Call for Abstracts and Registration Information

Registration is now open, and we are accepting abstracts for oral and poster presentations for the 41st Annual Gopher Tortoise Council Meeting.

The theme for this year’s meeting is “Thinking outside the burrow: Conserving the iconic gopher tortoise through partnerships, habitat management and research” to be held at The Lodge at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama from November 15-17, 2019.

  • In addition to presentations about gopher tortoise biology, we welcome presentations on:
  • commensals and other species associated with tortoises and southeastern upland habitats
  • general ecology of upland pine ecosystems
  • habitat management and restoration
  • conservation initiatives
  • policy, regulation, or economics
  • monitoring and field techniques
  • Successful and creative partnerships conserving Gopher Tortoises, habitat, or associated species

Instructions for Submitting Abstracts (Oral Presentations and Posters):

The deadline for submitting abstracts is September 30, 2019. Abstracts should be 300 words or less and conform to the general style of Journal of Wildlife Management abstract format (see sample abstract below). The name, affiliation, address, and email of the corresponding author should be provided with the abstract. Please indicate if you wish to present an oral or poster presentation.  Abstracts must be submitted in MS Word. Please submit abstracts via e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Presentations will be strictly limited to 20 minutes, including 3-5 minutes for questions. An LCD projector will be provided. Overheads and 35 mm slides are not acceptable. Posters should be no larger than 48” x 36.”

**Attention Students:

Student presentation awards are given for the top three student oral presentations at the annual meeting. Please indicate clearly in your abstract submission if you are a undergraduate or graduate student so that you can be considered for this award.

If you wish to be in the random drawing to receive one of three Bob Herrington Student Travel Grants of $100 each, then send an email to Jeff Goessling (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by September 30 indicating that you would like to be considered for a travel grant.  Be sure to include your location and University affiliation. To be eligible, you must be giving an oral or poster presentation and traveling > 60 miles to attend the meeting,. 


Sample Abstract:

The Effects of Fish Size on Net Energy Intake of Snowy Egrets

  • Toobee R. Estord (Everglades Division, South Florida Water Management District, 3301 Gun Club Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33406)
  • Mork Ritters (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 3200 T. M. Goodwin Road, Fellsmere, FL 32948)

Draining wetlands reduces their hydroperiod and causes a shift in the size structure of the fish community toward smaller and younger fish. Reduced fish size could potentially impact snowy egrets (Egretta thula) if it reduced their net energy intake. We tested the hypothesis ... MAXIMUM 300 WORDS.



Registration costs include on-site refreshment breaks, Friday night social (dinner + 2 drink tickets (beer/wine)… a cash bar will also be available), and Sunday field trip.

Registration options for the 2019 Annual GTC meeting are as follows:

  • Early-bird (through Oct. 28):
    Student $90.00 ($105.00 including membership)
    Professional $140.00 ($165.00 including membership)

    GTC Annual Meeting Registration

  • Regular (after Oct. 28):
    Student $115.00 ($130.00 including membership)
    Professional $160.00 ($185.00 including membership)

  • Saturday, November 16th Special Session (during lunch): GTC Volunteer Training -
    GTC Education Committee is actively seeking volunteers who are interested in sharing their passion for the gopher tortoise with others. GTC recognizes the importance of providing training, materials and supplies to our volunteers who engage with the public to conduct education and outreach so that they are confident in what they are speaking about and have an enjoyable experience. Your success is GTCs success! PRE-REGISTRATION IS MANDATORY!

    Who should register for this special session? If you enjoy working with the public, are passionate about gopher tortoises and their habitat, reliable and are willing to make a commitment to help at events that are close to you, then please register for this special session! There is a small cost of $5.00 to help cover lunch. We need an accurate head count so that we can prepare materials and supplies for you to take with you after the training.
    The GTC Education Committee special session will occur onsite Saturday, November 16, 2019 during the lunch break to train those individuals who are interested in becoming a GTC Volunteer.
    If you have questions, contact Jessica McGuire at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Rachael Sulkers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    GTC Volunteer Training
    Email Address

  • Saturday, November 16th Poster Session & Awards Dinner (The Lodge at Gulf State Park) $25.00 – includes dinner and 1-hour open bar (after which a cash bar will be available).

    Saturday Dinner and Social

  • Sunday, November 17th Tour de Park (Bicycle Ride Field Trip):  Gators, Gopher Tortoises, Eagles and much more! November is a beautiful time of year to experience one of Alabama’s most treasured gems - Gulf State Park!  Join Gulf State Park’s Naturalist, Kelly Reetz and DWFF, Wildlife Biologist Roger Clay, for a guided leisurely 7-mile bike ride around the park on paved trails where we have planned stops to learn about the park, Native American History, and many wildlife species that call this area home. Pre-registration is REQUIRED at the registration desk as space is limited to 30 people.

    Details: Field Trip is approximately 3 hours beginning at the Camp Store, located in the campground. Weather Permitting.  Please dress accordingly for this activity by wearing comfortable layers and closed toed shoes. Don’t forget your water bottle! We need to stay hydrated… even in the fall! If you already have planned to bring your own bike, that is fine too! We look forward to showcasing and teaching you about the rich and beautiful diversity found in this area!

GTC Membership

Please don’t forget to renew your membership or become a member of the GTC if you are not including it in your registration fees! See


Follow this link to reserve on-site lodging at The Lodge at Gulf State Park. The Lodge at Gulf State Park will fill up fast so book early!

The Lodge at Gulf State Park is a Hilton property for those who are Hilton Honors members. We obtained a reduced room rate of $125 per night (plus taxes and fees) but you must reserve a room before October 22 to receive the reduced rate. The Lodge at Gulf State Park will honor the reduced room rate 2 days prior to the meeting and 2 days after the meeting for those who want to increase their stay at the beautiful Alabama coast. 

Driving directions to The Lodge at Gulf State Park:

There are several other hotels available in the Gulf Shores area if The Lodge at Gulf State Park fills up.

The nearest campground is the ADCNR Gulf State Park Campground which offers camp sites, cabins and cottages. To make online reservations follow the link at Phone: 251.948.7275. Address: 20115 State Highway 135, Gulf Shores, AL 36542. BOOK EARLY as camp sites, cabins and cottages fill up fast and many months in advance.


  • Dining – The Lodge at Gulf State Park offers on site dining options. Breakfast and lunch each day are on your own and are not included in your meeting registration fee. Dining options include:
    • Food Craft serves freshly prepared cuisine utilizing sustainable, locally sourced ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Friday breakfast buffet 6:30am – 11:00am and Saturday and Sunday brunch buffet 7:00am – 2:00pm. Lunch hours are 11:00am – 2:00pm for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
    • Roasted Oak Coffee and Wine Bar is a modern café bar, located in the main lobby of The Lodge. Enjoy a selection of locally crafted coffees, infused teas, house-baked breakfast goods and light lunch offerings. In the evening, Roasted Oak transforms into a local wine bar featuring a carefully selected wines, craft beers and lite bites. Open daily 6:00 am - 10:00 pm
    • Perch is open for dinner only 4:00pm – 11:00pm.
  • The Lodge at Gulf State Park is a smoke free property. You are not permitted to smoke in any area on the property including (but not limited to) balconies and parking lot.
  • Parking – there is a $5.00 a day (plus tax) self-parking fee. Valet parking is also available at $10.00 a day.
  • WiFi/Internet – there is a $6.00 a day (plus tax) WiFi fee.

Additional Information

TWS Certified Wildlife Biologist® continuing education credits will be available.

Conference T-shirts

Our T-shirt campaign is NOW LIVE!   Our meeting T-shirts can be ordered now through OCT 6.  We have a variety of colors and styles to choose from. Click here to place your order.  



For more information contact Ericha Nix, GTC Co-chair and host for this year’s meeting (334.242.3862; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Hope to see you all in November!