Focus: Bryophytes and Pteridophytes

Focus: Bryophytes and Pteridophytes

Field Museum bryologists have broad research interests that include systematics, biogeography, conservation, and education outreach. Geographical strengths include the Midwest U.S.A., Australasia and Oceania, and southern South America.

The bryology program gratefully acknowledges support in recent years from the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, Encyclopedia of Life, the Global Biological Information Facility, and Conservation International.

    mvonkonrat's picture

    Matthew Von Konrat

    Head of Botanical Collections; McCarter Collections Manager, Bryophytes and Pteridophytes Gantz Family Collections Center

Focus: Bryophytes and Pteridophytes Collections

Botany Specimens

Botany is the scientific study of plants and fungi. Scientists in the Department of Botany at The Field Museum are interested in learning why there are so many different plants and fungi in the world, how this diversity is distributed across the globe and how best to classify it, and what important roles these organisms play in the environment and in human cultures.

Botany Taxonomy

Presently, the Taxonomy module holds a complete classification for higher fungi and lichens (Ascomycota, Basidiomycota), liverworts (Marchantiphyta), and hornworts (Anthocerophyta), from genus up to division/phylum level, and a partial classification for mosses (Bryophyta), ferns and their relatives (Pteridophyta), and seed plants (Spermatophyta), up to family level.


Liverworts, mosses, and hornworts - technically referred to as bryophytes  - are considered to be a pivotal group in our understanding of the origin of land plants because they are believed to be among the earliest diverging lineages. Bryophytes are ecologically significant, contributing to nutrient cycles, forming a major component of forest canopy humus, and are effective rainfall interceptors that add to hill stability and help to prevent soil erosion.