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Poster Presentations

Posters are particularly well suited for presentations of complex and technical methods and/or results. Poster presentations allow the audience more time to digest complex information and promote discussion between presenters and their audience. Posters typically reach a wider audience than short talks because they are on display for several days following the formal poster session.  For examples, download Poster Presentations from past Annual Conferences (Members Only).

Presentations must be educational in nature and not actively promote any particular product, service, brand, or company.

Poster Construction Requirements

  • Each poster may occupy a space no more than 43” long and 40”high. Two posters occupy each side of the poster board (i.e., four posters per freestanding board).
  • The freestanding poster boards will be 8’ long and 4’ high; the bottom edge of the poster board is typically 30” above the floor. 
  • Posters may be affixed to the poster board using pushpins or Velcro. Pushpins will be provided.
  • Poster Format Requirements:
    • A title - recommended font = 72 pt
    • List of authors, and author affiliations – recommended font = 36-42 pt
    • Section or sub-title  headings – recommended font = 28-32 pt
    • Abstract (when applicable) – recommended font = 20-24 pt
    • Text, tables, and figures (when applicable) – recommended font = 24-32 pt
    • Acknowledgements and references cited (when applicable) – recommended font = 20-24 pt
  • Poster Presenters are expected to:
    • Be an author of the poster
    • Be prepared to provide expanded descriptions of the poster during the Poster Reception
    • Be an expert on the discipline and issues covered by the poster
    • Put up the poster between 7:00-9:30 am on Saturday, September 19th
    • Stand by the poster during the Poster Reception from 5:30-7:00 pm on Sunday, September 20th
    • It is recommended that presenters attach contact information below the poster for attendees interested in obtaining more information.

AZA requires that all poster presenters submit an electronic copy of their poster approximately three weeks prior to the Conference, before the poster has been printed.  More information regarding this deadline will be provided to approved poster presenters at a later date.

Categories for AZA Poster Judging

Presenters are asked to consider in which poster judging category their poster falls. 

Traditional Scientific Study

  • These posters present information based on a completed or in progress scientific project or investigation with measureable results/statistical analysis. 
  • These posters have clearly identified primary investigators.
  • These posters are presented using traditional scientific method categories:
    • Introduction
    • Question / Hypothesis
    • Methods
    • Results
    • Conclusion (if project or investigation is completed)
  • These posters will display the traditional scientific method categories within the poster format


  • These posters present information in a creative, informational, or illustrative manner.
  • These posters will typically not include a hypothesis or question.
  • These posters may not have clearly identified authors or primary investigators, but should identify at least one individual and his/her institution that had a major role in the project.
  • These posters present information that is not the result of classic scientific method and will not display the traditional scientific method categories within the poster format.
  • Photographs, graphs, diagrams, and other illustrative media will make up most of the content of these posters.

AZA Poster Evaluation Process and Criteria

Posters identified by presenters as Traditional Scientific Study posters will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  1. Title clearly stated and reflects project goals and objectives 
  2. Primary and secondary investigators/contributors identified
  3. Poster organized by scientific method (Introduction that states why this research is needed or useful, methods, results, conclusion) with titles of such clearly presented
  4. Poster information is formatted in a manner that allows for ease in reading (e.g., appropriate font size and style, color choice, amount of text, organization of poster elements)
  5. Graphs, photographs, and other illustrative media presented support the text and findings of the poster
  6. Results of project are valid and supported by information presented in poster
  7. Results have significance to zoo and aquarium community, AZA members, conservation of wild populations, and/or basic scientific knowledge.
  8. Overall presentation is audience appropriate*

Posters identified by presenters as Illustrative/Narrative/Descriptive posters will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  1. Title clearly reflects content or purpose of poster
  2. Presenters clearly identified
  3. Poster content organized in a manner that supports the poster objective 
  4. Poster information is presented in a manner that allows for ease of reading (e.g., appropriate font size and style, color choice)
  5. Illustrative media supports or compliments the text and content
  6. Creativity of presentation 
  7. Significance to zoo and aquarium community, AZA members, innovation or uniqueness of information presented
  8. Overall presentation is audience-appropriate*

*All poster presenters are urged to strongly consider the audience to which their poster will be presented. Poster Presentations are designed to share completed work, initiatives and collaboration successes, and various learning opportunities related to the professional zoo and aquarium community.  Please keep in mind that AZA professionals are from many different disciplines and backgrounds. All wish to learn from what the posters present. Carefully consider this when developing poster content.

AZA Poster Awards

Poster Awards will be given in the following areas:

  • Best Poster: Traditional Scientific Study
  • Best Poster: Illustrative/Narrative/Descriptive
  • Best in Presentation

The poster or poster(s) with the highest total score in each category will be awarded “Best Poster” for the category assigned the poster by the presenter.  All “Best Poster” posters from both categories will be considered for the Best in “Presentation Award”. “Best in Presentation” winner will be determined by the poster judges’ vote.  Poster Awards winners will be announced approximately 2 weeks after the end of the conference in CONNECT and on the AZA website.

Post-Conference Recognition

Following the Conference, Poster Presenters will be given the opportunity to post their presentation online for members to access.  This will give presenters an opportunity to share their findings with a larger audience and will give conference attendees a chance to find out more information on presentations.


Contact AZA’s Meeting Planner, Cheryl Wallen, cwallen@aza.org, 301-244-3347.

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