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Lower Plants in Nature


Ecology and Conservation Studies Society, Birkbeck Free Lecture series

Autumn 2016: six Friday evenings, 14th October to 18th November 2016., 18:30 to 20:00. Birkbeck, University of London, Lecture Theatre B34, downstairs at the Torrington Square entrance.

“Lower plants” is a term routinely used by botanists to include algae, bryophytes and ferns.  Here we are extending the definition to include lichens.  Species of some and, on occasion, all of these groups have a presence in most plant communities, where routinely seed plants are otherwise dominant.  That said, their presence is not always acknowledged by botanists in the field, often because of the need for expertise to identify them. The opportunity to engage with these interesting plants could be through joining the relevant British Societies, for example the British Lichen Society.  In this lecture series we will cover something of the basic botany of these Lower Plant groups and will emphasize their place in various plant communities, both in the British Isles and on a more world-wide scale.


Oct 14th How plants got onto land. Prof Jeff Duckett, Emeritus Professor of Botany, Queen Mary University of London and Natural History Museum, London, Life Sciences, Research associate.

Oct 21st Bryophytes. Silvia Pressel, Natural History Museum. Bryophytes slides

Oct 28th Ferns. Fred Rumsey, Natural History Museum.  Ferns slides

Nov 4th Lichens - life in extreme environments. Pat Wolseley, Natural History Museum.

Nov 11th Microalgae – a brief exploration of their hidden world and global significance. Prof. David John, Natural History Museum.

Nov 18th Benthic marine algae (seaweeds) of Kent: ecology, floristics and conservation. Ian Titley.

Download the reading list for the series: here

The free public lectures are in a series hosted by GEDS, Birkbeck University of London. They are suitable for those who may be considering, or undertaking, university courses in ecology, biological conservation or related subjects. They will interest environmental and ecological practitioners, natural historians, wildlife organisations and others with similar interests.

The lectures are supported by GEDS, Birkbeck University of London and would not be possible otherwise. They are organised and promoted by the Ecology and Conservation Studies Society.