Geoff Baylis lecture


Geoff Baylis at Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound, October 1994. Supplied by Peter Johnson.

Geoffery Thomas Sandford Baylis was the University of Otago’s first Professor of Botany and is known nationally and internationally for his pioneering work on mycorrhizal fungi. Before joining the University he undertook his undergraduate and masters degree in Botany at Auckland University College and a PhD at the Imperial College London. He then volunteered for the Navy for five years, where he came upon an advertisement for a lecturer in Botany in Otago. A position which he held for 33 years until his retirement in 1978.


Photo of Geoff Baylis with Stilbocarpa lyallii, a characteristic megaherb, on the south coast on Enderby Island, Auckland Island. November 2000. Alan Mark, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

For more information refer to:

Baylis G.; Chamberlain J 2003, Founded on Fact. The Autobiography of Geoff Baylis. Auckland: Privately published.

Knight A. 2002. BSO Honours Geoff Baylis. Botanical Society of Otago Newsletter. 34:4-6.

Knight A. 2004. Professor GTS Baylis (1913-2003): a BSO perspective. Botanical Society of Otago Newsletter. 41:12.

Wardle P.; Galloway D.J. 2004. Obituary: Geoffrey Thomas Sandford Baylis MSc (N.Z.), PhD (Lond.), DIC, FRSNZ, AHRHINZ (1913–2003). New Zealand Journal of Botany. 42(4): 709–714.

geoff_baylis_with_chionochloa_antarctica_on_campbell_island_nov_2000.jpg Photo of Geoff Baylis with an ancient tussock of Chionochloa antarctica on Campbell Island. November 2000. Alan Mark, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

In 2002 the annual Geoff Baylis lecture, where botanists are invited to share their expertise, began. Below is a list of past speakers.

2002: Prof. Geoff Baylis (and colleagues and students), U. of Otago

2003: Dr. Peter Wardle, DSIR

2004: Dr. Henry Connor, DSIR

2005: Assoc. Prof. Kevin S. Gould, U. of Otago

2006: Hugh Wilson

2007: Prof. Alan Mark, U. of Otago

2008: Dr. Brian Molloy, MWLR

2009: Assoc. Prof. Daphne Lee, U. of Otago

2010: Prof. Philip Garnock-Jones, Vic. U.

2011: Dr. William Lee, MWLR & U. of Auckland

2012: Dr. Wendy Nelson, NIWA

2013: Dr. Peter Heenan, MWLR

2014: Dr. Peter Johnson, MWLR

2015: Prof. Steve Higgins, U. of Otago

2016: Dr. Nick Mortimer, GNS

2017: Dr. Susan Walker, MWLR

2018: Assoc. Prof. Janice Lord, U. of Otago

2019: Dr. Hamish Campbell, GNS

2020: Dr. Leon Perrie, Te Papa

2022: Dr. Heidi Meudt, Te Papa


Geoff Baylis, December 1997, in his High Street garden with Pennantia baylisiana (tall, darker leaved, behind him), and the Norfolk Island P. endlicheri, with paler leaves. Supplied by Peter Johnson.


Geoff Baylis cutting his 90th birthday cake, Auckland, 22 November 2003. Supplied by Peter Johnson.