Plant speciation

11th New Phytologist Symposium

Post-meeting updates

Plant speciation logo


A meeting report entitled 'Speciation – a rebirth' by Alex Buerkle was published in October 2003. 


In January 2004 a special issue entitled 'Plant speciation' was published.

To read the table of contents and download the articles visit:


Thank you to all organisers, speakers, and delegates who helped to make the 11th NPS a great success. We will continue to update the site with related information.

Managing Editor, New Phytologist


Coyne and Orr (1989) lamented that students of speciation were viewed “as evolutionary biologists' poor cousins, doomed to eternal speculation about untestable theories.” Fortunately, things have changed dramatically over the past decade. Advances in genetics, molecular biology, phylogeny reconstruction and theory have led to a renaissance in speciation studies.

The field has attracted numerous new empiricists and theorists, and major advances have been made along several fronts. Examples include elucidation of ecological character shifts associated with speciation, identification of genes that contribute to reproductive isolation, documentation of the porosity of reproductive barriers, new insights into genetic and genomic consequences of different modes of speciation, and the re-creation of naturally occurring species in the lab or greenhouse. Many of these advances have been particularly gratifying to plant scientists, because they confirm long-held hypotheses about the nature of plant species and speciation.

The goal of this 11th New Phytologist Symposium is to highlight areas of plant speciation where considerable progress has been made or is likely in the near future and to relate these discoveries to the work of early students of plant speciation, particularly Verne Grant. Perhaps no other scientist has contributed more to our understanding of plant speciation or influenced more plant evolutionists, young and old. To honour his many empirical discoveries, conceptual advances, and masterful syntheses of the speciation literature, the symposium is commemoratively named after his most famous book, Plant Speciation.