Stream Monitoring Using Aquatic Insects

Many people are participating in community and citizen science and volunteer stream monitoring. These individuals can make a difference by performing regular biological assessments of our local streams. Macroinvertebrates are excellent indicators of water quality and have been used to measure the health of freshwater rivers, streams and wetlands.  MBI has developed a one-day macroinvertebrate course aimed at volunteers and community or citizen scientists who might have a basic understanding of macroinvertebrates, and would like to expand their knowledge and possibly participate in environmental opportunities. This course also serves as an excellent tool for environmental educators to utilize as a basis for teaching others in these methods.

Common macroinvertebrates include worms, crayfish, snails, clams and many different insects.  Insects make up the majority of the organisms present, and include mayflies, stoneflies, damselflies and dragonflies, caddisflies, beetles and different types of midges. 

Recommended Background

No previous experience is necessary to take this course.  


This course will provide participants with a basic knowledge of macroinvertebrate collection and identification.  Those who complete this course will automatically be eligible for Level 1 Certification and will have the option for MBI to submit their information to Ohio EPA.  This course is designed for community and citizen scientists, volunteers, teachers and educators, or for those who would simply like to expand their knowledge about life  in our local streams.

Register soon as space is limited.  Lunch on Saturday is included!


Course Schedule

Friday Evening: Lab Instruction (5 PM – 8 PM) OPTIONAL (Included with Course Fee)

Includes detailed instruction on macroinvertebrate identification using reference material and dissecting microscopes. Lab instruction must be arranged in advance.


Saturday Morning: Classroom and Lab Instruction (9:30 AM – 12:30 PM)

We will cover many of the current volunteer methods of collecting macroinvertebrates at stream sites.  Hands-on identification of common aquatic insects and organisms will provide participants with the ability to identify common macroinvertebrates without the use of microscopes for the field portion. However, a few microscopes will be available in the classroom to assist in the identification process.  


Lunch and Networking: 12:30 – 1:30 PM (Lunch Provided by MBI)


Saturday Afternoon: Field Exploration (1:30 – 4:30 PM)

This session includes in-field instruction on macroinvertebrate sample collection.  We will include common methods of macroinvertebrate collection used by volunteer groups (such as ODNR Scenic Rivers and the Izaac Walton League).    Depending on stream conditions and the location of training, participants might need to travel separately to local field sites.