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Adapting "Lichens in Diverse Landscapes" for Independent Projects in BIO 3317 Ecology at McDaniel College

Author(s): Holly Martinson

McDaniel College

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This adaptation shows how students in Ecology at McDaniel College used the Lichens in Diverse Landscapes Module 2 (Lichens in YOUR Local Landscape) in Fall 2020.

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0 - published on 09 Dec 2020 doi:10.25334/437R-JQ96 - cite this

Adapted from: Lichens in Diverse Landscapes: EREN-NEON Flexible Learning Project v 1.0


Students conducted the Lichens in YOUR Local Landscape module of the Lichens in Diverse Landscapes project in the Ecology course at McDaniel College in Fall 2020. McDaniel is a small, liberal arts college in central Maryland, and the Flexible Learning Projects (FLPs) allowed students to engage in hands-on learning regardless of whether they were learning from campus or from home for the semester.

The lichen project was implemented to familiarize students with common field techniques and engage them in an authentic research project. After completing this project and the PHAE Flexible Learning Project, as well as lab exercises for data management and data analysis, students developed and conducted their own Independent Projects (IPs) for the remainder of the semester. These IPs culminated in presentations and research papers. 

Posted here are four files:

  1. A narrative reflection on the process of implementing the Flexible Learning Projects in Fall 2020.
  2. Slides showing the overall approach to the Ecology class, successful aspects of FLP implementation, and recommendations for the lichen project moving forward.
  3. A modification of the field protocol for the Lichens in YOUR Local Landscape module. The modification clarifies the procedures for at-home vs on-campus students and specifies the pre-lab activities (submitting hypotheses, downloading apps, setting up field data sheets).
  4. The Independent Project Scoring Guide for first drafts. Students did not have to base their Independent Projects on the FLPs, but many of them did. First drafts were followed by peer reviews, presentations, and final drafts that incorporated peer and instructor feedback.


This version of the lichen field protocol was adapted from the Lichens in Diverse Landscapes project with modifications to clarify at-home vs in-person tasks and to specify pre-lab activities.

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