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NABS Taxonomic Certification Program

       The taxonomy of aquatic macroinvertebrates has played a major role in the transition of the North American Benthological Society (NABS) into a successful international scientific organization. The accurate and precise identification and classification of organisms provides the foundation for many ecological investigations of streams, rivers, and lakes, including biological assessment and monitoring programs aimed at evaluating the quality of habitat and water.

     High quality taxonomy is crucial to credible ecological studies and reliable bioassessment programs. However, there is concern that (A) there are many errors and inaccuracies associated with the taxonomy of some on-going programs; (B) there is no recognized protocol in North America for evaluating the taxonomic ability of people identifying invertebrates; and (C) academic support for faculty positions and student training related to non-molecular, organismal taxonomy is declining. These concerns have been expressed to the NABS leadership by a number of state and federal agencies (e.g., Kentucky, North Carolina; Environment Canada, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Geological Survey) involved in environmental regulation and monitoring as well as by individuals involved in both basic and applied scientific research.

     Consequently, the NABS decided to implement a certification program for those involved with invertebrate identification in North America. This program will certify that trained and skilled persons are providing aquatic invertebrate identifications. In addition, it is anticipated that this program will help promote undergraduate and graduate training of new taxonomic experts, the training of taxonomic technicians through workshops, the development of new manuals for identifying aquatic invertebrates, and taxonomic excellence in other disciplines and other parts of the world. The certification program will test a candidate's knowledge and skills in aquatic invertebrate taxonomy and will provide the successful applicant with a certificate of proficiency. The program is administered on behalf of NABS through the Irving Academy of the Environment at Acadia University.

     There are three levels in the certification process, Self Evaluation, "Family Level" (Level 1), and "Genus Level" (Level 2) that may be undertaken independently or in a step-wise fashion, as needed.

     To begin, select the options on the side bar.

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Suggested Keys for Group 1 (Other Arthropods):

 

Coleoptera:

Arnett, R. H. Jr. and  M. C. Thomas. 2001.  Editors. American Beetles.  Volume 1.  Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adephaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia. CRC Press, Boca Raton, London, New York and Washington, D.C. xv + 443 pp. + 2 colour plates.

 

Arnett, R. H. Jr. ,  M. C. Thomas, P.E. Skelly and J.H. Frank. 2002. . Editors. American Beetles.  Volume 2.  Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea. CRC Press, Boca Raton, London, New York and Washington, D.C. xv + 861 pp. + 4 colour plates

 

Brigham, W. U.  Aquatic Coleoptera. pp. 10.14-10.136 in A. R. Brigham, W. U. Brigham, & A. Gnika (eds.). Aquatic insects and oligochaetes of North and South Carolina. Midwest Aquatic Enterprises. Mahomet, Illinois.

 

Epler, J. H. 1996. Identification manual for the water beetles of Florida. Bureau of Water Resource Protection, Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Tallahassee.

 

Gordon, R. D. & R. L. Post. 1965. North Dakota water beetles. North Dakota Insects 5:1-53.

 

Hilsenhoff, W. L. 1992. Dytiscidae and Noteridae of Wisconsin (Coleoptera). I. Introduction, key to genera of adults, and distribution, habitat, life cycle, and identification of species of Agabetinae, Laccophilinae and Noteridae. Great Lakes Entomologist 25:57-69.

 

Hilsenhoff, W. L. 1993a. Dytiscidae and Noteridae of Wisconsin (Coleoptera).  II. Distribution, habitat, life cycle, and identification of Dytiscinae. Great Lakes Entomologist 26:35-53.

 

Hilsenhoff, W. L. 1993b. Dytiscidae and Noteridae of Wisconsin (Coleoptera). III. Distribution, habitat, life cycle, and identification of Colymbetinae, except Agabini. Great Lakes Entomologist 26:121-136.

 

Hilsenhoff, W. L. 1993c. Dytiscidae and Noteridae of Wisconsin (Coleoptera). IV. Distribution, habitat, life cycle, and identification of Agabini (Colymbetinae). Great Lakes Entomologist 26:173-197.

 

Hilsenhoff, W. L. 1994. Dytiscidae and Noteridae of Wisconsin (Coleoptera). V. Distribution, habitat, life cycle, and identification of Hydroporinae, except Hydroporus Clairville sensu lato. Great Lakes Entomologist 26:275-295.

 

Hilsenhoff, W. L. 1995. Dytiscidae and Noteridae of Wisconsin (Coleoptera). VI. Distribution, habitat, life cycle, and identification of species of Hydroporus Clairville sensu lato (Hydroporinae). Great Lakes Entomologist 28:1-23.

 

Larson, D. J. Y. Alarie, & R. E. Roughley. 2000. Predacious diving beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae) of the Nearctic Region, with emphasis on the fauna of Canada and Alaska.  NRC Press. Ottawa. 982 pp.

 

Leech, H. B. & H. P. Chandler. 1956. Aquatic Coleoptera. pp. 293-371. in R. L. Usinger (ed.). Aquatic insects of California with keys to North American genera and California species. University of California Press. Berkeley.

 

Malcolm, S. E. 1971. The water beetles of Maine: Including the families Gyrinidae, Halplidae, Dytiscidae, Noteridae, and Hydrophilidae. University of Maine, Life Sciences and Agriculture Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 48. 49 pp.

 

Roughley, R. E. 2001a. Gyrinidae Latreille, 1810. pp. 133-137 in R. H. Arnett & M. C. Thomas (eds.). American beetles Volume 1: Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adelphaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia. CRC Press. New York.

 

Roughley, R. E. 2001b. Haliplidae Aubé, 1836. pp.138-143 in R. H. Arnett & M. C. Thomas (eds.). American beetles Volume 1: Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adelphaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia. CRC Press. New York.

 

Roughley, R. E. 2001c. Noteridae C. G. Thompson, 1857. pp. 147-152 in R. H. Arnett & M. C. Thomas (eds.). American beetles Volume 1: Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adelphaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia. CRC Press. New York.

 

Roughley, R. E. & D. J. Larson. 2001. Dytiscidae Leach, 1815. pp. 156-186 in R. H. Arnett & M. C. Thomas (eds.). American beetles Volume 1: Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adelphaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia. CRC Press. New York.

 

Larson, D. J. Y. Alarie, & R. E. Roughley. 2000. Predacious diving beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae) of the Nearctic Region, with emphasis on the fauna of Canada and Alaska.  NRC Press. Ottawa. 982 pp.

 

Leech, H. B. & H. P. Chandler. 1956. Aquatic Coleoptera. pp. 293-371. in R. L. Usinger (ed.). Aquatic insects of California with keys to North American genera and California species. University of California Press. Berkeley.

 

Malcolm, S. E. 1971. The water beetles of Maine: Including the families Gyrinidae, Halplidae, Dytiscidae, Noteridae, and Hydrophilidae. University of Maine, Life Sciences and Agriculture Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 48. 49 pp.

 

Roughley, R. E. 2001a. Gyrinidae Latreille, 1810. pp. 133-137 in R. H. Arnett & M. C. Thomas (eds.). American beetles Volume 1: Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adelphaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia. CRC Press. New York.

 

Roughley, R. E. 2001b. Haliplidae Aubé, 1836. pp.138-143 in R. H. Arnett & M. C. Thomas (eds.). American beetles Volume 1: Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adelphaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia. CRC Press. New York.

 

Roughley, R. E. 2001c. Noteridae C. G. Thompson, 1857. pp. 147-152 in R. H. Arnett & M. C. Thomas (eds.). American beetles Volume 1: Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adelphaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia. CRC Press. New York.

 

Roughley, R. E. & D. J. Larson. 2001. Dytiscidae Leach, 1815. pp. 156-186 in R. H. Arnett & M. C. Thomas (eds.). American beetles Volume 1: Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adelphaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia. CRC Press. New York.

 

Odonata

 

Westfall, M. J., Jr. and M. L. May. 1996. Damselflies of North America. Scientfic Publishers, Gainesville, FL. 649 pp. Needham, J. G., M. J., Westfall, Jr.,

 

M. L. May. 2000. Dragonflies of North America. Scientfic Publishers, Gainesville, FL. 939 pp.

 

 

 

 

Diptera

 

Merritt, R. W. & K. W. Cummins (eds.). 1996. An introduction to the aquatic insects of North America. 3rd ed. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Dubuque, Iowa. 862 pp. [an updated 4th edition goes to the publisher this year]. will permit the identification of all aquatic Diptera to family and most to genus.  References to species identification are included in this book:

 

Useful keys to genus and species that have been published since the 1996 edition of Merritt & Cummins are the following:

 

Blephariceridae:

Courtney, G. W. 2000. Revision of the net-winged midges of the genus Blepharicera Macquart (Diptera: Blephariceridae) of eastern North America. Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Washington 23:  1-99.

 

Culicidae:

Darsie, R. F. & R. A. Ward. 2004. Identification and geographical distribution of the mosquitoes: of North America, north of Mexico. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 400 pp.

 

 

Simuliiidae:

Adler, P. H., D. C. Currie & D. M. Wood. 2004. The black flies (Simuliidae) of North America. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. xv + 941 pp. + 24 color plates.

 

Thaumaleidae:

Sinclair, B. J. 1996. A review of the Thaumaleidae (Diptera: Culicomorpha) of eastern North America, including a redefinition of the genus Androprosopa Mik. Entomologica Scandinavica 27: 361-376.

 

Crustacea:

Christopher Rogers, “Manual to the Freshwater Crustacea of Western North America” available from landerson@ecoanalysts.com for $22.50 plus shipping

 

 

Trombidiformes (mites )

 

Hydrachnidia chapter by Bruce Smith in Peckarsky, B. L., P. Fraissinet, M. A. Penton, and D. J. Conklin, Jr. 1990. Freshwater macroinvertebrates of Northeastern North America. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.

 

Smith, Cook and Smith on Arachnida in Thorp, J. H. and A.P. Covich (eds.). 2001. Ecology and classification of North American freshwater invertebrates. Second Edition, Academic Press, San Diego.

 

 

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