The Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network

The Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network is a multi-sector biomonitoring collaboration, in which bottom-dwelling aquatic invertebrates are used to monitor the ecological condition of lakes, streams, and wetlands.  The Network is led by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, but certified participants represent all sectors. The network features standard sampling protocols, training, and a database. Information most queried by OBBN members is listed below.



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

OBBN Basic Training (3-day course): This course covers biomonitoring theory, sampling methods, laboratory methods, and bioassessment calculations. The course also includes a field practicum (in which students apply lake- and stream-sampling methods), a full-day introduction to benthic invertebrate taxonomy, and a demonstration of various approaches to 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 proficiency with standardized Ontario methods and their status as Network members. Basic training courses are typically offered in April and May.

Family ID (3-day course): This course has two objectives: (1) To fast-track the process of learning family-level benthic-invertebrate identification; and (2) To prepare 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 have mastered the terminology used in family-level keys; they must have learned the characters that distinguish families in each major group of invertebrates; and they must have studied a wide variety of specimens, so they understand the morphological variability that exists within families. This course provides students 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 in the lab, and mock tests.

Contact Chris Jones for more information and to get on the mailing list so you are notified of upcoming courses. Contact Sarah Sinclair book your time to challenge the SFS exam (the Dorset Environmental Science Centre is registered as an official test centre).

Upcoming Training Courses

PDF iconIdentification of Benthic Macroinvertebrate Familes February 2018

PDF iconOBBN Basic Training Dorset April 2018.pdf

PDF iconOBBN Basic Training Sudbury April 2018.pdf

PDF iconOBBN Baic Training Waterloo May 2018.pdf

Field Sheets





OBBN Coordinators
Chris Jones Benthic Monitoring Scientist

Sarah Sinclair Biomonitoring Technician