Young Systematists’ Forum (#YSF2020)

Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th November 2020

The annual Young Systematists’ Forum represents an exciting setting for postgraduate students and early postdoctoral researchers to present their work, often for the first time, to a scientific audience interested in taxonomy, systematics and phylogenetics. This well-established event provides an opportunity for budding systematists to discuss their research in front of their peers within a supportive environment. Supervisors and other established systematists are also encouraged to attend.

To make the most of the possibilities of a virtual conference the 2020 edition of the Young Systematists’ Forum was held over two days, Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th November 2020. In total, 300 young systematists from 43 countries participated in the event, which made it an absolute success.

Prizes were awarded for the best oral and poster presentations as judged by a small panel during the conference:


1st Prize – Mya Bhone Maw, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. “Taxonomic studies on Begonia (Begoniaceae) in Myanmar: new discoveries in Northern Myanmar”.

2nd Prize – Adriá Bellvert, University of Barcelona, Spain. “Nature or nurture? Convergent evolution in predation traits in Dysdera spiders of the Canary Islands”.

3rd Prize (shared) – Arsham Nejad Kourki, University of Bristol, UK. “The Ediacaran Dickinsonia is a stem-eumetazoan” & Rodolfo Probst, University of Utah, USA. “Speculating on evolutionary determinism. Myrmelachista ants (Hymenoptera) as a case of extreme convergent evolution”.


1st prize – Julia Faillace-Thiesen, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France. “Molecular phylogeny of the genus Palisota Rchb. ex Endl. (Commelinaceae).

2nd prize – Francis Nge, University of Adelaide, Australia. “Southern hemisphere biogeography of Pomaderreae (Rhamnaceae) in Australasia”.

3rd Prize – Annie Gwilt, University of Wolverhampton, UK. “Mitogenomic by-products: systematics of Seychelles caecilian amphibians from nontarget mitochondrial reads”.

Programme and Posters


Any questions? Please contact us at

The conference was organised by Ellinor Michel (Natural History Museum London), Karen Siu Ting (Queen’s University Belfast), Yvette Harvey (Royal Horticultural Society Garden), Katie Collins (Natural History Museum London) and Pablo Muñoz-Rodríguez (University of Oxford) with the support of The Systematics Association Council.


Would you like to sponsor future editions? Please contact Ellinor Michel.