Title: The Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network
Author: Jones, Chris; Craig, Brian; Dmytrow, Nicole;
Source: In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 455-461
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Description: Canada’s Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Environment Canada (Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network) are developing an aquatic macroinvertebrate biomonitoring network for Ontario’s lakes, streams, and wetlands. We are building the program, called the Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network (OBBN), on the principles of partnership, free data sharing, and standardization. This paper discusses the importance of biomonitoring, describes why benthos are commonly used as indicators of aquatic ecosystem condition, explains the complementarity of biological and chemical assessments, details OBBN components, and lists some research needs. The paper is framed by several themes: inclusiveness, partnerships, capacity building, and creating effective links between monitoring and decision-making.
Traditionally there has been an individualistic approach to Biomonitoring in Ontario, with little communication between practitioners. This lack of coordination has limited the application of biomonitoring in the past, chiefly because no mechanism for sharing and comparing data existed, and because there was no consistent training. Based on approaches used in the U.K., Australia, and the U.S.A., the OBBN will overcome these difficulties by specifying standard methods (with options for tailoring programs to match expertise and financial resources), enabling data sharing between partners, automating assessments, and providing training.
Biological criteria for evaluating aquatic ecosystem condition are generally not available. The OBBN uses a reference-condition approach (RCA) to define biocriteria: samples from minimally impacted (reference) sites define an expectation (for example, the normal range) for biological condition at a test site. Assessments evaluate whether a test site’s biological condition is within the normal range. The OBBN’s automated analytical tools and a protocol that balances flexibility with standardization will allow the citizen scientist and university academic to do bioassessments of similar calibre. New partnerships, and the ability to generate local information on aquatic ecosystem condition, will build capacity for adaptive water management and enhance the link between science and decision making.
Keywords: monitoring, assessment, sustainability, Western Hemisphere, sustainable management, ecosystem resources, Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Environment Canada, Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network (OBBN)
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Jones, Chris; Craig, Brian; Dmytrow, Nicole 2006. The Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network. In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 455-461
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