ForBio course: Lichens and lichenicolous fungi in Norwegian rainforests

ForBio - is organising a course on lichens and lichenicolous fungi in Norwegian rainforests.

During this intensive course, we will combine biodiversity research in the field, lab work and evening lectures with the objective of learning as much as possible about the characteristics of main groups of lichens and lichen parasitic fungi in Norwegian Boreal Rainforests. More specifically we will focus on

  • species recognition of lichens and lichen parasitic fungi in Norwegian boreal rainforests
  • methods of biodiversity mapping (field sampling, species recognition in the field, relevant metadata)
  • species identification training (microscopy, thin-layer chromatography [TLC] of secondary compounds)
  • DNA barcoding (sampling of lichen material, photography, data entry, BOLD)

Content: Norwegian boreal rainforests are internationally recognized hotspot habitats for biodiversity. These forests grow localized in a narrow zone along the Norwegian coast and are characterized by their oceanic lichen and bryophyte communities. Lichens are symbiotic organisms consisting of ascomycete fungi (the mycobiont) and an algal or cyanobacterial partner (the photobiont). Lichens are highly responsive to environmental influences and valuable indicators for environmental variables such as microclimate, forest continuity, and air pollution. Lichenicolous fungi grow as commensals, parasymbionts, or parasites on lichens. They are typically confined to a ± narrow host range (genus or species of lichens). As for lichens, many lichenicolous fungi have their main distribution in humid forests in coastal areas and are considered indicators for old-growth forests with long ecological continuity.

In this one-week course, we will visit four different localities of boreal rainforest in northern Trøndelag. For efficient learning in the field, we will work in groups of maximum 5 people. The students will learn how to identify lichens and their lichenicolous fungi in the field, perform sampling according to biodiversity management practices, and collect specimens for further examination.

During evening sessions, we will identify and study the collected material, by microscopy and TLC. We will demonstrate the relevance of the applications of DNA barcoding, and go through the entire pipeline of DNA barcoding, including lichen sampling, metadata generation and data entry. There will also be formal presentations on topics such as ongoing relevant research, DNA barcoding of lichens and lichenicolous fungi, and challenges and prospects in lichen systematics.

Collaboration and co-funding

This courses is linked to the project entitled: Three-storied diversity: Mapping and barcoding crustose lichens and lichenicolous fungi in the Norwegian rainforests, funded by The Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre (Norwegian Taxonomy Initiative)NORD university is providing access to facilities as in-kind contribution through this project. The project is also suported by the county-governor in Nord Trøndelag.


Mika Bendiksby (NTNU)

Andreas Frisch (NTNU)

Håkon Holien (NORD)

Jon Klepsland (BioFokus)

Einar Timdal (NHM, UiO)

Responsible for the course: Elisabeth Stur, ForBio, Andreas Frish and Mika Bendiksby, NTNU University Museum

Maximum number of participants: 20

Course level: PhD students, Master students, researchers and biodiversity consultants.

Previous knowledge required Either basic knowledge in biodiversity mapping, an interest in fungal systematics and diversity (including lichens), or a background in forest ecology and conservation.

Course materials. Students should bring their own hand lens (at least 10x magnification, preferably with light).  Lab (microscopy and TLC) facilities and lecturing room at Nord University (Steinkjer) are available for the course. Species determination literature will be provided.  

Assignment and credits: The course is equivalent to 2 ECTS. ForBio will provide certificates for those successfully completed the course assignment. 

Registration: Please fill in the online application here. There is no course fee for ForBio members or associates, a bus from Steinjer to the collecting sites is free of charge for all participants. Steinjer can be reached from Trondheim or Værnes by train. Travel to Trondheim is covered for ForBio members based at Norwegian institutions. The course includes accommodation and meals for ForBio members at Quality Hotel Grand Steinkjer. ForBio associates need to cover their accommodation and meals, estimated to be about 5000 NOK (5 nigths in a shared double room, and 5 day meals).

Find out about how to become a ForBio member here.

Application deadline is June 15, 2018.

Contact Elisabeth Stur ( for more information.


Published Dec. 6, 2017 10:57 AM - Last modified June 20, 2018 11:58 AM