Jahresbericht 2022 für

SSS: Swiss Systematics Society

Präsident/Präsidentin: Seraina Klopfstein

Von: Seraina Klopfstein, seraina.klopfstein@bs.ch


The year 2023 once more saw an edition of the National Day of Natural History Collections, including “Fantastic Stories”, which this time were told by school classes. This outreach project was financed by ScNat and by AGORA (SNF) and included natural history museums and botanical gardens from all over Switzerland.


Before our annual scientific meeting, on Thursday 3 November, Julien Clavel organized a workshop on multivariate evolutionary models. The scientific meeting itself took place on Friday 4. November 2022 at the botanical garden in Geneva and featured seven talks by our members (including four students) and an invited lecture by Julien Clavel (University of Lyon).


The New Species Swiss Made of 2022 was a beautiful mushroom from the Iberian Peninsula.


Last year, we sent out two newsletters to our members (numbers 46 and 47), sent out in March and September. Jean Mariaux once more compiled these newsletters with the usual wit and creativity.

Tagungen / Kurse

The SSS supported the Biology22 meeting in Basel on February 17-18. Two keynote lectures were most notable from a systematics perspective: Allison Daley (University of Lausanne), who talked about arthropod evolution in the Cambrian, and Isabel Sanmartin (Real Jardin Botanico de Madrid), who introduced forthcoming models for biogeography and evolutionary biology.


Like every even year, the annual meeting of the society was preceded by a workshop on November 3rd, which this time was led by Julien Clavel from the University of Lyon. He demonstrated the application of multivariate evolutionary models, with which we can for instance test phylogenetic trees for the impact of environmental variables, such as past climate changes, or of morphological characters, including morphometrics. He demonstrated the application of two R packages that contain a plethora of functions useful for such analyses: RPANDA and mvMORPH. The workshop attracted 20 participants and was very well received.


Our annual meeting on November 4th at the Botanical Garden in Geneva started with an invited lecture by Julien Clavel, which demonstrated various applications of the tools he had taught at the workshop the day before. It continued with presentations by our members on various taxa, from plant to bats, and various methods, from barcoding and species delimitation to phylogenomics and biogeography. Serafin Streiff from the University of Basel presented his winning master thesis on “Revisiting the taxonomy of Connaraceae with herbarium phylogenomics to gain insights into their floral evolution and biogeography”. The day was rounded off by a guided tour through the herbaria of the garden.


Once more, we aimed to encourage young systematists through three actions in 2022. The student travel grant supported four students to travel to international conferences and one student, for the first time, to visit an international natural history collection, in this case the herbaria at the botanical garden in Paris. Second, we reimbursed train tickets to the annual meeting by students, as every year. Third, the award for the best master thesis in systematics went to Serafin Streiff, who presented it at the annual meeting.

Dialog mit der Gesellschaft

Our outreach project “fantastic stories” included two main parts: short videos with an associated competition (both online) on one hand, and the national day of natural history collections (“collections day”) on the other. The collections day took place on 20th November 2022 in 17 museums and botanical gardens all over Switzerland.

This time we invited school classes to invent a fake story about an object from our collection. They could then decide if they wanted to tell this fake story themselves in a video, or if they preferred telling the true story and making the curator or collection manager lie to the camera. The general public could then guess which story was true and which one was false, in an online competition on www.fantasticstories.ch. An example of an outcome can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HrDgrKaX3E – and many more are available via the webpage.  

The activity was supported by the AGORA funding scheme of the Swiss National Science Foundation and by ScNat.


Like every year, we collected new species described by researchers at Swiss institutions in 2022 and listed them on our webpage. From this list, which included 99 species last year, our members chose their favourite at our annual meeting. From the plant lice, fossil moss bugs, catfishes, mantids, fossil coelacanths, moths, amoeba, fossil carnivores, and many more, they chose a beautiful fungus found on the Iberian peninsula. The New Species Swiss Made 2022 was announced in January 2023 with a press release, which received quite some spread.