The Western Society of Naturalists 101st Annual Meeting will be held virtually from November 5-8, 2020.

Registration is now open! The abstract submission deadline is Monday, Oct 5. You may still register to attend the meeting after that date/time using the registration button below.

For more information on special sessions, workshops, and plenary sessions, navigate through the “Annual Meeting” menu above.


Registration Fees


Regular registration (Includes $35 WSN Membership): $50.00 

View refund policy


Student registration (Includes $5 WSN Membership): $20.00

View refund policy


Meeting Information

The general structure of the meeting remains the same, with a student workshop on the opening Thursday and student and presidential symposia on Friday and Saturday mornings, respectively. Contributed talks will be on Friday and Saturday afternoons (and Sunday afternoon if necessary), with a contributed poster session on Sunday morning. There will be interesting and topical special sessions and plenaries as well, and we are working to create a variety of opportunities for virtual networking, mentoring, and general conversation. See the tentative meeting agenda below for more details.

Associated with the virtual format, the main differences this year are that more people may be able to attend as there is no associated travel time and expense, and our costs are considerably lower with no hotel or food bills. Registration is only $50 for standard registration and $20 for student registration. To help accommodate everyone and keep the number and duration of concurrent sessions manageable, we are committed to having ~80% of the oral presentations be 5-minute speed talks. Students presenting 5-minute talks will be judged in the usual categories of observational ecology, organismal/population biology, community/ecosystem ecology, and applied ecology/conservation biology.

There is a very limited number of slots for 15-minute presentations – roughly 50 for general sessions plus some of the special topic sessions (which are open to all speakers – no invitation required). The 50 available slots will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. Please consider whether you really need 15 minutes to tell your story – condensing your message to 5 minutes is an important skill and will help you reach a broader audience.

All talks will be pre-recorded to help us keep to time and reduce the chance of snafus related to unstable internet connections, etc. This will be coupled with real-time Q&A and opportunities for further live discussion. You will have the option to post your talk on a password-protected YouTube channel that WSN registrants can view for a period of time after the meeting ends. This will also increase the exposure of your research.

For poster presenters, you will be able to upload your poster (up to 10 Mb) and, if desired, a 3-minute video describing it. We will have live sessions for Q&A to keep the experience as similar to an in-person poster session as possible.

Finally, please know that nominations for the Naturalist of the Year are open until October 1st – please nominate your natural history hero and see the WSN website for guidelines.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

WSN maintains a strong commitment to reflect and promote the diversity of its membership, and foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community irrespective of such factors including, but not limited to, race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, ethnicity, ability, religion, language, nationality, age/career stage, or institution. In 2018, the WSN Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEIC) was officially formed. Its members are Corey Garza (chair), Cheryl Barnes, Jennifer Burnaford, Alexandra Davis, Mike Gil, and Crystal Ng.

DEIC members include students, postdocs, faculty, and other professional researchers and educators who serve ~3 year terms. Thus, there will be some turnover in committee membership every year. If you are interested in joining the DEIC, please contact Corey Garza.

WSN also maintains a meeting Code of Conduct, which formalizes WSN’s commitment to creating an environment in which all attendees can participate without harassment, discrimination, or violence of any type. See the website for details.

Western Society of Naturalists Meeting Code of Conduct

The Western Society of Naturalists (WSN) annual meeting is intended to foster the exchange of scientific ideas, provide participants with an opportunity to present research findings, establish and renew collaborations, facilitate recruitment of students and staff to laboratories and institutions, and to learn, teach, and network with an international community of scientists. WSN is committed to creating an environment in which all attendees can participate without harassment, discrimination, or violence of any type. This Code of Conduct applies to all events at the WSN annual meeting, including all meeting-related activities of participants.

All meeting participants must be treated with respect, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, ethnicity, ability, religion, language, professional status, institution or age. All meeting participants including, but not limited to, members, volunteers, attendees, vendors, exhibitors, contractors, and guests are expected to abide by this WSN Meeting Code of Conduct.

Expected behavior includes (but is not limited to):

  • Treating all participants and meeting facilities with respect and consideration.
  • Communicating openly with respect for others, critiquing ideas rather than individuals.
  • Avoiding personal attacks directed toward others.
  • Respecting the rules and policies of the meeting venue, hotels, WSN contracted facility, or any other venue.
  • Abiding by principles of academic integrity and ethical professional conduct.

Harassment or discrimination by or of any meeting participant or of any type will not be tolerated.

Unacceptable behavior includes (but is not limited to):

  • Behavior that implies or indicates that someone does not belong at the WSN meeting based on any personal characteristic or identity.
  • Any unwanted attention, sexual advances, and comments about appearance.
  • Verbal harassment, including comments, epithets, slurs, threats, and negative stereotyping that are offensive, hostile, disrespectful, or unwelcome.
  • Non-verbal harassment, including actions or distribution, display, or discussion of any written or graphic material toward an individual or group that ridicules, denigrates, insults, belittles, or shows hostility, aversion, or disrespect.
  • Bullying, intimidation, stalking, shaming, and assault.
  • Retaliation for reporting harassment.
  • Reporting an incident in bad faith.

The WSN Secretariat reserves the right to enforce this Code of Conduct in any manner deemed appropriate. Anyone violating the Code of Conduct will first be asked to cease these behaviors. Failure to comply with requests can result in escalating consequences which may include, but are not limited to, (a) expulsion from the meeting, (b) prohibition from future meetings, or (c) revocation of WSN membership.

If you are the subject of unacceptable behavior or have witnessed any such behavior, please immediately notify a member of the WSN Secretariat.

Notification can be done by contacting a member of the WSN Secretariat on-site or via e-mail to