Aquatic biomonitoring network news and events

Bringing the network together. It is important to Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) to keep its users informed. On this page you will find updates on our program and our partners.

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2023 CABIN Online Training update

Attention: Registration for the 2023 CABIN Training year will open May 1, 2023. See the details on the Canadian River Institute Training page.

A new tool to learn about the invertebrates 

The CABIN team is proud to announce new features in the CABIN web tools to search and learn more about the invertebrates collected across Canada. An image library has been created from all invertebrates held in the National Reference Collection and searchable within the database. New features include information about taxon hierarchy, images of features and a mapping tool to see where taxa have been collected. Log into the CABIN database and find your taxa under the Administration tab today!

Assessing freshwater health through DNA and community based monitoring

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) CABIN program, in partnership with the University of Guelph and World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-Canada will use DNA analysis to identify freshwater benthic macroinvertebrates and assess aquatic ecosystem health in Canada. DNA analysis of benthic macroinvertebrates, sampled at a smaller geographic scale show potential to provide a rapid and cost effective approach to generating aquatic biodiversity information. This three-year collaborative project (2018-2021) will involve the collection of up to 1,500 new samples across Canada in an effort to demonstrate the application of this technology at a national scale. The project is funded in part by Genome Canada.

Based on the CABIN wadeable stream protocol, samples will be collected from streams and rivers by community organizations, Indigenous groups and ECCC. With support from WWF-Canada, certified CABIN trainers from Living Lakes Canada will provide training to groups for sample collection. The University of Guelph will perform the DNA metabarcoding sample analysis. Resulting taxa lists will characterize and improve our understanding of the health of the sampled watersheds, and inform ECCC’s approach to monitoring the status and trends of Canada’s freshwater ecosystems.

Participation in this project reflects ECCC’s ongoing commitment to making sure the best available scientific knowledge is supporting decision-making. Interested CABIN partners should contact their ECCC CABIN watershed lead for additional information.

As this project proceeds, CABIN will continue to use existing nationally standardized protocols to assess the health of streams based on conventional taxonomic identification of benthic macroinvertebrates. This method provides valuable information about both types and numbers of aquatic invertebrates in a stream, and is used with reference condition models where models have been developed.

For more information about the project visit Genome Canada’s website.

CABIN forums: proceedings from 2019 Forum are now available

Find information on past and upcoming CABIN forums.

A new protocol for wetlands

CABIN's wetland protocol offers a consistent approach to invertebrate sampling and data collection but does not yet include analytical or interpretive tools for assessing wetland health. Along with CABIN partners, the Canadian government will strive to develop wetland specific study designs, metrics and analytical tools for this protocol. These will be added to the CABIN database and website as they are developed.

Whirling disease and aquatic biomonitoring

Whirling disease has been found in Canada (Alberta). It is caused by a parasite that invades cartilage and impairs the nervous system of salomoid fish.


Selkirk College, September 25 2018

In a program loaded with experiential learning opportunities, second-year students in the Integrated Environmental Planning Program of the Selkirk College (British Columbia) spent the opening week of the semester taking part in leading edge freshwater research. Furthermore, they fulfilled successfully training requirements for the CABIN Field Assistant Program.

Canadian Rivers Institute 15 years of Impact on Aquatic Science and Policy 2016

This report highlights some of the major contributions by CRI to aquatic science in Canada over the past 15 years along with their partnership with CABIN.

Canadian Rivers Institute spotlight on training, 2016

Federal Government, Canadian Rivers Institute and Canadians team up to assess river health

Environment Canada study finds land-based fish farms affecting ecosystem, CBC 2016

Federal research unit finds significant changes in biodiversity at some Nova Scotia hatcheries

Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 2015

Why care about aquatic insects: Uses, benefits, and services

Water Canada Magazine 2011

The CABIN program was featured in the January/ February 2011 issue of Water Canada magazine. The article entitled "Infesting Wisely: Using Bugs to Assess Water Quality" by Kelly Cowper describes the use of biological monitoring to get a bigger picture of aquatic ecosystem health. Cowper explains CABIN and the reference condition approach in a very clear and simple fashion so that it is easily understood by decision-makers and non-scientists.

Arrow Lake News 2011

The Arrow Lakes News proudly profiles the work of “citizen scientists” dedicated to assessing the health of wadeable creeks in the Columbia River Basin using CABIN as part of BC’s Arrow Lakes Environmental Stewardship Society on November 13, 2011.

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