Course: Biomonitoring of Streams and Rivers

ENT 469

Summer Semester - 2 Weeks (3 credits) at Kellogg Biological Station

Course Description

"Biological monitoring can be defined as the systematic use of biological responses to evaluate changes in the environment" (Rosenberg and Resh 1993). The use of biomonitoring to assess stream water quality has become an accepted and standardized procedure by almost all government agencies that deal with environmental issues. Even so, the field is still coming into it's own and many techniques are in the developmental stage. This course is intended to provide students with a practical knowledge of current techniques used in biomonitoring of streams and rivers. An emphasis will be placed on the assessment of taxonomic groups of benthic organisms, particularly macroinvertebrates since this group is central to almost all biomonitoring programs. However, techniques in the assessment of stream physiochemical parameters, detritus processing, as well as fish, algal and microbial communities will be also presented.

Rich With Students Web Sampling Water Web


1. To become familiar with techniques used to assess basic physiochemical water quality parameters, stream morphology, and habitat characteristics.

2. To become familiar with techniques used to sample, identify, and quantify 'indicator' populations and taxonomic groups of organisms found in streams.

3. To become familiar with examples of rapids bioassessment techniques used by government agencies for water quality assessment.

4. To compile a reference notebook detailing methods used in the above objectives. This notebook would serve as a primary reference for the student's future work in stream biomonitoring.

5. To be able to formulate a sampling/study plan for the assessment of water quality in streams.

Previous instructors and areas of expertise:

Dr. Marty Berg, Biology Dept., Loyola Univ. Chicago Midge Taxonomy, Aquatic Ecology

Dr. Tom Burton, Zoology Dept., MSU - Freshwater Ecosystem Ecology, Stream Chemistry

Dr. Ken Cummins, Fisheries Dept., Humboldt State Univ., CA - Aquatic Insect Ecology

Dr. Mike Kaufman, Entomology Dept., MSU - Microbial Ecology, Stream Ecology

Dr. Rich Merritt, Entomology Dept., MSU - Aquatic Entomology, Stream Ecology

Dr. Chris Peterson, Nat. Science Dept., Loyola Univ. Chicago - Freshwater Algal Ecology

Dr. Jan Stephenson, Zoology Dept., MSU - Freshwater Algae, Aquatic Systems Ecology

Dr. Peggy Wilzbach, Fisheries Dept., Humboldt State Univ., CA - Fish Biology

Staff from the MI DEQ Water Quality Division - Fish and macroinvertebrate identification, use of current state and federal bioindices of water quality

Literature cited:

Rosenberg, D.M., and V.H. Resh, eds. 1993. Freshwater Biomonitoring and Benthic Macroinvertebrates. Chapman & Hall. Pg. 3.