Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Exploring the Amazing World of Lichens

Archived Webcast

The webcasts with Lichenologist Manuela Dal Forno aired March 28, 2019, as part of the Smithsonian Science How series. Watch a recording in the player above or by using the link below. After watching the show, please take our survey and tell us how we did!


What is a lichen? Lichenologist Manuela Dal Forno will take students on an exploration of the world of lichens, helping them to realize that lichens are living all around us — from forests to city streets. Manuela will explain what lichens are and how the lichen symbiosis works. Your class will get to see Manuela’s student interns in action, extracting DNA from lichens in one of the Smithsonian’s labs. 

This webcast supports standards of learning in life science. See the complete list of standards alignment.

Teaching Resources

Use these resources to support pre/post activities:

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Life Science

3rd Grade

  • 3-LS2-1: Construct an argument that some animals form groups that help members survive.
  • 3-LS3-1: Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms.
  • 3-LS3-2: Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment.
  • 3-LS4-3: Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.

4th Grade

  • 4-LS1-1: Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

5th Grade

  • 5-LS1-1: Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.
  • 5-LS2-1: Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.

6-8th Grade

  • MS-LS1-6: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy into and out of organisms.
  • MS-LS1-5: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.
  • MS-LS2-4: Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
Resource Type
Videos and Webcasts
Grade Level
Learning Standards
Next Generation Science Standards
Life Science