Charles Darwin Award and Marsh Prize

This Award is presented in partnership with the Zoological Society of London and recognises the best zoological project by an undergraduate student attending a university in Great Britain or Northern Ireland.

The projects are judged by a panel of experts from the ZSL, who then select the winning study.

The Zoological Society of London is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity whose mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats.

(2013 Awards were presented in 2014)

The 2013 winner is Mark Scherz

Mark Scherz, pictured right, has won this Award for his project: ‘The paraphyly of ratites just doesn’t fly.’ This project addresses an important and interesting problem, in trying to address the controversy surrounding the evolution of flightlessness in ratite birds with the use of molecular data.

In his project, Mark uses aspects of molecular data and carefully teases apart sources of conflicting material in existing literature. The need to use such data carefully, in order to benefit from its many advantages, is widespread throughout zoology, evolution and systematics. This particular thesis represents a model study in how to do such molecular analyses.

The study is well-structured and argued, and the methodology and results are well documented and presented. The project produces a balanced discussion based on the complicated array of possibilities, in interpreting the variety of theories on the evolutionary development of the species. The discussion contains a number of important ideas for further analysis and additional data that would be required in future work on this topic.


The Zoological Society of London
Regent's Park



Previous Winners:

2012 Katrina Spensley

2011 Marius Wenzel

2010 Rudi Verspoor

2009 Haihan Tan