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Helen P. Ramsay AM

Honorary Research Associate (Bryology)
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I began my research studying chromosome behaviour and numbers in plant families including Proteaceae; later pioneering cytological investigation on mosses in Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Canada. My areas of research expanded to cytotaxonomy and general studies on mosses involving collaboration with specialists from overseas with assistance from ABRS (Australian Biological Resources Study) grants. The Flora of Australia Project under the Australian Biological Resources Study in Canberra led to further taxonomic revisions and publications including contributions to the first volume on Australian Mosses.

 It has always been my aim to advance knowledge of bryophytes particularly mosses and their significance in rainforests. The establishment of the Australasian Bryological Newsletter as co-author with Patricia Selkirk at Macquarie University has helped bring attention to Bryophyte studies in the wider botanical community.  Since my retirement, publications dealing with the distribution and taxonomy of mosses in Australia and more detailed studies such as work on Mosses of the Wet Tropics of Northeast Queensland is improving our knowledge of Australian mosses. Continued collaboration with overseas and Australian researchers enables me to continue my research.

Research Projects

  • Studies on Wet Tropics Mosses with Andi Cairns (JCU Townsville) and David Meagher (MEL)
  • Recent Taxonomic Revisions for the Flora of Australia include Bruchiaceae and Trematodon with RD Seppelt (TAS, now QLD) and AJ Downing (MQU) ; Hypnaceae with Z. Iwatsuki (Japan) and Neils Klazenga (MEL); Bryaceae with JR Spence (USA).
  • Updating of Mosses Online for families Sematophyllaceae, Pylasiadelphaceae, Orthotrichaceae and Bryaceae is expected to begin this year.
  • Contributions of identified specimens from the various projects have been added to the collections available for study at the National Herbarium of New South Wales. In earlier years, I assisted in the packaging the early moss collections of W.W. Watts.

Publication highlights

In addition to studies for Mosses Online for the Flora of Australia over many years, here are some of the latest publications that report new information:

Cairns A, Meagher D, Ramsay HP (2019) A revised checklist of the moss flora of the Australian Wet Tropics. Telopea 22: 1-30.
Iwatsuki Z, Ramsay HP, Fife A (2009) A new genus Austrohondaella (Bryopsida: Hypnaceae) from Australasia. Telopea 12: 361-369.
Ramsay HP (2010) Scanning electron microscope studies onfour species of Ulota
from Australia. Botany 88: 1-4.
Ramsay HP, Meagher D, Cairns A ( 2017) Macromitrium erythrocomum (Bryophyta: Orthotrichaceae) a new species from tropical Queensland, Australia. Telopea 20: 261-268.
Ramsay HP, Seppelt RD, Downing AJ (2018). Additional notes and sporophyte descriptions for Mesochaete (Bryopsida : Aulacomniaceae). Telopea 21 : 1-8
Ramsay HP, RD Seppelt RD, Downing AJ (2018) Trematodon (Bryopsida: Bruchiaceae): unravelling the conundrum. Telopea 21:101-119.
Spence JR, Ramsay HP (2013). Additions and nomenclatural changes in the Bryaceae. Telopea:  15:143-148.


Queen's Birthday Honours List 2019: Dr Helen Patricia Ramsay awarded Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to plant science.