Abstract Submission Guidelines

Before submitting your abstract/s (submissions open 4 May 2022), please READ the information below. You can also DOWNLOAD the Abstract Submission Guidelines.

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Abstracts and presentations should be submitted in English. We have turned on the Google Translator on our website, so that all text including the programme and abstracts can be read in a language of your choice.


As a general guideline, presentations should report findings of original research, novel synthesis, and review of existing information, or present new or conceptual ideas supported by evidence.

The criteria for acceptance of presentations include quality, novelty and relevance to the themes and objectives of the symposium. Decisions to accept presentations into the programme are based on a review of the abstract by the Scientific Committee, so it is important that abstracts are well thought out and carefully written. It is essential that abstracts are as informative as possible about the aims, methods, key findings, and, especially, implications for conservation practice.

Abstracts must be between 200 and 300 words. Please do not include graphics, references, tables, or footnotes in the abstract. Excessively brief abstracts make it difficult to judge whether a submission is suitable. When an abstract is too brief to judge the scope of the work to be presented, the author(s) will be requested to expand it.

Abstracts must reflect a completed study (or one in the final stages of the write-up) and hence must contain key results and conclusions of the research undertaken. Reporting of ongoing research and/or monitoring activities will also be considered provided results and recommendations are included. Note that abstracts that refer to results but do not actually contain results will not be accepted (e.g., "Results will be discussed", etc.). In some instances, where the abstract does not satisfy the criteria identified in these guidelines, but the Scientific Committee nevertheless believes that the research is significant, the abstract will be referred back to the author for revision and resubmission by a specified date. Failure to submit by the said date will exclude the presentation from the programme.

All abstracts, whether for plenary keynote (35-minute), session keynote (25-minute), standard (12-minute), speed (5-minute), or poster (display only) presentations, must follow the same format. Note these times do not include allocations for discussions and questions.

Structure and Content of Abstracts

While abstracts, especially those of keynote speakers and legal, conceptual, or review presentations, vary in style, the following is a recommendation on how the majority of abstracts should be structured.

Scientific articles are usually written following the Scientific Format, and we recommend that abstracts follow this style. The abstract submission includes a title, authors, their affiliations and contact information, and the body of the abstract. The body of the abstract does not contain any headings, but should reflect in brief the presentation, covering in broad terms the Introduction, Aim, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, and Management Implications/Recommendations. These sections are described separately below.

Legal presentations must be of a high quality demonstrating critical commentary and consideration of policy, legislation and case law of relevance to the symposium in the field of conservation. These abstracts should comply as much as possible with the Scientific Format. However, results of research will not be required; instead, legal abstracts must demonstrate clear strategy and arguments, providing critical discussion of current and developing trends in conservation and environmental law. Successful abstracts must make a meaningful law-based contribution to the concept, interpretation or analysis of case studies, legislation, policies, or related legal fields within conservation.

Abstracts for conceptual or review presentations and invited keynote presentations can be altered from the standard format to include the background, aims and the take-home message/conclusion. Like the legal presentations above, results of an individual research project need not necessarily be presented, but rather a broader approach to the topic should be considered which uses findings of multiple studies to emphasise key aspects of the argument or concept being presented. In general, a keynote address differs from a standard presentation in that it should either provide a contextual overview of the topic being discussed, or focus on a potential 'game-changer' in the field, indicating how future research and understanding in a given field might now have to take a slightly different turn based on this new understanding or legal position.


The title should be a brief description of the information that the author wishes to present. Titles should be as descriptive as possible but must be succinct. The number of characters used should be limited to 125 (between 12 and 16 words). Species names used in titles should follow this layout – common name (scientific name).

Authors and institutional affiliations

ALL co-author details including email addresses and affiliations must be included (this is the last field on the Submission page, right at the bottom of the screen). The Presenting and Primary Authors should be indicated as such using the radio buttons.


An introduction is usually two or three sentences that provide a background and context to the work that has been done. After reading the introductory part of the abstract, a reader should have a clear idea of why the work was necessary, and why it was done. Complex studies may require longer introductions, especially if there are many interactive factors determining various outcomes.


This component provides a clear account of the purpose of the research. It is usually phrased as an objective, a question, or a hypothesis. Note that the working hypothesis, not the statistical null hypothesis, should be used if a hypothesis is stated.


The methods section describes (in a sentence or two) how and where the research was conducted/data were collected. If the aim of the research was addressed using an experiment, then an outline of the experiment should be given. Alternatively, sampling/data collection procedures and/or methods of analysis should be described. 


The results section should highlight the key findings of the study and should present actual values. It is useful to present some measure of variation and whether results were significant (e.g., animals given a feed supplement weighed 36.5 ± 4.6 kg and control animals weighed 34.9.5 ± 4.1 kg (P=0.43)). However, full test statistics (F-values, degrees of freedom, etc.) should not be included in the abstract. While it is appropriate to present key results, the abstract should not contain too many results for a reader to assimilate. Formulas may be included in instances where this is critical for the argument or is a key result of the research.

When describing a difference between two treatments, try to describe the nature of that difference. For example, rather than saying "fertilised and unfertilised plants had significantly different growth rates", say "fertilised plants grew significantly faster than unfertilised plants".

Discussion and conclusion

The discussion is usually one to several sentences linking the results to the aim (and hence the introduction). The conclusion is a simple statement that informs the reader what the authors' final decision on the research was. When providing a conclusion, it is important not to confuse a conclusion with a summary of results or overstate the importance of the conclusion.

Management implications/recommendations

Part of what separates the Conservation Symposium from other conferences is the focus on the 'So what?' question. We are less interested in your scientific methods (but you still need to convince your audience that appropriate methods were used to produce reliable and unbiased results) and are more interested in the implications of your findings for conservation practice.

Example of an abstract submission

Abstract Title:

The impacts of relocation on the genetic integrity of wildlife

Preferred Presentation Length:

Indicate the length of presentation you would prefer - note this not guaranteed but your choice will be taken into account.

Primary Focal Area:

Choose the topic you feel best suited to your content

Secondary Focal Area:

Choose the topic you feel best suited to your content

Abstract Summary (copy and paste a pre-prepared text into the field):

Wildlife are relocated annually throughout South Africa by both state conservation agencies and private game farmers. The impact of these translocations on the genetic integrity of the species involved has not been investigated and is particularly important within state protected areas which are considered refugia for South Africa's wildlife. This research seeks to determine whether the translocation of impala throughout South Africa has had an impact on the genetic integrity of impala populations in protected areas administered by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. Genetic analysis of 2 056 impala, using microsatellite markers, demonstrated that 75% … Of these, 25% showed a heterozygosity (he =0.77) similar to populations found in … A similar pattern can be expected in other wildlife populations in that … This research highlights the need for conservation agencies to set in place a mechanism to genetically screen wildlife destined to be released into their protected areas. 


Supply up to five keywords describing your presentation

Confirmation Questions:

Answer these questions using the buttons provided

Comments for the Scientific Committee Chairperson:

Any details which you wish to bring to the attention of the Chair

Co-Author Details (only the primary institution can be used at this point):

Presenting Author, Ms Lindiwe Dlamini, lindiwe.dlamini@kznwildlife.com, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Scientific Services, Select Country, e.g. South Africa, Select State/Province/Region, e.g. KwaZulu-Natal

Primary Author, Dr Felicity Green, greenf@ukzn.ac.za, University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Life Sciences, Select Country, e.g. South Africa, Select State/Province/Region, e.g. KwaZulu-Natal

Version History: Minor Updates 14 February 2018, Version 2018.1, Version History: Minor Updates 14 February 2018, Version 2018.1, Final 2 July 2018, Version 2018.2, Major Updates 6 August 2020, Version 2020, Minor Updates 8 July 2021, Version 2020.1, Major Updates 12 April 2022, Version 2022.04.12, Minor Updates 28 April 2022, Version 2022.04.28

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