Bryozoa and Entoprocta collections

A Bryozoa against a black background

The Natural History Museum holds the most significant collection of Bryozoa in the world, of which about 30% represents type material. 

Our Bryozoa collections include those from eminent naturalists Dr George Johnston, George Busk, Rev. Thomas Hincks, Canon Alfred Merle Norman, Arthur Waters, Charles Darwin, Charles Lyell, Joseph Hooker, John Bowerbank John Bracebridge Wilson, John Gilchrist and Cyril Crossland. 

More recently, important collections have been added by Peter Hayward, John Ryland, Paul Taylor and Mary Spencer Jones.

Highlighted holdings in the collection include the oldest known bryozoan collection from Japan, collected in the 1860s, and substantial collections from the Dutch Siboga Expedition to Indonesia. The freshwater bryozoan Phylactolaematida collections of Charles Rousselet and H.E. Hurrell are also significant.

There are three special collections housed independently within the Bryozoa collection. These are comprised of around 2,600 boxes and herbarium sheets, volume 2.89m3.

  • Dr George Johnston: Focused specifically on UK material from Johnston’s publications between 1842-1847.
  • British Museum Catalogue collection: George Busk published three volumes in 1852, 1854, 1875. He was sent or obtained material from many of the most famous expeditions and Victorian naturalists, including Edward Forbes, Charles Darwin, the Hookers, David Landsborough and Mrs Gatty. 
  • The HMS Challenger bryozoan collection: George Busk published two reports in 1884 and 1886. Arthur Waters completed a supplementary report in 1890.

Bryozoans are colonial animals, so it's difficult to estimate the number of specimens in the collection.



Collection strengths:

  • Antarctic, Arctic, Atlantic, Australian and New Zealand material.
  • Freshwater material.

Important historical collections

  • George Johnston collection
  • George Busk collection
  • Charles Darwin collection
  • Edward Forbes collection
  • David Landsborough collection
  • Thomas Hincks collection
  • Alfred Merle Norman collection
  • Cyril Crossland collection
  • Charles O’Donoghue collection
  • Peter Hayward collection
  • John Ryland collection


  • HMS Challenger (global oceanographic mission 1872-1876)
  • HMS Rattlesnake (Southwest Pacific)
  • HMS Alert (South America and South Pacific)
  • HMS Porcupine (UK waters 1868-1870)
  • HMS Beagle (global expedition 1831-1836)
  • HMS Discovery (Antarctic Iivestigations 1925-1928)
  • Terra Nova expedition (Antarctica 1910-1913)
  • Siboga expedition (1899-1900)
  • Great Barrier Reef Lowe Isles expedition (1928-1929)
  • John Murray expedition (Arabian Sea 1933-1934)

Looking for a specimen?

This collection is being digitised

Principle curator

Mary Spencer Jones

If you would like to use any specimens for research, please get in touch

Principal Curator in Charge, Invertebrates (non-insects)

Dr Lauren Hughes

If you would like to use any specimens for research, please get in touch

Specialist reference library

Harmer Library

Collections on the move

Access to some collections will be affected as we prepare for the move to our new collections, science and digitisation centre.

Accessing the collections

Scientists and collections management specialists can visit the collections and borrow specimens for research.

Collections management

Our duty is to provide a safe and secure environment for all of our collections.