Bryophytes and Lichens of the Pacific Northwest

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Fall 2017 quarter

Taught by

botany, phytochemistry, systematics


one year of college level biology and one quarter of basic botany/plant biology

This upper-divison science program focuses on the the diversity and ecological significance of bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts) and lichens (i.e., lichenized fungi). With approximately 40,000 described species these lineages occur in virtually every ecosystem on earth and are among the most sensitive indicators of environmental change. In these ecosystems, bryophytes and lichens perform important biological functions including carbon sequestration, nitrogen-fixation, soil stabilization, reduction of water and nutrient run-off, as well as providing habitat and nesting material for invertebrates and vertebrates.

This program will foster skills in field taxonomy and ecology of lichens and bryophytes. A multi-day field trip as well as several day-long field trips will emphasize life history, ecology, collecting and identification of bryophytes and lichens from urban areas, temperate rainforests of the Olympic and Cascade mountains as well as lowland prairie ecosystems of Washington and Oregon. Lab activities will involve identifying collected specimens to species using dichotomous keys and developing proficiency in techniques for the identification of mosses and lichens, such as chemical testing for lichens and use of compound and dissecting microscopes. Many of these lab and field skills can be applied broadly to other taxonomic groups of plants and fungi. Lectures and seminars will focus on readings from texts and scientific papers relating to the ecology and conservation of these taxa. Students will also gain skills and experience in scientific writing through independent and group writing activities which may include creating a blog, keeping a detailed field journal and in some cases, crafting a grant proposal for future independent research.

Program Details

Fields of Study

biology botany ecology environmental studies field studies

Preparatory For

natural resource management, botany, ecology, conservation and environmental studies


Fall Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First class meeting: Monday, September 25 at 10am (Sem II C1107)

Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online


$286 for multi-day field trip to Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center.


2017-04-25Fee added ($286).