Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Webinar: What's a Lichen?

Archived Webinar

The Zoom webinar with Lichenologist Manuela Dal Forno aired April 16, 2020, as part of the Smithsonian Science How series. Watch a recording in the player above.


Lichenologist Manuela Dal Forno explains the special symbiotic relationship inside each lichen and shows the different steps she takes to study lichens: finding them in nature, looking at them under a microscope, and analyzing their DNA. 

Teaching Resources

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-LS1-5: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.
  • 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-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
3-5, 6-8
Learning Standards
Next Generation Science Standards
Life Science