Historical significance

The Bryozoa and Entoprocta collections contain many type and historically important specimens.

The collection includes material from many major cruises such as Challenger, Alert and Discovery.

It also contains material from many renowned Victorian naturalists, such as:

  • Dr George Johnston
  • Dr George Busk
  • Charles Darwin
  • Edward Forbes
  • Joseph Dalton Hooker
  • James Bowerbank
  • Rev. Thomas Hincks
  • Canon Alfred Merle Norman

Growing the collection

Dr George Johnston (1797-1855) gave his bryozoan material to the Museum in 1847, making the first large donation to the collection. The donation contained many specimens that were listed in Johnston’s publications on British Zoophytes in 1838 and 1847. Museum curator John Edward Gray also listed the collection in his 'Catalogue of the Radiata' in 1848.

Large amounts of material gathered by eminent Victorian scientists joined the collection from 1850-1900. Specimens were also added to the collection as a result of a variety of expeditions and famous oceanographic voyages, such as HMS Challenger, HMS Rattlesnake and the Siboga Expedition.

Material from several research areas is also found in the collections, for example from the Discovery Investigations in Antarctica and more recently new material from around the British Isles and Antarctica.

A large proportion of the collection has type or figured status.



Type Specimen
A type specimen is the first of its species to be described and named. It is the key reference specimen - a unique voucher - to which the scientific name is attached.