Bland Finlay was a biologist with research interests in protozoa — tiny, single-celled organisms that exhibit animal-like behaviour such as movement. Bland’s work had implications for the conservation of species. In particular, he elucidated that variation between species at the microbial level is different from that of larger plants and animals.
As part of his work, Bland was the first to demonstrate seasonal migration by microaerobic protozoa — which require a low concentration of oxygen — in lakes. He also determined how these protozoa are able to perceive gravity, blue light and oxygen pressure, and discovered that they can use nitrate to breathe.
Bland’s work was significant in terms of revealing new patterns in nature and has facilitated estimates of species richness on both small and large scales. Bland was Professor of Microbial Ecology at Queen Mary University of London and has published over 170 scientific papers, as well as the textbook Ecology and Evolution in Anoxic Worlds (1995).
Professor Bland Finlay FRS died on 24 December 2021.