Colloquium Research Poster Session

All graduate students (new and continuing) and faculty are encouraged to present a poster. The Program is asking all graduate students who are entering the third or fifth year of the MEES graduate program to present a poster. This poster session is designed to provide an informal, comfortable setting for graduate students to practice presenting posters, get feedback on research projects and inform faculty and students of the research being conducted in the Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences (MEES) Graduate Program of the University System of Maryland. It will also enhance communication and understanding among different campuses and areas of specialization. Posters presented should reflect:
1. Research done at MEES as part of a thesis, dissertation, class project or where you are in your graduate research and need not represent a complete or "finished" product. (Even if you have only a small amount of data, the MEES Program Office would like you to present a poster showing where you are going or what you are pursuing, research-wise.)
2. Research done while enrolled in MEES (this would include summer internships). If you have already presented a poster at another meeting that will serve perfectly well for the MEES poster session - you don't need to make a new one. However, please see size restrictions below.

Instructions For Abstract Preparation

- TITLE OF BANNER/PAPER: The abstract title is printed in CAPITAL LETTERS, with the exception of scientific names which should be UPPER/lower case and italicized. Scientific names should not be preceded or followed by commas or parentheses or other markings.
- AUTHOR(S): The first name should be the presenting author. Use * after the presenting author. Type in upper/lower case.
- ADDRESS and EMAIL: Type only the presenting author's institution, address and email. Type in upper/lower case.
- PAGE SIZE: Standard 8.5 X 11 inch paper (portrait)
- MARGINS: 1-inch margin throughout (left/right/top/bottom)
- SPACING: Single spaced
- PARAGRAPHS: Paragraphs should be separated by a blank line and should not be indented
- FONTS: Character fonts should be 12 point type
- FIGURES & TABLES: Figures and tables are highly recommended. They should be reduced to the appropriate size for a one page abstract and should be clearly readable at the reduced size in black print only. The reduced figures and tables should be included in the abstract in camera ready form.


Abstracts are requested for both oral presenters and poster presenters. To submit your 250 word abstract electronically as MSWORD or PDF file to the Colloquium Committee.

Guidelines for Poster Presentations

POSTER SIZE: 5 feet x 3 feet foam board. The poster must fit WITHIN these measurements. Bring your own mounting materials (thumb tacks, Velcro, tape, etc.)

- Please check in with Registration upon arrival

There are many different ways to prepare an effective poster. The following text is recommended for further advice on poster preparation: Briscoe, M.H. (1996). Preparing scientific Illustrations: A Guide to Better Posters, Presentations and Publications. Springer-Verlag. 

Components of the Poster

Title: The title should accurately reflect the contents of the poster. Brief, concise titles are encouraged. Below the title should include the name(s) of the author(s) and their address(es). The name of the presenter should be placed first.

Abstract: The abstract should be a concise highlight of the results and conclusions. Methodology should not be abstracted unless it is necessary to explain the results or unless the paper describes a new technique. Abstracts should be brief (<250 words).
Introduction: The introduction should explain why the research was conducted and why it is important. The introduction should condense the relevant information in the field that led the author to do the research. The introduction is not a complete literature review, and only the most relevant references should be cited. The introduction should also contain a statement that describes the purpose or objective of the research.
Materials and Methods: The underlying goal of this section is to briefly describe what was done so that others can repeat the experiment. Experimental designs can be explained by use of figures if they will help clarify what was done. If the experiment was a complicated one with many sub-parts, subsections may be used to describe each sub-part.
Results: This section describes the data. Proper use of tables and figures can enhance and help explain the results. Statistical analysis of data is necessary, unless differences are so obvious that statistical analysis is superfluous. Although probability values of 0.05 and 0.01 are traditionally used, each author is free to choose his own level of significance.
Discussion: This section should interpret the results and compare the results from this experiment to those found in similar research. The section can also be used to speculate about the results, to provide reasons for the trends, and to suggest new ideas that can advance our understanding.
Conclusion: This section should be used to briefly offer a synopsis of the conclusions of the research data. Concisely state the main conclusion. Leave the reader no doubts about the take-home message.
Acknowledgments: This section should be used to thank organizations that supported your research monetarily and individuals who assisted in the research or preparation of the paper (OPTIONAL).
References: Select references with great care. Unless the paper is a review, there is no need to reference every paper written about a subject. Use only the most important ones. (OPTIONAL).

Guidelines For Preparing a Better Poster

- Begin by preparing a scale model layout as an outline for the poster. This allows you to determine the number and size of figures, tables, heading, and length of text before making any final products.
- The organization and flow of the poster needs to be very clear. Visually subordinate those things that are less important and draw attention to those of greater importance. Make clear sequence in which the poster is to be viewed.
- Keep explanatory text close to the figure it is explaining.
- Group related information together, and make the groupings clear. A visually clear presentation will have a substantial amount of blank space. If elements are crammed too tightly, the poster will appear chaotic and hard to follow.
- MAXIMIZE CONTRAST BETWEEN TEXT & BACKGROUND AND MINIMIZE NARRATIVE: Make the text stand out, be careful using a picture as a background. If you do, make sure the picture is high quality (high number of pixels) and that ALL the text is easy to read. Show as well as tell the story. Tables and figures should be a main component of a successful poster. A 1:1 ratio of text and graphics appears to be an acceptable value for presenting an effective, visually appealing poster. Do not use extensive text.
BE VISUAL: Make the poster accessible to browsers. Use a simple font, such as Helvetica. A mix of capital and lower case letters is easier to read than all capitals. The title should be legible from 15 feet away. It should be assertive, clear, and catch the eye of the viewer. You may wish to shorten names and affiliations when they are too wordy. This information may be in slightly smaller type than the title. Main headings carry the essential content and should provide a complete take-home message and be visible at 8 feet. Supporting text follows the main headings and should be visible at 5 feet. Be sure your contact information is placed on your poster.

Set-Up and Judgement Criterion

Posters will be judged 'good', 'very good', 'excellent', and 'outstanding' on the following criteria:

1. Graphic presentation
2. Writing quality
3. Data presentation
4. Scientific Design
5. Conclusions

Posters should be removed Friday evening, after the judging! 

Guidelines For Powerpoint Presentations

- You must present your talk only with Powerpoint computer projection formatted for PC or MAC.
- If you use a Mac system, you may want to preview it on a PC prior to the talk to check for errors between the systems.
- Each speaker will have 30 minutes for presentation - an averaged recommended speaking time is 23 minutes for presentation and 7 minutes for questions at the end of the presentation.
- Your PowerPoint presentation will be loaded on the laptop on top of the podium in a separate folder. You are responsible for opening your file and for advancing your own PowerPoint by using the keyboard on the laptop.
- A laser pointer will be on the lectern. Laser pointers should be used sparingly and not waved around the room. Please leave the laser pointer on the lectern when you finish.
- It is essential to adhere to your time allocation. Your session moderator will operate a timing mechanism to remind you that your presentation should conclude.
- Speakers must ensure that audio-visual material is of the highest standard. When projected on the screen, the subject matter must be legible from an 18m distance.
- Print out "Notes" pages to assist in your presentation but try to avoid simply reading these if possible. Also, try to avoid reading what is on the slides as this can often bore an audience.
- As a general guide the following font sizes for talks is recommended: Title of slide use minimum 32 point (36 or 40 better); Words on slide use minimum 20 point; Try not to include more than 8-10 lines of text on a slide and no more than 8-10 words on each line.
- Avoid complicated tables or figures. Use photos to illustrate.
- Include: a title slide listing the title, author(s) names and affiliations and a slide listing the plan of your talk (not more than 4-6 lines).
- Always consider your audience - what does the audience want from your talk and what are the one or two "take-home messages" you want them to leave with.
- Set your objectives - what key ideas do you want to get across? 
- Gather data, ideas and material - what is the content of your talk? 
- Arrange the data in a sequence that is clear, commands attention and is persuasive - what is the structure of your talk?
- Super-prepare your introduction and your conclusion to help you give a confident start and professional exit.
- Reinforce your "take-home" message in the conclusion.
- Prepare visuals to add impact to your presentation - diagrams and pictures are better than words. However, try not to have too many visual aids as this detracts from their impact. Plan to turn visuals off from time to time and return the attention of the audience to you.
- When using graphics, use *.jpg format for pictures and *.gif format for line art. This will significantly reduce the size of the files.

- Read through the talk you have prepared and rehearse the full presentation - use variation in voice and gesture, and be aware of body language.