Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum attends Department of Biology launch

The University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum was delighted to be part of the official launch of the new University of Oxford Biology Department, held in the beautiful Atrium of the Weston Library on 29 September. 

The event was held to celebrate the coming together of the Zoology and Plant Sciences departments into one overarching department, and was attended by staff, students, business partners and donors with plenty of opportunity for the newly merged departments to network.

Director of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum, Professor Simon Hiscock, and Deputy Director Dr Chris Thorogood, joined members of the Evolutionary Biology and Behaviour and Biomechanics research sections to display and discuss their research with guests. 

Professor Hiscock took a plant of Oxford ragwort (Senecio squalidus), which together with its Sicilian parental species, S. aethnensis and S. chrysanthemifolius, has been a major focus of his research on hybrid speciation for over 20 years.

Dr Thorogood attracted attention with his research display - a paddling pool containing the leaf of a giant Amazonian waterlily (Victoria cruziana) grown at the Botanic Garden – to demonstrate its incredible load-bearing capacity, as shown in his recent cross-disciplinary research; the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Louise Richardson was keen to learn more!

Professor Hiscock said: “We were delighted to have been part of the celebrations to launch the new Department of Biology, and to share some of our research with colleagues and guests. The merging of the former Departments of Plant Sciences and Zoology will foster excellent new opportunities for interdisciplinary and collaborative research across the biological sciences.”


Photography: John Cairns/Department of Biology