The Wonderful Biology of Bryophytes

The Linnean Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BF, United Kingdom
02074344479 ext 211

LUNCHTIME LECTURE 12:30–13:00 Wednesday 6 November 2019

Orthotrichum anomalum
© Jeff Duckett

This presentation explores the biology of the second most speciose group of land plants; mosses, liverworts and hornworts. Understanding their biology is the key to explaining how plants colonised land 480 million years ago. Despite their small size, a feature linked to poikilohydry, the ability to withstand desiccation, they are vital to many terrestrial ecosystems, with the bog moss Sphagnum containing 6% of the world’s carbon. Bryophytes are important indicators of air quality, with London as a particularly good barometer. After mass extinctions due to coal-burning, the conurbation’s bryophytes are increasing consequent on emissions from car exhausts.

Jeff will also be hosting a field trip to Hampstead Heath after the event. Registration for this is essential. Registering for the field trip automatically books a place for the talk.

Prof Jeff Duckett FLS was awarded the 2008 Linnean Medal in Botany for his eclectic research on the biology and evolution of land plants. His ongoing research projects at the Natural History Museum, include unravelling the key role of fungal symbioses in plant terrestrialization, the evolution of stomata and the effects of pollutants from traffic on London’s mosses and liverworts.

  • This event is free and open to all.
  • Doors will open at 12:15.
  • Tea will be served in the Library following the event.


  • Participants will need to wear robust footwear, bring hand lenses (if they have them) and newspaper packets for collecting.
  • We will be taking public transport from the Society leaving at 13:30 to get to the Hampstead Heath.
  • Any questions please email

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