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‘A true great of freshwater ecology’: Professor Brian Moss passes away

June 13, 2016

Professor Brian Moss. Image: University of Liverpool

On 27th May 2016, Professor Brian Moss – one of the most influential figures in modern freshwater ecology – sadly passed away.  Regarded as a world-authority in shallow lake ecology, Moss was for many years the Professor of Botany at the University of Liverpool, before retiring in 2008.

Born in 1943 in Stockport, he spent early years exploring the landscape of the Peak District before undertaking undergraduate studies and a PhD in Botany supervised by Frank Round at the University of Bristol, and research overseas in Malawi and Michigan, USA.

Moss wrote over 244 publications in his distinguished career, including Ecology of Fresh Waters, published in 1980, which became a key textbook for an overview of freshwater ecology concepts, used by generations of students.  Moss was known as a generous and inspirational teacher, a superb communicator and popular speaker (you can watch him lead a chorus of ‘Mud, Glorious Mud’ with a group of undergraduate zoologists here)

Moss was President of the British Phycological Society, Vice-President of the British Ecological Society and President of the International Association for Limnology. He was awarded the Association’s Naumann-Thienemann Medal in 2007 and the 2009 International Institute of Ecology Prize for excellence in ecology.

The result of the latter prize was a book entitled Liberation Ecology (2012). His University of Liverpool colleague Rob Marrs describes the unique book as “a scientific textbook written for the general public, using parallels in religion, art, music, and his mother–in-law’s washing line to get over complex issues of ecology and environment.”

In 2010 Moss was awarded the Institute of Ecology and Environment Management’s Medal for his lifelong contribution to the study of freshwater ecology. Moss was a committed advocate for environmental science and conservation, often emphasising the power of the individual and the community in catalysing positive change, but also had a wide range of other interests, particularly playing the double bass.

Two tributes from his friends and colleagues Professor Rob Marrs (here) and Professor Ken Irvine (here) give full insights into a life extremely well-lived.

Brian Moss, freshwater ecologist: July 6th 1943 to May 27th 2016.

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