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Discovering Lichen

Outside each of our backdoors lies a vast and diverse world of lichens. Most of us don’t notice these lichens around, or pass them off as “mosses.” However, these lichens are a valuable element of many ecosystems and an important tool for understanding greater environmental events. The lichen beyond the backdoor provides a living laboratory for the study of the natural world. All that is needed is some basic information to get started with. That’s exactly what this website intends to provide!!


Included in this website is a laboratory exercise examining succession of lichen on twigs. This activity is geared towards high school science students or early college science students. Throughout this activity we will introduce the concepts of succession, cover, and tools of the ecological trade, as well as become familiar with several lichen genera.


In addition to the laboratory exercise, we have included images and information for selected lichen genera, an informational handout, and a flow chart to aid in identification. Also we have included links to other great lichen web resources.


This website and accompanying lab materials were created as a project for BOT 465 Lichenology at Oregon State University. While this lab could be used in any region, the lichen genera for which we provide information limit its scope. We selected several lichens commonly occurring on twigs in the Pacific Northwest. Thus the lab will likely be most effective in the Pacific Northwest. Note that this is only a short list of many great lichens found in our beautiful area!!


The group that developed the lab and created the site has referred to itself as "Twiggy" throughout the course of the project.

Twiggy is: Kate Norman, Bailey Edgley, Tim Bradley, Tracy Pope, and Jessica Horsley.

2003 Twiggy HomepageAcknowledgmentsLichen ImagesLab MaterialsContact Twiggy