Dra. Gabriela G. Hässel de Menéndez (1927-2009)

By Salem S. Hunter, Tristen J. Pasternak, Amanda M. Chandler

Oct 13 2022

Dra. Gabriela Gustava Hässel de Menéndez’s scientific career spanned almost sixty years and many different countries. As an Argentine bryologist, she devoted her studies to mosses, hornworts, and liverworts. She visited many different herbaria in her search to perfect her knowledge of cryptogams, was a member of nine societies, and has over 120 publications in journals from all around the world. Overall, Dra. Hässel de Menéndez left a lasting impact on the study of cryptogams, paving the way for younger bryologists in South America and beyond.

Gabriela Gustava Hässel de Menéndez was born on 15 October 1927 in Quilmes, Argentina, and died on 4 July 2009 in Buenos Aires. Hässel de Menéndez began college in 1946 at The University of Buenos Aires studying geology, but quickly changed over to the study of biology, “a decision of which she never regretted” (Rubies 2009). She went on to get her doctorate in 1959 from the same institution, where she focused on the hornworts and liverworts from Argentina. Her postgraduate studies sent her all over the world, spanning 5 different institutions, one of which was the New York Botanical Garden in 1963.

Dra. Gabriela G. Hässel de Menéndez spent much of her professional career at the Bernardino Rivadavia Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences, beginning in 1956. Her first scholarship was landed in 1958 through the National Scientific and Technical Research Council of Argentina. The museum was where, from 1963-2000, she was head of the Cryptogamie Division. She collected over 30,000 specimens for the herbarium, largely from Argentina and Chile, all through her 53 collection trips. Throughout her professional career, she spread her knowledge through lecturing in Argentina, Chile, Panama, and Colombia. She was an advocate for collaboration within Latin America, and she aided in the formation of the Sociedad Latinoamericana de Briología.


Rubies, M.F. 2009. Dra. Gabriela G. Hässel de Menéndez: 1927-2009. Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales 11(2). Retrieved from: http://web.archive.org/web/20200320143732id_/www.scielo.org.ar/pdf/rmacn/v11n2/v11n2a10.pdf.

Rubies, M.F. 2009. Gabriela Gustava Hässel de Menéndez: 1927 - 2009. Boletín de la Sociedad Argentina de Botánica 44(3-4): 453. Retrieved from: http://www.scielo.org.ar/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1851-23722009000200019&lng=es&tlng=es.