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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Attention: CABIN Training Suspended for 2020

Due to the current and evolving COVID-19 situation, Environment and Climate Change Canada, in cooperation with the Canadian Rivers Institute, has suspended the CABIN training program for 2020 (both online and field).  If you were previously registered for CABIN training but have not completed all course requirements, please contact the Canadian Rivers Institute directly.  Although training is suspended this year, we will still be hard at work behind the scenes and invite you to stay connected with CABIN on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

Thank you for your understanding. Be Safe.  

A new tool to learn about the invertebrates is now available!

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.

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.

CABIN forum

Find information on past and upcoming CABIN forums

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.

National team

  • Release of updated CABIN database website.  See all the new features with improved functionality and accessibility
  • Development of CABIN Field Assistant Certification course. This is offered through other agencies and educational institutions.  If you are an instructor at a college/university and interested in incorporating CABIN field protocols into an existing field course/program, please contact us
  • Watch our instructional video on collecting invertebrates with a kick net in wadeable streams

What we are working on

  • Expansion of our mapping tool to allow users to quickly see where reference models are. It will provide links to associated reports, contacts and provide additional information about each model
  • Revision and review of CABIN Wetland Sampling preliminary document. It is based on initial field work in the St. Lawrence River, Prairie Pothole Region and Peace-Athabasca Delta to capture a range of wetland types
  • Development of a guidance document for data verification and validation. The document is intended to provide recommended quality assurance and quality control procedures for all users to ensure data quality with all aspects of data collection within their own CABIN projects
  • Watch for the next generation of CABIN assessment tools. New federal funding is supporting the development of a DNA-based CABIN assessment model for the Atlantic Region. Parallel activities are also underway in Ontario (South Nation watershed) and in Alberta (Peace-Athabasca Delta)

Science Team

The CABIN Science Team (ST) is an advisory committee to the National Team that provides advice and recommendations on improving the scope, effectiveness, efficiency, and scientific credibility of the CABIN program.

Specific roles of the Science Team

  • Provide a platform to share scientific opinions and information for CABIN
  • Identify and prioritize key technical, research, and scientific development issues for CABIN
  • Provide advice and recommendations on technical and scientific issues
  • Guide the development and implementation of new tools and methods and
  • Manage peer review of CABIN science procedures and documents

Current activities of the ST include reviewing proposed bioassessment models, developing improved bioassessment procedures, evaluating the potential application DNA methods for CABIN monitoring, developing national standards for use of GIS data, and developing a wetlands macroinvertebrate sampling protocol.

Members of the ST include monitoring and research scientists from Environment Canada’s Water Science and Technology Directorate and as well as external scientific experts from other agencies, universities, and consulting groups.

Members

  • Stephanie Strachan (Co-chair), Environment Canada, BC
  • Lee Grapentine, (Co-chair), Environment Canada, ON
  • Sheena Pappas, (Secretariat), Environment Canada, BC
  • John Bailey, Government of Yukon, YK
  • Wendy Monk, Environment Canada, NB
  • Robert Brua, Environment Canada, SK
  • Jan Ciborowski, University of Windsor, ON
  • Nancy Glozier, Environment Canada, SK
  • Adam Yates, Western University, ON

Media

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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