The Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network

Matt and Oleysa sampling in the fieldThe Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network (OBBN) is a multi-sector collaboration. The OBBN features standard sampling protocols, training, and a centralized database. Led by staff at the Dorset Environmental Science Centre (DESC) this monitoring focuses on bottom-dwelling aquatic invertebrates to check the condition of Ontario's lakes, streams, and wetlands. 

The OBBN allows for organizations to

  • compare data from different times or locations,
  • access reference site data needed to assess the condition of lakes, streams, and wetlands,
  • access technical support and analytical tools, and 
  • have input on the scientific questions to be addressed by the OBBN. 

Two types of training courses are organized periodically by OBBN certified Network trainers. 

OBBN Basic Training (3-day course) 

This course will cover

  • biomonitoring theory
  • sampling methods,
  • laboratory methods,
  • bioassessment calculations.

Tests covering sampling methods and invertebrate identification are offered at the end of the course. Students passing the tests receive a certificate that signifies their status as OBBN members. Basic training courses are typically provided in May and September. 

Register for September:

Family ID (3-day course) 

This course prepares registrants for the Family-level Taxonomic Certification Exam that is administered by the Society for Freshwater Science’s (SFS’s) Taxonomic Certification Program. To pass the SFS certification, taxonomists must master the

  • terminology used in family-level keys, 
  • the characters that distinguish families in each major group of invertebrates, and the
  • morphological variability that exists within families. 

This course provides students with an opportunity to acquire such skills and experience. Emphasis is on taxa from eastern North America (especially Ontario). The format of the course includes a combination of lectures, demonstrations, instructor-guided practice and mock tests.

Data Management

 Data Template

 Site Creator


Contact the OBBN ( for more information and to get on the mailing list.