CERF 2021 Call for Abstracts

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About  |  Education and Cultural Heritage and Humanities Sessions
Policies and Procedures  |  Scientific Program Formats
The deadline to submit an abstract was Friday, 14 May 2021.
Thank you to all who submitted an abstract for CERF 2021!

About 2021 Abstracts

The CERF 2021 Scientific Program Committee (SPC) invites you to submit an abstract for an oral or poster presentation for CERF 2021. CERF 2021 is going virtual! The virtual format for CERF 2021 will certainly be different, but it creates the opportunity to reach a more expansive group of scientists and students from around the world to address the science and management of coastal ecosystems and communities. The conference format will use technology that has worked well for other recent online conferences to emphasize virtual discussion during the conference event, including small-group engagement for poster presentations. “Going Virtual” also will allow our Federation’s conference to provide a wider array of activities to match the diverse needs of professionals at all stages in their career, supporting continuing education and development, and facilitating networking opportunities.

Our 2021 conference marks the Federation’s 50th birthday, and our theme of "Celebrating Our Past, Charting Our Future" seeks to build on our societies’ foundation to contribute to a global conversation on coastal science during a challenging time for Earth and humanity, bringing together an energized group of thought leaders in science, management, and policy. Our conference team is working hard to design a scientific format that will bridge the virtual divide and allow you to access important information and networking opportunities.

CERF is also pleased to welcome our colleagues from the Estuarine and Coastal Modeling (ECM) Conference community to the 2021 meeting.  After several decades of meeting separately, we are excited to join forces.

Please consider submitting an abstract to one of our special sessions that examines new findings within CERF’s traditional scientific, education, and management disciplines and encourages interaction among coastal and estuarine scientists and environmental management professionals.

The SPC also encourages abstracts that promote intellectually stimulating discussions related to our themes, including:

  • Learning from History– Illustrate how key estuarine and coastal disciplines have evolved from early foundational studies to current perspectives and paradigms;
  • Grand challenges to understand the impacts of global climate change;
  • Identifying solutions to decrease stressors; restore resilience; and manage habitats and their biological communities to increase resilience towards climate change;
  • Highlighting ways in which Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and fundamental coastal science are complementary and effective to answer scientific and social issues;
  • Innovative approaches to science that directly incorporate diversity and inclusion;
  • Strategies to addressing racism and the legacy of underrepresentation in STEM and in our fields;
  • Anticipating uncertain futures: lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Transdisciplinary design and adaptation for sustainable, resilient urban coastlines: realizing triple-bottom line outcomes;
  • Advances in estuarine and coastal modeling. (Prior attendees of the Estuarine and Coastal Modeling (ECM) conference are encouraged to submit!);
    • ECM highlights estuarine and coastal modeling research advancements and applications including storm response, climate change and resilience, ecosystems, operational forecasting, coupled systems, numerical techniques, water quality, sediment transport, analysis and visualization, cloud computing, machine learning, and regional applications.
View a List of CERF 2021 Special and General Sessions

Education Sessions

The goal of the education sessions is to highlight the role that many members play as both researchers and educators. Presenters can be professionals at a variety of levels from K-12 to university or informal science education.

The conference limit of one first author oral or poster presentation per individual does not apply to the Education Sessions (listed below). If you intend to submit a second abstract in the Education category, please submit your science-focused abstract first. You will then receive a confirmation email that provides instructions on how to submit your education abstract, and the abstract fee for this second abstract will be waived.

Eligible Education Sessions include:

  • Artistic Pathways to Scientific Understanding
  • Science on a Changing Shore: Marine Laboratories During Climate Change
  • Teaching Estuarine and Coastal Science: Tools, Resources and Strategies
  • The Evolution of Marine Education Across the Globe
  • Training Under-served Underrepresented Minorities for 21st Century Careers in Science
  • Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs in the Transition to Online Instruction During the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Why Diversifying Coastal and Estuarine Research and Management Matters

Cultural Heritage and Coastal Humanities (CH/CH) Sessions

The conference limit of one first author oral or poster presentation per individual also does not apply to the CH/CH Session (and the second abstract fee will also be waived), entitled “Integrating Traditional Ecological and Local Knowledge with Coastal Ocean Science.” We encourage abstracts that highlight cultural stewardship and the human dimensions of risk and change associated with indigenous and other subsistence coastal communities' efforts to enhance strategies dealing with climate change impacts, mitigation, and adaptation. See the Cultural Heritage and Coastal Humanities web page for further details.

Policies and Procedures for Submitting Abstracts to CERF 2021 

The Abstract Submission Portal opened on 3 March 2021. The abstract submission deadline was 14 May 2021 at 11:59 PM PT (04:59 GMT).

All abstracts must be received by the closing date noted above. Any abstracts received after the deadline may not be eligible for inclusion in the conference program.

Each submitter will be prompted to select a first choice and second choice session for their submission.

Guidelines: Because the conference is virtual, the format for CERF science presentations has changed in order to maximize meaningful discussion and virtual engagement. See the scientific program formats below for more detail on each of the submission types:

Oral sessions: Oral sessions will be organized as one or more 1.5 hour virtual session blocks with synchronous content. These live-content blocks will be divided between 1) one 30 min or 2- 15 min “Anchor” talks, 2) several 5-min “Summary” talks, and 3) a 30-min moderated discussion block that will feature the session speakers as panelists and facilitates discussions among all talks in the session block. Moderators will encourage and collate questions for all speakers and these questions will be used to kick off the discussion portion of the session block.

All talks will be pre-recorded and delivered synchronously during the session. Presenters of 5-minute summary talks are also encouraged to record a traditional 15-min talk that will be available for asynchronous, on-demand viewing immediately after the session. Links to that talk can be given in the summary talk and will be viewable in the online program. Presenters are strongly encouraged to be present for synchronous sessions.  However, if accessibility and logistical issues arise, presenters are not required to be present. Note that attendance ensures that you are present to answer questions and participate in the discussion period at the end of the session.

Poster sessions: Poster submissions will be posted online and made available to conference attendees throughout the conference. Poster presenters may record and post an oral summary of their poster if they so choose. Conference attendees may interact with poster presenters during asynchronous discussion forums and/or during a scheduled Poster Roundtable, which will feature informal discussions in a live synchronous virtual ‘room’. The virtual synchronous Poster Roundtables will facilitate informal discussion and networking opportunities to emulate the engaging experience of traditional CERF poster sessions.

Please review the following guidelines and tips before submitting your abstract. If the guidelines are not followed, your abstract will not be accepted.

  1. SESSION: Choose your first and second choice of sessions. Search for sessions here

  2. TITLE: There is a limit of 15 words for the title. The title should be entered in sentence case (i.e., only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized).

  3. PREFERRED PRESENTATION TYPE: Descriptions of each format are in the next section. When submitting your abstract, you can opt for a 5-minute Summary talk (with an optional pre-recorded 15-minute asynchronous talk available online) or a Poster. You can indicate whether you’d like your submission to be considered for an Anchor talk, which will be evaluated and selected by the session chairs. Anchor talks will be 30-minute or 15-min presentations. Posters remain visible for the entire conference. You can select one of the options below for your presentation:

    • Summary talk preferred, Poster acceptable
    • Summary talk only, Poster not acceptable
    • Poster Only
  1. STUDENT AWARDS: If you are a student, you can choose to have your presentation judged for the Student Awards. If so, please designate if you are a high school, undergraduate or graduate student.

  2. RELEASE OF ABSTRACT: You must agree to the publication of your abstract in conference related materials and on the website where it will be publicly available. If you submit a pre-recorded talk, you must agree that this recording will be made available for conference attendees to view for six months following the conference.

  3. AUTHOR INFORMATION: Enter authors in the order they should appear in the abstract. Provide institutional affiliations and contact information. There is a 12 author limit per abstract. Indicate if you are an Early Career Researcher (within 5 years of degree).

  4. KEYWORDS: Select up to five key words for your submission from the drop down menu.

  5. ABSTRACT: All abstracts must be in English and metric units are preferred. There is a limit of 2,000 characters for the text of your abstract. The character count includes spaces.

  6. ABSTRACT FEE: Abstracts will not be accepted into the scientific program without payment. The CERF 2021 fee is $70 USD. Secure online payment is available at the end of the submission process. Please note that abstract fees are non-refundable.

Scientific Program Formats

Since we expect submission of more than 1,000 abstracts, we will be required to balance thematic guidelines, scheduling constraints, and other factors to create the best possible conference program. The SPC reserves the right to assign abstracts to either poster or oral sessions; please consider indicating that a Poster is an option during your abstract submittal process. Your understanding and cooperation are greatly appreciated.

  1. Anchor Oral presentations. Anchor talks are intended to summarize key problems or opportunities for a session, highlight recent scientific advances, and/or identify fundamental data gaps in order to set up the focus for an individual session. Anchor talks will be 15 or 30 minutes (including time for questions), and you should indicate your interest in presenting an Anchor talk when you submit your abstract. Session chairs will review all submitted abstracts that indicate interest in giving an Anchor talk and select among those submissions. CERF encourages that these Anchor presentations be used to highlight and promote early-career scientists and be specifically thought of as an opportunity to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion at the CERF conference.

  2. Summary oral presentations. Summary talks are 5-minute presentations requiring the presenter to focus on the essence of their research findings. Given the unusual virtual format this year, we are using short-format Summary talks to accommodate as many speakers as possible and to create a dynamic, engaging online conference, with more time for discussion within each session. Presenters are encouraged to pre-record a traditional 15 min talk that can be viewed asynchronously on demand after the session to provide additional content.

  3. Poster presentations. Posters are an essential part of the scientific program. While most poster sessions will be closely linked to oral sessions, a limited number may be organized as a stand-alone session at the discretion of the session chairs. Our goal is to provide high quality poster sessions that are equal to oral sessions in their ability to provide exposure, participation, and feedback.

One abstract submission per person

Please note that the Federation has a one presentation per person policy. This means that each participant is permitted to be the lead author or presenter on only one poster OR oral presentation. You may be co-author on other presentations. This policy was adopted to ensure that Federation conference sessions contain contributions from as many people as possible.  The only exception to this limit is for second abstracts submitted to Education and CH/CH Sessions.

Presenter Confirmation/Cancellation Policy

The presenting author of accepted abstracts must confirm their participation by registering for the conference by 7 September 2021. For details, please see the Conference Presenter Cancellation policy.

Thank you in advance for your submission.


Technical questions or concerns about your submission should be directed to Confex at [email protected]. Questions or concerns related to the scientific program should be directed to CERF at [email protected]. Your inquiries will be sent to the proper person for response.

Conference Co-Chairs

Mark Brush, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary, [email protected]

Lora Harris, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, [email protected]

Scientific Program Co-Chairs

Martha Sutula, Department of Biogeochemistry, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, [email protected]

Jeremy Testa, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, [email protected]

Benjamin Walther, Department of Life Sciences, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, [email protected]