Volz Award

2022 Zuyao Liu Chromosomal Fusions Facilitate Adaptation to Divergent Environments in Threespine Stickleback (best PhD thesis)
2022 Annika Freudiger Ecological variation drives morphological differentiation in a highly social vertebrate (best MSc thesis)
2020 Cas Retel The feedback between selection and demography shapes genomic diversity during coevolution (best PhD thesis)
2020 Maria Reyes Contreras Early-life manipulation of cortisol and ist receptor alters stress axis programming and social competence (best MSc thesis)
2018 Manon Schweinfurth Reciprocal Trading of Different Commodities in Norway Rats (best PhD thesis)
2018 Dario Bayani To pee or not to pee: urine signals mediate aggressive interactions in the cooperatively breeding cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher (best MSc thesis)
2016 David Marques Genomics of Rapid Incipient Speciation in Sympatric Threespine Stickleback (best PhD thesis)
2016 Laura Bruppacher Simple modifications of mowing regime promote butterflies in extensively managed meadows: Evidence from field-scale experiments (best MSc thesis)
2014 Joséphine Daub Evidence for polygenic adaptation to pathogens in the human genome (best PhD thesis)
2012 Michael Coslovsky Predation risk affects offspring growth via maternal effects (best PhD thesis)
2012 Julian Junker River fragmentation increases localized population genetic structure and enhances asymmetry of dispersal in bullhead (Cottus gobio) (best MSc thesis)
2010 Alexander Kotrschal Environmental change enhances cognitive abilities in fish (best PhD thesis)
2010 Benjamin Peter Distinguishing between population bottleneck and population subdivision by a Bayesian model choice procedure (best MSc thesis)
2008 Sabine Fink Mammalian monogamy is not controlled by a single gene (beste Dissertation)
2008 Thomas Sattler Ecological niche modelling of two cryptic bat species calls for a reassessment of their conservation status (beste Diplomarbeit)
2006 Nicole Bender The relationship between social status, behaviour, growth and steroids in male helpers and breeders of a cooperatively breeding cichlid (beste Dissertation)
2006 Seraina Klopfstein The fate of mutations surfing on the wave of a range expansion (beste Diplomarbeit)
2004 Pierre Bize Adoption as an offspring stagegy to reduce ectoparasite exposure (beste Dissertation)
2004 Rahel Howald Evaluation of Bt oilseed rape on the non-target herbivore Athalia rosae (Diplomarbeit)
2004 Birgit Reichhart Staphylinidae and Carabidae overwintering in wheat and sown wildflower areas of different age (Diplomarbeit)
2002 Jürg Friedli Synergistic interactions and biological weed control (beste Dissertation)
2002 Barbara Tschirren Proximate mechanisms of variation in the carotenoid-based plumage coloration of nestling great tits (Parus major L.) (beste Diplomarbeit)
2000 Dominique Schenk A monoclonal antibody to the shield beetle Cassida rubiginosa (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae): A tool for predator gut analysis
2000 Claudia Zwahlen Tritrophic interactions of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis corn, Anaphotrips obscurus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) and the predator Orius majusculus (Heteroptera: Anthocoridae)
1998 Karin Loeffel Auensukzession im Rottensand (VS): Wiederbesiedlung der Überschwemmungsflächen durch Wildbienen (Hymenoptera, Apoidea)
1996 Carlo Largiadèr The role of natural and artificial propagation of the genetic diversity of brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) of the upper Rhône drainage
1996 Lorenz Heer Zur sozialen Organisation und Brutbiologie der Alpenbraunelle (Prunella collaris)
1994 Dr. Urs Schaffner Interactions between Veratrum album L. and its herbivores: Prospects of biological control of this native weed
1992 Claus Wedekind Detailed information about parasites revealed by sex ornamentation.
1992 David Jenny Bruterfolg und Bestandesregulation einer alpinen Population des Steinadlers Aquila chrysaetos
1992 Fredy Vetter Faunistisch-ökologische Untersuchungen zur Laufkäfer-Fauna (Coleoptera, Carabidae) ausgewählter Standorte im Kanton Luzern
1990 Dr. Ambros Hänggi Die Spinnenfauna der Feuchtgebiete des Grossen Moos, Kt. Bern - 1. Faunistische Daten
1990 Dr. Jan Ryser Weight loss, reproduction output, and the cost of reproduction in the common frog, Rana temporaria
1990 Monika Frey Brutbiologie des Hänflings Carduelis cannabina unter den Einflüssen des Gebirgsklimas
1988 Dr. Manfred Zimmermann Die Larven der schweizerischen Gerris-Arten (Hemiptera, Gerridae)

History of the Volz Award

The Bernese zoologist Dr Walter Volz, collected fauna samples during his several trips from Africa and Asia to the Pacific region between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. As a result of his research, he published about the fish of Sumatra (1903), about the ostracods of "India, Sumatra, and Java as well as the Hawaiian Islands" (1906), and about the "ostracodes of Sumatra, Java, Siam, Sandwich Islands, and Japan" (1906). Walter Volz died on April 7, 1907, in Africa. Shortly before, in his will, he bequeathed 2,000 francs to the canton of Bern for the benefit of the Zoological Institute, to which he attached the following obligation:

"The interest of two years is to be used as a price for the best publication at the institute, primarily on Swiss fauna."

The Government Council of the Canton of Bern accepted this legacy at its meeting on June 3, 1908, in Government Council Minutes No. 2772. As a result, the prize has been advertised regularly, and the Zoological Institute professors selected the best candidates based on suggestions or self-applications.

Volz’s legacy contained a few curious provisions, which have been modified since. For example, the prize no longer corresponds to the interest of two years but was increased to CHF 1000 (2x 500 CHF each for the best MSc/PhD thesis). Originally, “German pharmacists, dentists, and veterinarians” were explicitly excluded from the award ceremony. Presumably, Dr. Volz had had bad experiences with these professional groups. However, it is unknown whether there were ever any applications from these professions. The award-winning article was initially intended to be published in the Revue Suisse de Zoologie. However, since this journal has lost its status as an outstanding zoological publication over the decades, the selection jury now pays particular attention to ensuring that the work to be honored has been “well” published, with no restriction on the specific journal. The jury no longer consists of the full professors of botany, geology, and zoology (initially three professors) but of the board of directors of the Institute for Ecology and Evolution (7 professors). The award ceremony has been held publicly for several years, and the award winners present their work in a lecture.

In Spring 2024, the next Award Ceremony will be held as part of a newly established IEE Symposium.