BOT210 Fungi, Lichens and Bryophytes – Ecology and Species Identification

Credits (ECTS):10

Course responsible:Siri Lie Olsen

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Norsk

Limits of class size:60

Course frequency:Annually

Nominal workload:Structured teaching time: 78 hours. The students’ own effort regarding preparation for lectures, working with the syllabus throughout the semester, working on the term paper (including fieldwork, species identification, data analyses, literature search and writing) and exam preparations: 172 hours.

Teaching and exam period:The course starts in the August block and has teaching/evaluation in the August block and in the Autumn parallel.

About this course

The course provides the students with a broad introduction to the ecology of fungi, lichens and bryophytes, as well as knowledge of a selection of species and how these can be identified using macroscopic and microscopic characteristics.

The course starts with a week of intensive teaching in the last half of the August block with a focus on fungi. This week includes daily lectures (1 hour), one excursion (approx. 6 hours) and four laboratory exercises (3 hours per exercise). In the Autumn parallel the focus shifts to lichens and bryophytes, with one lecture (1 hour) and one laboratory exercise (3 hours) per week, as well as a total of two excursions (approx. 6 hours per excursion).

Topics covered in the lectures are the general structure and physiology of fungi, fungi and decomposition, the role of fungi in the carbon cycle, interactions between fungi and other organisms, rare and endangered fungi, the general structure and physiology of lichens, lichens and air pollution, lichens and adaptations to extreme environments, lichens and herbivory, rare and endangered lichens, the general structure and physiology of bryophytes, bryophytes as indicators of heavy metal pollution, the ecology of peat mosses and rare and endangered bryophytes.

Through laboratory exercises and excursions, the students gain knowledge about common species of fungi, lichens and bryophytes in Norway: common soil-inhabiting fungi in poor and rich forests, wood-inhabiting fungi, ascomycetes and the like, rich bark lichens (from ash, elm, maple, aspen, etc.), poor bark lichens (from conifers and birch), a selection of crustose lichens, old-growth forest lichens, bryophytes from base rich forests, bryophytes from oligotrophic forests, peat mosses and liverworts.

The course also includes writing of a term paper (group work with 3-4 students) with collection and identification of collected material, analyses of data and report writing.

Learning outcome


After completing the course, the candidate should have broad knowledge of common and some rare fungi, lichens and bryophytes and their ecology and importance in Norwegian ecosystems.


The candidate should be able to identify Norwegian fungi, bryophytes and lichens using identification keys and floras. The candidate should also be able to use indicator species of fungi, lichens and bryophytes for assessing various environmental conditions. The candidate should be able to write a simple scientific report based on own data.

General competence:

After completing the course, the candidate should be able to communicate and discuss issues and solutions related to fungi, lichen and bryophyte ecology and have basic knowledge for further work with these species groups, for instance related to mapping and sustainable biodiversity management.

  • Lectures provide a theoretical introduction to the ecology of fungi, lichens and bryophytes, laboratory exercises, excursions and the collection of own data provide knowledge about identification of Norwegian fungi, lichens and bryophyte species, and the term paper provides practice in data processing and writing of a scientific report. In addition, students are expected to study on their own.
  • Lecture notes, identification keys and extra material are available on Canvas. Links to additional identification keys can also be found there. Each group will be offered supervision by the course responsible during the writing of the term paper.
  • BOT100
  • Portfolio assessment consisting of several parts: Two species identification tests, one for fungi in the end of the August block and one for lichens and bryophytes in the end of the Autumn parallel, with the use of floras accounts for 35%. Together with the species identification test in the Autumn parallel, some theoretical questions from the syllabus will be given without access to literature. This theoretical test accounts for 25%. A term paper accounts for 40%. All exam parts do not need to be passed in order to pass the course. It is the overall quality of the work that will be assessed.

    Portfolio Grading: Letter grades
  • An external examiner will evaluate the questions for the theoretical test, is involved in reading and assessing the term papers and assigns an overall grade to all the parts to be assessed.
  • First lecture and excursion in the August block and participation in at least 12 of 14 laboratory exercises.
  • The course is especially suitable for the Masters program in natural resource management, forestry and ecology, but all students with an interest in biology are welcome. Basic knowledge of fungi, lichens and bryophytes, as well as the use of identification keys, equivalent to BOT100 is expected. Grunnleggende statistikkunnskap tilsvarende STAT100 er en fordel.
  • Lectures: 17 hours. Group supervision: 1 hour. Laboratory exercises: 42 hours. Excursions: 18 hours.
  • Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway ("generell studiekompetanse")