Investigation: Fungi and Lichen Species Inventory

In this investigation, we are going to inventory the diversity of fungus and lichen species at our school.

Instructions / How to do this investigation

Before conducting the inventory, it is helpful for students to be familiar with at least some common species  of lichen and fungi they may encounter. Depending on the specific inventory planned, give students time to research typical regional species using field guide or online resources. Photos or illustrations, as well as information about each species will help students determine whether a particular species is present at their site. Have students make and laminate identification cards to take on the inventory. Plan to have appropriate field guides on hand and if possible technology such as iNaturalist’s Seek app, PictureThis, or PlantSnap can be used. A great way to record details of an organism while building critical observational skills is to bring a drawing pad and create a sketch or take a picture. Place these in science notebooks or files to identify and label back in the classroom.



  • Tree flagging for survey area(s)
  • Measuring Tape
  • Field guide to lichens/fungi and/or app-based plant ID.
  • Paper/pencils
  • Clipboards
  • Hand lens (optional)
  • Ruler (optional)



  1. Gather all the materials needed
  2. Find a survey site and mark off a circular area with a 7.5′ radius with flagging tape/measuring tape
    1. Survey transects/quadrats can be used as well as a different sample area
  3. Divide students into working pairs or small groups
  4. Have them survey the flagged area for any lichens and fungi
  5. For each fungi or lichen found record:
    1. Date
    2. Group #     
    3. Location on grid
    4. Species identification – scientific name (genus species)
    5. Total Number of Fungi or lichen found



  1. When students return to the classroom, they should navigate to the appropriate WeatherBlur Investigation page. 
  2. Students should carefully enter the data they recorded in the field into the WeatherBlur data sheet. 
    1. Students should be sure to include all of the information they collected for each data entry.


Tell us how your data collection/analysis is going

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