2005 Wrapup Reports

2005 Annual Meeting Wrap-Up

Below are the wrap-up reports that were submitted after the Annual Meeting.

Overview: Postponed 2005 Annual Meeting a Success!

Let it be said that there is nothing as stalwart and committed as an ESA member.  And there is no one, not even a nasty lady named Wilma, who could stand in the way of more than 2,000 entomologists getting together to present their research, compete for awards, network, socialize, and otherwise have a downright good time. 

On October 24, Hurricane Wilma roared across the Florida peninsula, slamming into Fort Lauderdale as the largest hurricane to hit the city in 50 years. The 2005 ESA Annual Meeting was to start less than two weeks later, with many of the volunteers, Governing Board members, and staff due to arrive earlier for meetings and set-up. The power was out, the airport was closed, government offices and schools were shut down with no definite re-opening dates, and general devastation abounded.

It took three days just to learn that several of the hotels where meeting attendees were booked had severe structural damage, not just the cosmetic problems visible from the road and on the news. Who would have thought that the “rock n’ roll” component of the meeting theme would have been prophetic—rocking with hurricane winds but still rolling to a highly successful meeting within a matter of weeks.

The ESA Executive Committee, Program Committee co-chairs, and headquarters staff went into crisis management mode. Using what information was available from Fort Lauderdale, a decision was made to postpone the meeting by 5-1/2 weeks.

A massive effort was undertaken to: (1) confirm symposia, organizers, speakers, and judges; (2) identify available hotel rooms and reconstitute the ESA housing block; (3) determine new room assignments at the convention center as other groups were booked during the new December dates; (4) process cancellations and accept new registrations; (5) create a program book addendum (and then an addendum to the addendum); (6) answer phone calls, e-mails, and faxes; and (7) generally re-do most of the planning that had gone on in the preceding year. Whew!

Everyone involved in the planning of the meeting did a spectacular job of doing the near-impossible. What resulted was an event that was both science and social.  Overall, we had 2,162 registrants, 54 exhibit booths sold to 48 exhibitors, 1,740 papers and posters presented, and 78 winners of the President’s Prize for the Student Competition (first- and second-place winners). With those numbers, we rock-n-rolled our way to another great Annual Meeting!

Technology Committee

The Technology Committee is responsible for the meeting delivery systems associated with the scientific program, plenary and closing sessions, and other events. The committee coordinates the efforts of the hardware, software, and convention center teams; manages the presentation preview room; conducts moderator training; and supervises and conducts technical troubleshooting.

For the 2005 Annual Meeting, approximately 55% of the oral presentations were uploaded to the online system prior to the meeting. For posters, approximately 35% were uploaded beforehand. Also, around 33% of presenters gave permission for the presentations to be recorded for AM Online.

In addition, only 10% of all sessions experienced delays due to technical problems with 6% delayed 1-5 minutes and 4% delayed 5-10 minutes. The top two recurrent problems were due to untrained moderators and mouse USB receivers disappearing or being moved.

The pre-meeting upload system worked extremely well and was a major contributor to the success of the meeting. However, of the nearly 700 uploaded presentations, only about half of them were indeed uploaded by the first deadline. The remainder came after the meeting’s postponement.

More technology was added to the meeting than ever before, such as the addition of posters to AM Online, twin-screen presentations, remote presentations via embedded narration and recorded video, and live remote presentations from England and Hawaii.

—Grayson Brown, 2005 Technology Chair

Student Competition for the President’s Prize

Before the meeting was postponed, we had 454 participants in the 2005 Student Competition for the President’s Prize. After the postponement, we had 361, with 189 10-minute papers (TMPs) divided into 21 sessions and 172 posters divided into 18 sessions. There were 63 judges for TMPs and 54 judges for posters. In addition, 41 moderators kept the oral sessions moving along and well-organized, in spite of a few no-shows.

A breakdown of the number of oral presentations and displays by Section is provided in Tables 1 and 2, respectively. This information was presented at the student awards session. The 1st- and 2nd- place winners were announced at the ceremony and are also posted on the ESA website. In addition, judges and moderators are listed and acknowledged for their work on the website.

A simplified judging sheet was implemented for both posters and oral presentations. This was very well received by the judges, who found them even simpler to use than previous years. Judges used customized Excel files to record their scores, which were then automatically totaled on the head judge’s front page. The template was designed by 2005 ESA President Mike Ivie and customized for each of the 39 judge’s sessions by Ian Foley of Montana State University. Judges were pleased with the Excel files and the new judging forms.

The only complaint was based on missing and rearranged papers and a clear understanding of which addendum to follow. Of course, all of this confusion was brought on by the postponement and the addition of two addenda. Also, a maximum of 12 posters have been suggested per judging session. 

Table 1: TMPs by Section
Section A 36
Section B 13
Section C 97
Section D 8
Sections E/F 35
Table 2: Posters by Section
Section A 27
Section B 26
Section C 70
Section D 7
Sections E/F 42

—Phillip Mulder and Tom Royer, 2005 Student Competition Co-Chairs

Section A

The Section A program offered two program and three Section symposia that covered an interesting diversity of topics in biodiversity, systematics, evolutionary biology and entomological mentoring. Program symposia included “Welcome to the Phallic Cult: Evolution of Insect Sexual Characters and Courtship Behavior” and “Revolutionizing Taxonomy Through an Open-Access Web-Register for Animal Names and Descriptions.” The latter was extremely well-attended with more than 100 in the audience and included a live video feed with European Union colleagues.

Three excellent Section A symposia were featured in the program: (1) a student-organized symposium on the role of mentors in science and impact on students, (2) a tribute to the late Honorable Miriam Rothschild, “She Blinded Me with Science,” and (3) a showcase of faunistic and systematic research on Cerambycidae. These sessions had good attendance (40-80). The somewhat-lower-than-expected numbers likely reflect the circumstances of the meeting and the strong alternatives for attendees throughout the 2005 program.

Student competition participation continued to increase with 36 oral presentations and 27 posters. Four parallel student paper sessions were well attended, numbering from 30 to capacity (more than 100). Judges and moderators worked efficiently to complete scoring for announcement of winners by Saturday evening.

The number of regular Section A papers and posters submitted for the original meeting program was also impressively higher in 2005—53 10-minute papers (TMPs) and 66 posters. Attendance at the contributed talks ranged from 40 to more than 80.  Multiple cancellations in the program were accommodated well by moderators and audiences alike. Also, the Section A preliminary business meeting had an attendance of 72, the final business meeting about 40. 

In sum, program scheduling worked well for Section A. Rooms were assigned such that concurrent Section A sessions were generally easy to move between. Seating capacity of 100-150 was appropriate for all sessions, but rooms were often under-filled due to lower-than-expected attendance.

—Brian Wiegmann, 2005 Section A Chair

Section C

Section C members were very active at the 2005 Annual Meeting in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida. One program symposium, “Bridging the Gap Between Basic Behavioral Research and Crop Protection Applications for Tree Fruit Agroecosystems: Honoring the Life and Work of Ronald J. Prokopy,” was organized by Tracy Leskey, Charles Vincent, and Martin Aluja. Two Section symposia, “The Other Social Arthropods,” organized by Donald Miller and Dessie Underwood, and “Incorporating Natural Enemies into Crop Protection Decision Making,” organized by Kristopher Giles and Tim Kring were well attended. Additionally, “Advances in Understanding Insect Dispersal to Improve Pest Management in Vegetable Systems,” organized by Brian Nault and Tong-Xian Liu, was co-sponsored with Section F. Members also organized several general symposia in areas of biocontrol, ecology, and insect behavior.

Section C members contributed 43% of oral presentations and 40.8% of posters. In addition, the preliminary and final business meetings were well attended, and members served as enthusiastic judges and moderators during the student competition. Considering the change in dates from early November to mid-December, Section C members were proud to be a part of the 2005 Annual Meeting.

—Robert Meagher, 2005 Section C Chair

Section D

Section D’s 2005 program included a very well-organized program symposium on chemical ecology approaches to West Nile and other emerging arthropod-borne emerging diseases, as well as a Section symposium on the natural history of West Nile in North America. The other Section symposia covered medical entomology research in the U.S. military, as well as muscoid flies, their pathogens, dispersal, and control. Section D also featured the medical and veterinary entomology highlights of the previous year, an annual event that is always well attended. Attendance at these symposia ranged from a few dozen to well over a hundred. Also, it was very valuable to have most of the Section D sessions in the same room. This always contributes to better attendance.

The student competition was represented by eight TMPs and seven posters this year. Attendance at the TMP competition was approximately 45. Overall, Section D attendance was lower this year due to many medical entomologists attending the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, which was held just prior to our meeting. Other cancellations were due to conflicts such as final exams.

Section D’s preliminary business meeting was well attended, as is usually the case. Fewer members (14) attended the final business meeting on Sunday afternoon, a normal trend.

—Nancy Hinkle, 2005 Section D Chair

Section E

Despite short travel budgets and the rescheduling hassle due to Hurricane Wilma, Section E scientists, in cooperation with colleagues throughout the Society, were able to field four Section symposia and, for the first time, jointly sponsor a poster symposium entitled “International Organizations, Programs, People and Invasive Insects.“ Our Section symposia covered a wide variety of topics, including the role of the National Diagnostic Network in the detection of exotic pests, detection and containment of the cactus moth, area-wide pest management of aphids on the high plains, and the use of kinetic models in stored product pest management.

We had three groups of posters on display during the conference and probably 90% of the posters originally submitted were on display. Three of the posters were selected to receive a certificate for excellence and demonstrate the variety and diversity of posters on display. The winning posters were “A decision model for managing a pest complex in soybean: Bean leaf beetles and bean pod mottle virus” by Jeffrey Bradshaw and Marlin E. Rice; “Play Let’s-Import-Tomatoes-from-Morocco!” by Guy Hallman; and “Similarities among complaints made by clients with delusional parasitosis and the samples they submitted to the OSU Pest Diagnostic Clinic” by Barbara Bloetscher, Susan C. Jones, Dave Shetlar and Celeste Welty.

The number of TMPs and student papers submitted to Section E were again limited. However, I am not sure that this is a true representation of our Section’s total input, because I know of several Section E members who prefer to present papers in other Sections.

I think that those who attended the meeting will agree that it was a success despite all the problems associated with rescheduling the meeting and changing travel plans. A great note of thanks goes to the ESA office staff, Program Committee, and Governing Board for going beyond the call to provide us with a forum to present our science and interact with other entomologists.

—Phil Sloderbeck, 2005 Section E Chair

Section F

Section F had a very successful 2005 meeting even after the hurricane damage, meeting rescheduling, and other delays. We had four Section symposia with a total of 36 speakers. We had seven 4-hour and one 2-hour TMP sessions with Section F members scheduled to present 140 papers, compared to 90 papers in 2004. Our Section presented 74 posters, compared to 63 at the previous year’s meeting. Student competition participation also increased with 46 student TMPs and 32 posters, compared to 32 TMPs and 39 posters in 2004.

Section F provided 18 regular session moderators, as well as six TMP moderators and 23 judges for the student competition. We provided four substitute judges due to last-minute cancellations. Our volunteers were essential for the success of all Section F and Subsection Fa and Fb scientific activities during the meeting. 

The Confex system for uploading and handling of electronic presentations worked well. Confex/Section F sessions were nearly problem-free, ensuring smooth-running, on-time sessions throughout the meeting.

All-in-all, Section F had a very productive Annual Meeting, allowing us to meet old friends and plan research and outreach programs with both old and new associates from across the membership. My appreciation is extended to each of the members who so graciously volunteered their time and talents to help with the program and make this Annual Meeting the success that our 2005 President Mike Ivie wanted.

—James A. Reinert, 2005 Section F Chair