Lichens as Biomonitors for Urban Air Quality & Climate

August 20, 2020 - 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Find out what using lichens as biomonitors for the climate and air pollution is all about. 

Lichens, a symbiotic partnership between algae and fungi, are excellent (and inexpensive!) biomonitors for telling us about climate change and pollution - and Edmonton is ripe to start using them. 

In this webinar, presenter Christopher Schulze will explain how Europe and the USA have a long history of using lichen as biomonitors, particularly in relatively wet regions. He also contrasts the Canadian scene - where relatively little work has been done to validate their utility in Canada, particularly in dry, urban environments.

First scientific studies have shown that lichens can be used as inexpensive biomonitors for air quality in urban areas in Eastern Canada (e.g. Hamilton). However, there are no scientific approaches in Canada in a climate as dry as in Edmonton.

Validating the use of lichens as biomonitors in Edmonton could result in an inexpensive tool to monitor changing environments that is both scientifically sound and engaging for Edmonton’s public through citizen science.

Following the presentation and Q&A session, citizen scientists taking part in Tomorrow Foundation’s Citizen Science Air Quality Traffic Monitoring Pilot will share updates and discuss next steps.


About the Presenter

Christopher Schulze is a PhD student in the department of Renewable Resources at the University of Alberta. He is also working on a project with the UofA and Government of Alberta to study lichens in the Edmonton area. 


  • 6:30 PM - Presentation + Q&A
  • 7:30 PM - Citizen Science pilot updates & discussion
  • 8:30 PM - Closing Thoughts


Email Julie Kusiek, Executive Director, Tomorrow Foundation for a Sustainable Future at [email protected].

Your suggested donation of $10 will help Tomorrow Foundation for a Sustainable Future reach our next fundraising goal of $2000 to set up another monitoring site.