Laboratory of Bryology exists since the foundation of the Department of Botany Polish Academy of Sciences in 1953. In 1956 it received the rank of Department. Its founder and the first head was Professor Bronislaw Szafran, who stayed at this position until his death in 1968. In 1969 the Department of Bryology was combined with the Laboratory of Lichenology whose head became Dr. Hab. Janusz Nowak, Assistant Professor. In 1988 the Department was divided into two separate Laboratories, Laboratory of Bryology and Laboratory of Lichenology. Since then, the head of the Laboratory of Bryology is Prof. Dr. Hab. Ryszard Ochyra.
The activity of the Laboratory can be divided into two distinct periods: the first - in the years 1953-1970, and the second that started in 1976, when the current head of the Laboratory was employed in the IB Academy of Sciences. In the first period, next to Prof. B. Szafran, in the Laboratory worked his students, Dr. Marian Kuc, Dr. Zofia Wacławska and MSc Alicja Pałkowa. At that time, their research focused primarily on taxonomic and geographic Polish moss flora. Then the first, and so far the only one, two-volumed “Polish Flora of Mosses” book was prepared by B. Szafran (1957, 1961), the greatest achievement of the Laboratory during this period. B. Szafran elaborated also the material about mosses to Polish Freshwater Flora (1963). Most of the research during this period was devoted to bryoflora of the southern Poland, and the greatest achievement was the development of the Polish Southern Highlands Brioflora (M. Kuc) which was a summary of the number of studies from the area of geobotanically different regions. In addition there have been developed the mosses’ flora from Silesian Beskids and Little Beskids, Pieniny Mts, the southern part of Kraków-Częstochowa Upland and the reserves over the lower parts of Nida river (B. Szafran), Lower Beskids, Miechowska Upland and Nida Basin (Z. Wacławska) and liverworts from Ojcow National Park (A. Pałkowa). Furthermore Prof. B. Szafran often collaborated with the Department of Palaeobotany, determining the fossil bryophytes for various studies, such as flora from Krościenko, Old Gliwice and the Gulf of Gdów.
In the late 50's in the Laboratory the extensive research on the flora and vegetation of Spitsbergen have been conducted (M. Kuc). Their crowning achievement was the elaboration of the mosses’ flora of Hornsund (M. Kuc, 1964) which is still today one of the most important studies on mosses in Arctic from Europe.
From 1970 until the end of 1976 there was a break in the activity of the Laboratory of Bryology caused by the death or leaving of all of the researchers.
A new period in the activity of the Laboratory of Bryology began in 1976. In the beginning R. Ochyra was the only employed bryologist, later Dr. H. Bednarek-Ochyra (1986) and a technician K. Noga-Bilyk (1988) joined. Currently (2012) the Laboratory that is led by Professor Ryszard Ochyra is a team of three researchers and two technical workers whose publications put the team at the forefront of science in Poland and also in the world.
1953 The establishment of the Laboratory of Bryology. Its founder and the firt Head was Professor Bronisław Szafran
1956 Upgrading the Laboratory of Bryology to Department of Bryology
1969 Department of Bryology is joined with the Laboratory of Lichenology into one Departemant of Bryology and Lichenology whose head becomes Assistant Professor Janusz Nowak
1988 The Department is divided into two separate laboratories: Laboratory of Bryology and Laboratory of Lichenology; since then the head of the Laboratory of Bryology is Professor Ryszard Ochyra