About the collections

The modern bryozoan collection dates mainly from around 1842 onwards, although there are a few herbarium specimens from circa 1700 and some earlier material in the Sloane Herbarium.

The collection is split up into five major taxonomic groups:

  1. Ctenostomata
  2. Cheilostomata
  3. Cyclostomata
  4. Phylactolaemata (freshwater)
  5. Entoprocta

A specialist library of supporting material enhances the value of the collection.

Bryozoan from Samuel Dale

One of the earliest specimens in the collection, collected by apothecary Samuel Dale (1659-1739). It is an example of the common bryozoan Flustra foliacea.


  • Approximately 500,000 lots of Bryozoa.
  • Unknown lots of Entoprocta.


  • The paper collection is mounted on herbarium sheets.
  • The slide collection is mounted on microscope slides made from a variety of materials such as glass and wood. Specimens are held dry, wet or embedded in Canada balsam.
  • Dry specimens are held mainly in glass-topped or polystrene boxes.
  • The wet collection is held in ground-glass jars or Danish glass jars.

Taxonomic coverage (high level)

All major recent bryozoan classes are covered: Gymnolaemata, Stenolaemata and Phylactolaemata (freshwater).

Geographic coverage

The collection covers all continents, including the Antarctic.

The collection has good British, European, Asiatic, Antarctic and Australasian collections. Material from Arctic Russia, China, USA and South America is poorly represented.

Research and display

Visitors from around the world use the collections for research projects such as:

There is one small shelf of bryozoans in the Marine Invertebrates Gallery of the Museum.