Ida Bruggeman-Nannenga

Ida Bruggeman-Nannenga

I was born in 1944. As a three-month-old baby I “witnessed” the landing of airborne troops near Arnhem. Our region was then evacuated. When return was allowed in 1945 the village was ruined, plundered, vandalized and  many houses were burned down. My parents lost most of their biological books and collections (both were biologist and great collectors). Parts were in the garden, moldy and without labels.

As a child I loved collecting things and showing them to my parents, Tonko Nannenga and Elly Nannenga-Bremekamp. My collections included numerous unused bullets as well as botanical and zoological items. My parents had a vast knowledge of higher plants, invertebrates and cryptogams. Most of my finds were named, often supplied with interesting biological details and simultaneously I learned to recognize higher taxa. Though I accompanied my mother and Wim Margadant on several moss collecting trips my interest in mosses was small. When I was eight my mother started collecting Myxomycetes and then I learned about type-specimens.

I studied biology in Utrecht. I was strongly attracted to mollusks, but for practical reasons choose bryophytes. Under guidance of Peter Florschütz I  started to study Fissidens in 1970. A study that after his untimely death in 1976 continued up to the present day. Fissidens is a challenging genus. Peter was very much aware of this. In his 1964-thesis he created the neotropical F. prionodes – and F. guianensis-complex. These complexes were later revised by Ron Pursell in his 2007 neotropical monograph, while my field became Fissidens of tropical Africa. My studies were carried out with much help and support of the Institute of Plant Systematics (Utrecht) and later by Naturalis (Leiden). Not having a regular job gave me the freedom to postpone difficult decisions on species complexes. Unfortunately, this also meant that for many specimens I could not yet give a definite identification. During my life I have experienced much support and pleasant contacts with other bryologists. I have fond memories of  Ron Pursell and his wife Mary. We visited each other several times. He also generously supplied me with important literature. Other important persons in my professional life are Jessica Beever,  Rod Seppelt, Dries Touw and Zen Iwatsuki. The last two sadly have passed away.

Highlights in my bryological career have been a month-stay in Penn State with Ron Pursell and Zen Iwatsuki, workshops on Puerto Rico and Réunion, the Botanical Congress in St Louis, my stays in Helsinki and in Paris (PC). In PC I helped identifying type-specimens and  reorganizing the Fissidens-collections into the “herbier general”.

On my 60th birthday I realized that I was hardly ever leaving my microscope and computer and that I wanted more out of life. I started hiking and photographing. This led to the revival of my old love: mushrooms and for some fifteen years I worked half time on Fissidens and half time on corticioid and jelly fungi. I became a member of the Phragmoproject ( This project involved amongst others making keys of all Western European jelly fungi, including many that had never before been included in keys. Since taxonomic changes in mycology are published almost daily, keeping keys update and adding the new species (of which some are morphologically not distinct) was often a race against the clock. Lately, I had to drop mycology because the microscopic study of particularly the intrahymenial ones became too much strain for my eyes and also because I became very much aware that the larger part of my life is over and that I should publish the knowledge I have gathered during my life and that it is time to make some final decisions. Though I feel a bit pressed I don’t regret the postponing. Most decisions will be more convincing than would have been possible at an earlier stage. The remaining work also includes re-identification of many specimens and giving these names to the collectors. Hopefully, I will have time to finish all this or at least most of it.

Selected publications

BRUGGEMAN-NANNENGA M. A. & WAGENAAR HUMMELINCK P., 1986. Notes on the Caribbean Conch Melongena melongena. Studies on the Fauna of Curaçao and other Caribbean Islands 68: 148- 190.

BRUGGEMAN-NANNENGA M. A., 2006A. Bryophyte flora of Uganda. 6. Fissidentaceae (Part 1). Journal of Bryology 28: 53–62. doi: 10.1179/174328206X90422

BRUGGEMAN-NANNENGA M. A., 2006B. Bryophyte Flora of Uganda 6 Fissidentaceae (Part 2). Journal of Bryology 28: 139–148. DOI: 10.1179/174328206X105434

BRUGGEMAN-NANNENGA M. A. & ARTS T. 2010. A revision of the Fissidentaceae (Musci) of La Réunion (including all species known from Mauritius and Rodriguez). Journal of Bryology 32: 170–207- doi: 10.1179/037366810X12735734836179.

BRUGGEMAN-NANNENGA M. A. & WIGGINTON M. J. 2012. Bryophytes of St Helena, South Atlantic Ocean. 5. Fissidens Lindb. (Fissidentaceae), including a description of F. translucens sp. nov. and Fissidens curvatus Hornsch. subsp. sanctae-helenae subsp. nov. Journal of Bryology 34 (3): 212–230.

BRUGGEMAN-NANNENGA M. A. 2013. Subgenus Fissidens in tropical Eastern Africa with emphasis on the Tanzanian collections by Tamas Pócs, Polish Bot. J. 58 (2): 369–417 – – doi. org/10.2478/pbj-2013-0055.

BRUGGEMAN-NANNENGA M. A. 2017. Fissidens subgenus Aloma (bryophyta) in tropical Africa I. the large-celled costate and ecostate species.Polish Botanical Journal 62 (2): 139–168DOI: 10.1515/pbj-2017-0019.

BRUGGEMAN-NANNENGA M. A., 2021 – Fissidens subgen. Aloma, the scariosus– and bryoides-type of peristome in the light of the phylogenetic tree by Suzuki et al. Lindbergia 44: 1–8. https: // doi: 10.25227/linbg. 01137.

BUDKE, J. M., PATEL, N. R., GOFLAG CONSORTIUM, WIENHOLD, M. D., BRUGGEMAN-NANNENGA, M. A., 2022, Exploring morphological evolution in relation to habitat moisture in the moss genus Fissidens using molecular data generated from herbarium specimens. Journal of Systematics and Evolution oo: 1-22  –  First published: 31 October 2022

PURSELL, R. A. & BRUGGEMAN-NANNENGA, M.A., 2004. A revision of the infrageneric taxa of Fissidens. Bryologist 107: 1-20.