September 21 Program Review

The World of … Lichens

Manuela Dal Forno, PhD, presented an entire introductory course on lichens. Lichens are complex symbiotic units formed by a main fungal partner, a green algal and/or a cyanobacterial partner, along with a diverse community of microorganisms.  They represent an important biological group present in most terrestrial ecosystems, with key functions such as colonizers, food source, nitrogen fixers, among many others. During the Zoom recording of her program, you will learn more about lichens in general – what they are, why they are important and how to detect important characteristics to identify them in the field and in the lab.

Manuela Dal Forno (Manu) is a Brazilian-American researcher interested in multiple aspects of the lichen symbiosis. She earned her PhD in Environmental Sciences and Public Policy at George Mason University in Virginia and later was awarded two postdoctoral fellowships to work at the Botany Department at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. She joined the Botanical Research Institute (BRIT) in 2019. Her research has particularly focused on the discovery of new species, especially in the Tropics, and how they are related to one another.

View the recording here.

Some resources for those wanting to learn more and explore a gallery of lichens.

Lichens of North America (book) and website
iNaturalist guides and observations
US Forest Service
Ways of Enlichenment

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