Congratulations to Postgraduate Odysseus Archontikis who has received the Tyge Christensen Prize

Congratulations to Postgraduate Odysseus Archontikis who has received the Tyge Christensen Prize

A paper published in 2021 with postgraduate student Odysseus Archontikis as first author has received the Tyge Christensen Prize this year. The Prize is awarded annually for the best paper published in Phycologia during the previous year by The International Phycological Society (IPS).

The Tyge Christensen Prize was first announced in 1997 (Phycologia 36: 1) to honour the memory of the late Professor Tyge Christensen of the University of Copenhagen, former IPS President. The 60 papers published in Phycologia in 2021 (Volume 60) were evaluated by a panel of 7 judges and the winning paper was chosen based on the scientific significance, originality of the subject matter or techniques, comprehensiveness and clarity of presentation.

The 2021 Tyge Christensen Prize is awarded to Odysseus Archontikis and co-author Jeremy Young for their paper “A reappraisal of the taxonomy and biodiversity of the extant coccolithophore genus Palusphaera (Rhabdosphaeraceae, Prymnesiophyceae).” [Phycologia 60 (6): 589–602.].

In this study, the authors clarified species-level diversity of the coccolithophore genus Palusphaera. Prior to this study, there was only one formally described species in the genus, P. vandelii. Based on examination of material collected during numerous research cruises, the authors raise the number of described morphospecies to four: P. vandelii, P. probertii sp. nov., P. crosiae sp. nov. and P. bownii sp. nov. The results are based on the meticulous analyses of scanning electron microscope (SEM) images which revealed subtle but consistent differences among the species related to the structure and shape of the coccoliths and spines.

The paper in part was chosen as it was said that ‘Diagnostic features are exceptionally well-illustrated using high quality images and comparative tables detailing the ultrastructural differences. In addition, the authors provide solid evidence to consider Palusphaera a clearly diagnosable and taxonomically valid genus, well-differentiated from the other genera in the Rhabdosphaeraceae.’

Odysseus said of the award “I am truly over the Moon to receive such a great honour from the International Phycological Society for my article, and proud to be awarded a prize named after such a talented and renowned phycologist. It was only at the beginning of my DPhil studies, I first came across the name Tyge Christensen, reading through that “Latin translations of the descriptions of new taxa… were contributed by Dr. T. Christensen of Copenhagen…” from a publication of 1983 on coccolithophores. I am extremely grateful for the appreciation and deeply honoured that other, way more qualified, researchers have found a bit of potential in my work. I warmly thank my DPhil supervisory team, Univ and NERC-DTP for supporting my research.”

Link to the award announcement from which this article is edited –

Link to the open-access publication –