should explicitly address these criteria, as appropriate.           
Scientific strength: Symposia are the scientific centerpieces of the meeting, and should:

Structure and organization: Symposia should be more explicitly integrated than other sessions, and should be structured to:

Integration: Proposals may receive higher priority if they are clearly linked to the meeting's overall theme, or if they offer particular value or insight in the context of other sessions proposed for this meeting or of symposia at recent ESA meetings.

Speakers:Invited speakers may be a mix of well-established scientists, rising stars, and newcomers, but each speaker should bring new contributions to the session, not simply reviews of previous work. Inclusion of experienced or particularly engaging speakers can strengthen a proposal, but new voices are also important. Proposals with a larger proportion of confirmed speakers will be favored.

All speakers will be required to submit an abstract by the February 25, 2010, abstract submission deadline. The Symposium Organizer is responsible for assuring that all abstracts are received by this date.

B. Endorsements

Symposia can be endorsed by internal bodies within ESA such as sections, chapters, and committees. Non-ESA endorsements will not be considered. These endorsements will be considered in the review of proposals, particularly if they emphasize why the group finds merit (in terms of the evaluation criteria above) in the proposal. Each of these groups is allowed to provide a primary endorsement for only one proposal. If more than one proposal was considered for primary endorsement by a group, the endorsement should describe the process and rationale used to select the proposal being endorsed. To enhance interdisciplinary connections, groups may provide a secondary endorsement for up to two additional proposals. Groups may provide primary endorsements for a symposium jointly but are still limited to only one primary endorsement per group. Symposium proposers, in requesting endorsements, should make this policy clear. There is NO guarantee that a proposal endorsed by any group will be accepted.

Individuals preparing letters of endorsement must submit them directly to the proposal submission site and make it clear as to whether it is a primary or secondary endorsement. Symposia proposers are required to provide the name and email of the person providing the letter of endorsement when submitting a proposal. The person sending the letter will be sent an email with instructions on how to submit the letter.

C. Presentation Rules

In the interest of broadening participation, an individual is allowed to be an organizer (either a principal organizer or a co-organizer) for only one symposium.

Persons agreeing to present papers in symposia also should be aware that the one-paper-rule will be enforced. That is, anyone who is first author or presenter of a symposium paper cannot also be first author or presenter for another paper whether for a symposium, organized oral session, contributed oral session, or poster session. Organizers should make certain that speakers they recruit understand this rule and make no conflicting commitments.

Exceptions to the one-paper rule may be made for participants in special sessions, workshops, and for plenary speakers. Also, an author may submit an abstract for a second presentation ONLY if the second abstract is directly related to ecology education or scientific outreach. Moderators for symposia may not serve as speakers in those symposia. A moderator may, however, be a speaker in another session.

D. If Your Proposal Is Accepted

After symposia are accepted and the scheduling for the meeting is underway, cancellations and schedule changes are very disruptive to meeting planning. Hence, symposium organizers should obtain firm commitments from as many of their invited speakers as possible before submitting their proposal.

If a proposal is accepted, the organizers must submit a final summary description of the symposium to the Program Assistant no later than January 21, 2010. This summary will appear on the meeting website, should have a description written so as to stimulate interest and promote attendance by a general audience, and thus is different in focus from the longer description in the original proposal. This final summary must include a complete and current listing of organizers' names and their affiliations, addresses, telephone, fax, and email addresses; a 250 word description of the session, a single-sentence (up to 50 words) description of the session, and a final, confirmed speaker list.

It is the responsibility of the symposium organizers to see that each speaker submits an individual abstract of his/her talk through the Abstract Submission site by the February 25, 2010, deadline.

ESA is not able to provide any financial assistance, stipends, free registration, travel assistance, or paid lodging to symposium organizers or to individual symposium participants. Organizers are responsible for making this clear to the participants.

E. Application Format

All proposals MUST follow the format of the online submission form on the ESA meeting website. Incomplete and inaccurate information provided on these forms may result in the proposal not being accepted.

Note that the following information must be entered on the  It is provided here to assist you in planning your submission. Also note that the web page format may differ slightly from the format listed here.

All proposals must include:

When you submit your proposal on the website submission form, you will be notified of receipt by email to the address that you provide. If you do not receive such notification within 2 days of submitting your proposal, please contact Program Assistant Jennifer Riem at to confirm that your proposal was received. Organizers of accepted Symposium proposals will be notified by the end of February regarding the date and time for their sessions at the Annual Meeting. Organizers are responsible for notifying all participants in their symposium concerning the date, time, and place of the session.

F. Cancellation Policy

Once a symposium has been accepted and listed on the meeting website, cancellation causes serious disruption of meeting planning. Do not submit a proposal if you are uncertain that you will be able to fulfill your obligation to organize and conduct the symposium.

G. Summary of Deadlines:

September 24, 2009: Deadline for proposal submission
December 17, 2009: Notification of acceptance sent out
January 21, 2010: Deadline to submit final revisions and confirmed speaker lists
February 18, 2010: Notification of date and time of symposia sent out
February 25, 2010: Deadline for speakers to submit abstracts for their talks (required)


Dr. Frank S. Gilliam
Department of Biological Sciences
Marshall University
Huntington, WV  25755-2510
Phone:  (304) 696-3636
FAX:(304) 696-3243
Jennifer Riem
Program Assistant
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: Jennifer Riem