Upcoming Meetings

PROGRAMME for 2022

Please note that the March 2022 talk will be via Zoom only, but that we currently are hoping the May 2022 talk will also be in person at the Barley Mow (see note below May talk and watch this space).

Monday 16 May 2022 – 6.30 pm – Martin Stervander – The evolutionary history of a remarkable radiation of South Atlantic finches

Abstract: Ask anyone interested in birds for an example of adaptive radiations, and they will probably mention the Darwin’s Finches, the evolutionary rock stars of the Galápagos Islands. But did you know about the Nesospiza finches, endemic to Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic? Tristan is a small and very isolated archipelago comprising three islands, the two smaller of which are each home to both a small-bodied and small-billed generalist finch and a large-bodied and large-billed specialist finch that feeds exclusively on the seeds of an endemic island tree. But how are these four taxa related, and how did they evolve? And where do the extinct small-billed finches of the third, larger island fit into the picture? I will take you on a trip to the South Atlantic, to see what ecology and a whole lot of DNA detective work can reveal about this remarkable radiation.

Biography: Martin Stervander is a Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow at the Natural History Museum, where he currently does research on the genomic architecture of convergent evolution of flight loss in island rails (including the Inaccessible Island Rail, neighbour to the Nesospiza finches). Martin did his PhD on speciation in birds at Lund University (Sweden), followed by a postdoc at the University of Oregon (USA). While his main research is focused on understanding the evolutionary mechanisms of speciation and radiation as well as phenotypic convergence, his interests also comprise phylogenetics, taxonomy, and phylogeography. Martin is also an Associate Editor of Ibis and the Managing Editor of BirdLife Sweden’s ornithological journal Ornis Svecica, which—similarly to the Bulletin of the BOC—is available online, at https://os.birdlife.se.

This talk will be held as a hybrid meeting (both in person and online) register to attend this talk here.


The planned evening talk by Professor Jared Diamond, to be held in conjunction with the Linnean Society, on 5 June 2020 unfortunately had to be postponed because of restrictions resulting from the covid pandemic. We are aiming to re-arrange the talk for a date in late 2022.  Details will be announced as soon as available.