Special Session Proposals

2020 ESA Annual Meeting

Salt Lake City, Utah
August 2-7, 2020
5:00 PM Eastern (2:00 PM Pacific)
Thursday, November 21, 2019

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

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.

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 for all meeting participants and ESA staff. 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. The 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 ESA Code of Ethics.


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 Special Sessions

We invite proposals for special sessions for the 2020 ESA Annual Meeting. Special sessions are 75 minute sessions scheduled on Monday morning after the Scientific Plenary. 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 appropriate for the presentation of formal research talks and do not include presentation abstracts. Special sessions do not conform to any single structure. 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.


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.


Special session logistics

  • All special session rooms will be set for theater style (with or without a panel table). The standard A/V setup is a screen, LCD projector, and laptop (with sound).
  • Special sessions will be scheduled in rooms with a wireless internet connection.
  • Unless the session organizer provides funding to cover the costs, we cannot provide food and beverages for special sessions.
  • Special sessions are open to all registered ESA attendees without any advance signup required. Session organizers should plan for a potential range of attendance numbers since attendees can decide to attend any session without advance notice.
  • To avoid conflicts with scientific sessions, special sessions are not scheduled concurrently with oral or poster sessions. All special sessions will be scheduled for Monday morning, 10:15-11:30 am (75 minutes).


Components of a special session proposal

  • Session title
  • Session description (appears online only; 250 words max.)
  • Summary sentence (appears in print only; 50 word max.)
  • A lead organizer (Required; name, institution, and email).
  • Co-organizers (Optional; name, institution, and email for each).
  • Room setup: All special sessions are set in theater style. Organizers may request a panel table.
  • Equipment: None, wireless internet connection, flip chart and easel.
  • Funding: Do you have funding to cover the costs of any food, beverages, or additional equipment requested for this session? What is the source of the funding? What expenses would it cover, and for what amount?
  • Food and beverage: None, coffee, soda and water, snacks.
  • 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?


Session and presentation rules

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 2020 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).

Meeting registration and special session costs

Special sessions are open to all meeting attendees on a first-come, first-serve basis. Any costs for food, refreshments, or special equipment requested by the organizer will need to be covered by funding provided by the organizer. Meeting attendees may choose to participate in any special session without advance notice. Since there is no advance sign up, organizers will not know in advance how many people plan to attend. It is best to plan to accommodate a range of participant numbers.


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. We especially stress that no ESA funds are available for waived or reduced meeting registration, honoraria, refreshments, special A/V needs, or travel expenses for session organizers or participants. 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

Proposals for special sessions are reviewed and selected by the Program Chair in consultation with peers s/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, “Harnessing the ecological data revolution” 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 Committee 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 mid-January. 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 (typically in early April).


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 Chair, cancellation by the session organizer may preclude the acceptance of any sessions proposed by the organizer for the 2020 ESA Annual Meeting.


Important Dates

November 21, 2019      Deadline for submitting a proposal to ESA.

January 16, 2020             Notification of acceptance sent to organizer.

February 13, 2020          Notification of scheduling (session date and time) sent to organizer.

April 2020                              Finalized session information is available in the online program.



Dr. Kiona Ogle
Program Chair
School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, AZ
Phone: (928) 523-6200
E-mail: Kiona.Ogle@nullnau.edu
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
Email: jennifer@nullesa.org