Introduction to Lichens

July 8 & 9 (Friday and Saturday)

Instructor: Dr. Suzanne Joneson is an Associate Professor of Biology at UW-Milwaukee at Waukesha, where she teaches Botany and Microbiology. She earned her M.S. in Botany from the University of Washington where she worked on the floristics of Ramalina in the Russian Far East. She earned  her Ph.D. at Duke University, where she studied the molecular biology of lichen symbiosis. Suzanne finds lichens fascinating at every level.

The Course: This weekend workshop will introduce you to the symbiotic union of fungi and algae known as lichens. The course is designed for both beginners and those who are already familiar with lichens. Over the course of this workshop you will learn basic lichen identification, collection and curation, and natural history. We will use a combination of lectures, field-work, and in-laboratory identification in order to learn about the basic lichen biology of the area.

Course fee: $115. Not offered for college credit, 1.4 CEU

Useful materials to bring: Field clothing, a hand-lens if you have one (10X – 20X is good, and some will be available for you to borrow), small paper bags or envelopes for collecting lichens (or newspapers for making packets), cardboard box for storing lichens, paper and pencil for taking notes.  Bring the following optional items if you have them: hand-pruner, or wood-chisel for scraping lichens off bark.  Participants should also download, print out, and bring a copy of ‘Keys to the Lichens of Minnesota’ by Cliff Wetmore, a user-friendly set of keys to lichen genera and species available on-line , as well as Common Lichens of Wisconsin by James P. Bennet (available as a .pdf at

Recommended books:  If you have any of the following books, please bring them.

Lichens of North America by Brodo et al. (available on-line and in bookstores).

Lichens of Wisconsin by J.W. Thomson (available at

Lichens of the North Woods, by Walewski (available on-line at Amazon).

Participants are also encouraged to bring lichens you have previously collected to the workshop for display and naming.  If you would like to make a pre-class collection just gather the specimens in small paper bags which are allowed to air dry.  On the bags write the date, location information, and a description of the substrate on which the lichen was growing.

Registration: This class is full. Contact the Field Station to be placed on a waitlist.