Groundwater level monitoring now underway in three new Volunteer Observation Wells

July has been a very busy month for the Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program. Groundwater level monitoring equipment has been installed in wells in Canal Flats, north of Skookumchuk, and south of Silverton.  Many thanks to the well owners for helping with equipment installation! Along with installation of equipment, Living Lakes Canada provided training to the well owners so they can view water level data in real-time and assist with the long-term data collection. 

The well in Canal Flats is in a sand and gravel aquifer between the Kootenay River and Columbia Lake. It is a unique aquifer as water is flowing underground in this area from the Kootenay River to Columbia Lake, crossing the surface watershed divide between the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers. For more information check out this report on groundwater contributions to Columbia Lake by the Columbia Lake Stewardship Society. The Village of Canal Flats uses this groundwater as its water supply. The groundwater level data being collected will help the Village manage its water utilities and will provide information on long-term groundwater level trends. 

The second set of monitoring equipment was installed approximately 16 km south of Canal Flats on the west side of Highway 95.  It is approximately 3 km east of the Kootenay River and represents groundwater level conditions in the valley bottom.    

The third set of equipment was installed on Red Mountain approximately 7.5 km south of Silverton. This is the second bedrock well in the program. There are now 16 wells with active groundwater level monitoring in the program and plans are underway to install at least three more later this summer. The majority of the wells are in sand and gravel, so we are excited to have a second bedrock well in the Program. The other bedrock well being monitored is in Blewett.

The Program aims to monitor groundwater across a range of geological, climatic, hydrological, and water use conditions across the Columbia Basin to gain a holistic understanding of groundwater conditions throughout the Basin.  

Learn more about our Groundwater Monitoring Program.

Click the images below to enlarge:

 

Lake Appreciation Month reflections

This year, the Province of BC joined Ontario and 11 U.S. states in proclaiming July as Lakes Appreciation Month to recognize the importance of protecting the health of lakes. 

According to the World Atlas website, BC has over 20,000 lakes stretching over 750,000 kilometres. British Columbia’s lakes provide drinking water, habitat for wildlife, energy, recreation, scenic beauty and essential connections to the natural world. 

“We are very pleased that the Provincial government acknowledged the need to honour our lakes by making a provincial declaration to this effect,” said Living Lakes Canada Executive Director Kat Hartwig. “Living Lakes Canada has supported the Province and co-authored the report on community-based water monitoring for lakes in BC.”   

Climate change is having a variety of impacts on lakes, from temperature increases to subsequent increased rates of harmful cyanobacteria blooms in eutrophic waters.  To assist with the monitoring of these irreplaceable natural lake ecosystems, Living Lakes Canada co-authored the 2018 report, An Integrated Lake Monitoring Framework for British Columbia, with the BC Lake Stewardship Society (BCLSS) in response to a request by the BC Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy. This report formed the terms of reference for the development of an integrated framework incorporating the existing BCLSS volunteer monitoring framework, known as the BC Lake Stewardship and Monitoring Program (BCLSMP), with the Province’s BC Lake Monitoring Network (BCLMN).

The report can be viewed here: http://livinglakescanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/ILMF-Final-Report.pdf

“It is essential that we all work to support the health of our lakes in our respective communities. Excellent government declarations such as this are important but what’s most critical are sound policies that support lake health to be implemented by decision makers,” said Hartwig. “We are also working with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to update the federal protocols for Sensitive Habitat Inventory Mapping on lake foreshores to determine where the most sensitive lake foreshore habitat is in order to provide decision makers with tools that included both Traditional Indigenous Knowledge and Western science to inform lake management plans to be incorporated into Official Community Plans for zoning guidelines. Issues such as illegal docks, buoys and retaining walls, along with unrestrained recreation and nutrient loading, all have negative health impacts on lakes ecosystems, which are already under accelerated  pressure from climate impacts.”

Photo caption: Moose feeding in Fish Lake, West Kootenays, BC by LLC Communications Manager Nicole Trigg

Friends of Kootenay Lake’s CABIN Training Program

Dates: July 29 - 30 2020
Times: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Pacific Time (PT)
Type: workshop
Location: Nelson, BC
Phone: 250-777-2744
Email: info@friendsofkootenaylake.ca

THIS EVENT IS INVITE-ONLY. 

This summer the Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society (FOKLSS) will be launching their latest citizen science water monitoring program on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake. This is year one of a three-year monitoring program that will involve a 2-day workshop and subsequent fieldwork in watersheds surrounding the West Arm. Citizen Scientists will attend a 2-day workshop on the CABIN (Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Inventory Network) protocol, co-hosted by Living Lakes Canada. This program will offer an opportunity for passionate water stewardship advocates to develop the skills to monitor their watershed. This program will also assist FOKLSS in obtaining valuable data on stream health on the West Arm. Friends of Kootenay Lake is one of many grassroots organizations joining a network of environmental professionals training everyday people to be active stewards in their watersheds. This free CABIN training is a great opportunity to grow your skillset, especially for environmental students or professionals who want to keep their skills relevant.

Columbia Basin Water Hub in testing phase

We are excited to present a new information handout explaining the Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Collaborative and the associated Columbia Basin Water Hub (click the cover image below to view or download the PDF):

As acting secretariat of the Monitoring Collaborative, Living Lakes Canada has hired Selkirk Student Santiago Botero as the Columbia Basin Water Hub Database Manager. Santiago will be available to support user groups in navigating the Water Hub, which has recently been provided with a logo:

 

 

TESTING PHASE: The Water Hub is currently in the testing phase, with How-To Videos and a User Guide in the works. 
 
GOVERNANCE: Until the Collaborative becomes a standalone entity, it will continue to be a project facilitated by Living Lakes Canada as its secretariat.

FRAMEWORK: On June 8, Living Lakes Canada coordinated and facilitated a workshop for senior hydrologists and water scientists from Provincial, Federal, private and academic sectors, with the goal of reaching consensus on a scientific framework to expand the water monitoring network of Canada’s Upper Columbia Basin. The proceedings and next steps will be posted onto the Living Lakes Canada website once completed in early August. View the meeting’s agenda.

FURTHER READING

Learn more about this project.

Find out about our collaboration with the FlowH2O pilot project. 

 

June 2020 News Stream

In light of National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, Living Lakes Canada extends our sincerest gratitude and respect to the First Nations communities we’ve partnered with that have been so critical to the development and success of our water monitoring programs. 
 
And we continue to be grateful to our funders and partners for their consideration and flexibility as we have had to make some adjustments to program scope in order to adapt to new limitations due to COVID-19. 

Web link: read the June 2020 News Stream

Lake inventories getting underway for FIMP project

Earlier this year, Living Lakes Canada entered a four-year Contribution Agreement with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and their Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk Program for a new Foreshore Integrated Management Planning (FIMP) project.

The overarching goal of this new Living Lakes Canada Project is to improve the quality and quantity of information about lake foreshore habitat integrity and species at risk in the Upper Columbia Basin. The project will review and revise the FIMP methodology and map (or re-map) 6-8 lakes in the Columbia Basin over the next four years to assess the rate of change in ecological and urban development parameters.

Living Lakes Canada recently awarded the lake inventory work for Year 1 to 3 different consultants: Ecoscape, Wood, and Masse. Big thanks to the (volunteer) proposal selection committee members from Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development (FLNRORD), DFO and Regional District of Central Kootenay, who helped the Living Lakes Canada FIMP team finalize the list.

Some other developments have been completed or are currently underway:

  • Additional technical review by Ktunaxa Nation Council on the Methods Report is pending.
  • The LLC FIMP team participated in a presentation (based on foreshore development guidelines reports) to FLNRORD.
  • A LLC FIMP team member completed some field reconnaissance to select lakes to assist with lake prioritization.
  • A questionnaire regarding “Lake Development Pressure” was circulated to FLNRORD staff to help assist with prioritization of which lakes to survey in the coming years. Results are pending (and thanks to Andrea Evans from FLNRORD in Nelson for handling the internal distribution).
  • The LLC FIMP has team submitted its first final report to DFO.

We’ve also made updates to the FIMP project page, including a List of Candidate Lakes.

And on May 7, 2020, acting Foreshore Integrated Management Planning (FIMP) program manager Ryan Cloutier with Living Lakes Canada provided an overview of the program in a webinar hosted by the Kootenay Lake Partnership for Provincial Government Staff who review applications related to lakeshore development. The clip below is the FIMP presentation. To view the full webinar, go to: https://youtu.be/W_B9-5ze3Kc

For more information about this project, or if you have any questions, please contact FIMP Program Manager Ryan Cloutier at ryan@livinglakescanada.ca.

Water monitoring technology: our involvement in the FlowH20 pilot project

 

The following is an excerpt from our recently published information handout about the Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Collaborative and associated Columbia Basin Water Hub. 

 

FlowH2O Pilot Project

Living Lakes Canada is a partner in FlowH2O, a Fresh Water Data Commons pilot project that aims to acquire, compile and process large amounts of water data in a flexible, cost-effective and scalable way to understand immediate water management needs.

Read the Project Announcement

With a suite of technologies that includes a digital platform, data sets and tools to utilize the data, FlowH20 will be able to digitize strategic water bodies in real time, ultimately providing a tool to help mitigate the effects of global water scarcity. 

The pilot is partially funded by Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster and led by Carl Data Solutions and its subsidiaries Astra Smart Systems and i4C Innovation.

The FlowH2O pilot is a business model that includes the development and/or integration of tools. One of them is testing for efficiencies in a sub-basin water balance model. This is done by placing a system of collection devices (low-power, low-cost sensors and telemetry) that collect, store and analyze data in real-time together with aggregated existing data sources. The ultimate goal is to reach a 90%+ accuracy level on a real-time generated water balance report. This will be achieved by performing a comparative analysis with traditional water balance tools and looking at the level of accuracy of subsequent machine learning and artificial intelligence generated reports.

The pilot has an environmental DNA (eDNA) research component with the aim of determining the spatial extent of a select group of water or wetland-based target species. The eDNA can be captured by properly filtering a water sample and lab analysis. The data can offer more information for local restoration or monitoring projects while improving eDNA research techniques.

The technology and innovation developed for the FlowH2O pilot by its multiple partners, and its testing in the Columbia Basin through communities and water stewardship groups, heralds a new frontier in digital water management, positioning Canada at the forefront of water resource management excellence.

 

Pilot Project Partners

FlowH2O is a consortium of six organizations that was formed in 2019 with support of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster:

            • Carl Data Solutions and its subsidiaries i4C Innovation and Astra Smart Systems
            • Living Lakes Canada
            • Teck Resources
            • University of Victoria
            • Genome BC
            • Microsoft

 

Join our Team! We are hiring a Director of Fundraising and Operations!

 

Director of Fundraising and Operations

Living Lakes Canada is seeking a full-time Director of Fundraising and Operations to join our growing team who are all incredibly dedicated and passionate about all things water!

  • Location: The applicant can be based from anywhere in Canada, but preference will be given to applicants who live in British Columbia and specifically in the Columbia Basin where many of our projects are currently located. Our office is located in Nelson, BC where the majority of our staff work. Ideally, the successful candidate will be able to periodically visit the office for meetings.
  • Salary Range: $60,000 – $70,000 depending on experience 
  • Application Deadline: The deadline to apply is July 10, 2020. Preference will be given to candidates who are able to start on July 20.

 

About Living Lakes Canada:

Living Lakes Canada bridges the gap between science and action to foster citizen-based water stewardship. Our mandate is to help Canadians understand the intimate connections between water quantity, water quality, land-use, climate change, biodiversity, and healthy human communities by building a water stewardship ethic that we can be proud of.

Living Lakes Canada is affiliated with Living Lakes International, a global network of over 120 non-government organizations that share the mission to enhance the protection, restoration and rehabilitation of lakes, rivers, wetlands and watersheds throughout the world. Living Lakes Canada is a registered BC Society and charitable organization.

 

Position Description:

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Fundraising and Operations (DFO) will be responsible for managing and overseeing fundraising within the organization to ensure financial health. The DFO will also support the overall strategic and operational leadership of LLC. Key responsibilities will include leading fundraising, promoting the organizational vision and mission, fostering a culture of collegiality, collaboration, mentorship and learning, being an effective communicator on behalf of the organization and it’s programs.

 

Responsibilities:

Fundraising

  • Develop strong relationships with existing and new funding partners in addition to researching, writing, and submitting funding proposals and reports.
  • Oversees implementation of a fundraising plan, sourcing of funds and the allocation of fiscal and material resources.
  • Tracking all grant deadlines and managing and supporting each Program Manager in applying for grants.

Operations and Human Resource Leadership

  • Guides staff and contractors to execute and report on annual operational plans and key performance indicators.
  • Ensures that all business is managed in an effective, efficient, open and transparent manner and that all contractual obligations are fulfilled.
  • Supports management and review of contractor and employee reporting.
  • Supports the management of all human resources including the implementation of progressive and fiscally sound policies and procedures; and the recruitment, hiring, termination, supervision, training, development, evaluations and compensation of staff and contractors. This will be done in collaboration with the Administrative Director of the organization.

 

Core Competencies:

  • Experience leading successful fundraising campaigns and sourcing continuous revenue.
  • A proven and effective agent for social and/or environmental change.
  • Strong interpersonal skills that inspire commitment, collaboration and teamwork.
  • Communicates effectively, both verbally and in writing, with diverse audiences and the media.
  • Adaptable, strategic thinker with the capacity to manage and lead change.
  • Capacity to identify common interests and negotiate solutions involving diverse stakeholders.
  • Trustworthy leadership stature, projecting confidence and composure.
  • Trustworthy leader who demonstrates openness, trust, ethics and integrity.
  • Results oriented business and organizational development skills with the capacity to identify and act on opportunities.
  • Models, inspires and nurtures a learning orientation and culture.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to the empowerment, development and mentoring of staff.
  • Commitment to building effective and inclusive networks to further organizational goals.

 

Qualifications:

A graduate degree in a relevant field such as environmental studies, politics, public policy, or communications and a minimum of 5 years of leadership roles within a not-for-profit organization, or an equivalent of education, training and experience. 

Preference will be given to applicants with a background in water.

 

To Apply:

Please submit a resume and cover letter with references to avery@livinglakescanada.ca no later than July 10, 2020 at 5 p.m. PST.

 

STREAM program paused, closed CABIN trainings continue

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). 

Living Lakes Canada has been working closely with the STREAM team to develop appropriate social distancing strategies and protocols for this field season. Although our courses in collaboration with participants in Whitehorse, Yukon; Kenora, Ontario; and Ottawa, Ontario have been postponed to 2021, many of the field certification courses within B.C. are still going forward. This field season we are collaborating with the:

  • Binche Whut’en First Nation and the Firelight Group to host a closed CABIN training in Fort St. James for Nation members. 
  • Friends of Kootenay Lake to lead a closed CABIN course in Nelson, BC to support their Kootenay Lake tributaries monitoring project. 
  • Shuswap Indian Band members to host a CABIN training as part of the Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partnership project. Living Lakes Canada will support trainees to monitor 15 tributaries to the Columbia Wetlands and collect DNA data alongside. 

The University of Guelph is still closed due to COVID-19. At this time, 2019 STREAM samples are not being analyzed. This has caused a delay in reporting to 2019 STREAM partners.

We want to thank all our partners that are waiting patiently for their 2019 reports. We are asking that groups that are planning to sample for the 2020 field season ensure that they have enough freezer space to store all of their samples until the lab opens up. Once benthic samples have been preserved immediately after collection, they can last in the freezer for up to 6 months. It is not known when the University of Guelph will reopen to allow for sample analysis.

Further Reading

STREAM Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about STREAM on our website.

 

STREAM: Frequently Asked Questions

STREAM (Sequencing the Rivers for Environmental Assessment and Monitoring: www.stream-dna.com) is a community-based project that involves the collection of benthic macroinvertebrates from rivers across Canada to generate a better understanding of the health of river systems. STREAM is a collaboration between Living Lakes Canada (LLC) World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the University of Guelph.

This FAQ is organized by the following topics:

  • Background
  • Training
  • Sample Collection
  • Analysis

DOWNLOAD FAQ AS A PDF

BACKGROUND

  1. What does STREAM stand for?

Sequencing The Rivers for Environmental Assessment And Monitoring. This project aims to validate DNA metabarcoding as the mainstream approach to be routinely implemented by ECCC and WWF-Canada/LLC for generating biodiversity data for freshwater benthic macroinvertebrates.

  1. Who are the main partner organizations involved in the STREAM project?

The STREAM project is a collaboration between World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada, Living Lakes Canada (LLC), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and the Hajibabaei Lab in Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (University of Guelph). The project is, in part, funded by Genome Canada.

  1. What is DNA metabarcoding and how it is being used in the STREAM project?

For the STREAM project, DNA metabarcoding is being used to characterize the DNA of benthic macroinvertebrates collected from a bulk sample in order to identify taxa present. To analyze, samples are blended together, and DNA is then extracted from the collective biomass, amplified and compared to a known library to identify which taxa of organisms are present.  

  1. Is special sampling equipment required to collect DNA samples?

No. Benthic macroinvertebrate samples are collected following the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) Field Manual – Wadeable Streams 2012, with modifications to minimize DNA contamination and preserve the sample. These modifications are outlined in the STREAM Procedure for collecting benthic macroinvertebrate DNA samples in wadeable streams.

  1. Has DNA metabarcoding, using benthic macroinvertebrates, been tested or verified?

Yes. DNA metabarcoding has been widely used and verified prior to this project. Please see Publications page of the STREAM website for examples. This project is investigating the potential for DNA metabarcoding application in routine biological monitoring and assessment, with participants ranging from scientists to community groups.

Yes, DNA metabarcoding is potentially faster and less expensive than morphological taxonomic identification given the capacity to analyze samples in bulk. DNA metabarcoding provides an enhanced picture of benthic macroinvertebrate biodiversity due finer taxonomic resolution; however, this resolution is dependent on the accuracy and completeness of the DNA library. DNA metabarcoding is also unable to provide abundance information; delivering only presence/absence results. At this time, it is not possible to measure benthic macroinvertebrate abundance from a DNA sample. DNA metabarcoding currently provides presence information only. Alternatively, the conventional method based on morphology provides both presence and abundance information for the benthic macroinvertebrate communities.

  1. How is DNA metabarcoding different from other eDNA projects?

With DNA metabarcoding, actual samples of organisms are collected while eDNA usually looks at DNA traces present in sampled water, sediment, soil or feces.

For the STREAM project, benthic invertebrate samples are collected, pooled and homogenized to generate a slurry from which DNA is extracted.  A small, well-characterized genetic region, known as a “barcode”, is amplified from this DNA and sequenced for comparison against a library of catalogued barcodes. This comparison is used to identify the taxa present in the sample.

Targeted eDNA analysis, by contrast, is a species-specific method used to screen environmental materials, such as water or sediment, for the presence of DNA originating from specific organisms.  Given the targeted nature of the analysis, it is best suited for the detection of species at risk or invasive species, rather than biodiversity assessment.

  1. What is the benefit of biomonitoring?

Biomonitoring is an effective tool to measure environmental health because it evaluates the condition and composition of living organisms in a given ecosystem. It is based on the idea that living organisms are sensitive to change or environmental stress and, ultimately, indicators of environmental health. While biological indicators are able to provide a signal of environmental stress, detailed investigations are required to determine the cause of the stress.

  1. What are the benefits of using benthic macroinvertebrates in biomonitoring?

The use of benthic macroinvertebrates as indicators of aquatic ecosystem health is advantageous because:

  • They reflect local impacts due to their tendency to stay in a small area, experiencing constant exposure from local pollutants.
  • They reflect cumulative effects due to their relatively long lifespan (1-3 years)
  • They are universal
  • They are ecologically significant
  • They are well-characterized/well-studied

 

TRAINING

  1. How can I get involved in the STREAM project?

Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) Training is a prerequisite to participate in the STREAM project.

Benthic macroinvertebrate collection for STREAM, is based on CABIN methods with some modifications to minimize DNA contamination and preserve the sample. CABIN Training and Certification can be completed through the CABIN program or through one of the STREAM field training courses. For further information related to CABIN Training, which is led by ECCC and offered in association with the Canadian Rivers Institute (CRI), refer to the CABIN website.

Once participants are trained in CABIN methods, The STREAM Procedure for collecting benthic macroinvertebrate DNA samples in wadeable streams is explained in person, during the STREAM field training course.

Training or certification levels will depend on the level of certification required for a given group. Please refer to the CABIN and CRI website for further information about CABIN certification levels.

If you are interested in joining the STREAM project, please send an email outlining your name, location, desired involvement and timeline to Raegan at Living Lakes Canada: raegan@livinglakescanada.ca

  1. How much does CABIN Training and Certification cost?

Costs associated with CABIN Training depend on level of training or certification required. For further information please refer to the CABIN website and CRI website.

There are no additional training costs associated with the STREAM sampling protocols. STREAM Procedure for collecting benthic macroinvertebrate DNA samples in wadeable streams can be provided after CABIN Training or explained during a CABIN-STREAM field training course.

  1. What equipment do I need for STREAM training?

Participants are expected to bring waders, pencils, clipboards and appropriate outerwear for the two-day field course.

  1. How long does the CABIN certification last?

CABIN training involves a combination of online modules held by the Canadian Rivers Institute and a 2 day field practicum for the data collection techniques. However, there is also a field assistant level where participants only complete the 2 day field practicum portion. These participants then have 2 years to upgrade their training to either field tech of project manager level.

 

SAMPLE COLLECTION

  1. How does my organization benefit from participating in the STREAM project?

The STREAM project offers support to participating organizations including equipment allocation, field training, sample collection and shipping. Samples contributed to the project will be analyzed at the University of Guelph at no cost. Your organization will also receive a benthic macroinvertebrate data report from the University of Guelph for the samples collected.

  1. When is sampling conducted and how much sampling should be done?

Benthic macroinvertebrate samples can be collected for DNA analysis any time of the year, dependent on the safe access and wadeability of streams. This is different from CABIN protocol where sampling is focused on late summer – early fall.

The collection of three distinct biological replicate samples is recommended at each site. Replicate samples are collected by sampling in a riffle (3 minute kick-net) and then repeating this two more times within the same riffle, with each sample collected upstream of the last. These samples are used for quality assurance and quality control purposes and provide more statistical flexibility for data analysis and interpretation. Refer to our replicate guide on the STREAM website for more information.

Ensure replicate samples are labeled properly, using the STREAM label format, site name followed by A, B or C.

  1. How are benthic macroinvertebrate DNA samples preserved?

Benthic macroinvertebrate DNA samples should be preserved using denatured alcohol at a concentration greater than 90%. This includes rubbing alcohol (ethanol anhydrous, isopropynol etc.) that can be purchased over the counter at drug stores.

DO NOT USE FORMALIN to preserve a benthic macroinvertebrate DNA sample.

  1. How do I decontaminate equipment?

Please see the STREAM Procedure for collecting benthic macroinvertebrate DNA samples in wadeable streams for required equipment and instructions on how to properly decontaminate sampling equipment.

  1. Why is decontamination of sample equipment so important?

Benthic sampling and processing equipment should be decontaminated between each use to prevent the transfer of DNA-containing material between samples.

  1. How do I properly label sample jars?

Each sample jar requires key information to ensure it is properly identified. Both the container and lid require labeling. Key information may be transcribed directly on the jar, on a piece of masking tape or on a STREAM label. Include the following information with a permanent marker:

  • Sampling date (MM/DD/YYYY)
  • CABIN Code of site
  • Sample Preservative
  • Sample jar number (e.g. 1 of 3, 2 of 3, 3 of 3)
  • Replicate Letter IF replicates were taken (A, B, C)

Please refer to the STREAM Shipping SOP for further detail.

  1. How are samples handled in the field and during shipping?

The proper handing and shipping of benthic macroinvertebrate samples is outlined in the STREAM Shipping Standard Operation Procedure (SOP). Please refer to this document for details.

Prior to shipping, notify the University of Guelph (Chloe Robinson, chloer@uguelph.ca) by filling out both a hard and electronic copy of the STREAM Sample Manifest with the required sample information.

Samples must be shipped by a GROUND courier (such as Purolator) following Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) requirements.

The TDG Act and Regulations are designed to promote public safety when goods are handled and/or transported by road, rail, air, or water. The denatured alcohol used to preserve benthic macroinvertebrate DNA samples falls under the TDG Act and Regulations and has special requirement for handling and shipping. Please make yourself aware of the requirements for handling and shipping according to the TDG Act and Regulations: https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/legisl/tdg/tdg_overview.html

 

ANALYSIS

  1. How long does it take to get results (i.e. benthic macroinvertebrate identifications) from DNA sample analysis?

STREAM benthic macroinvertebrate DNA samples are analyzed at the Hajibabaei Lab at the University of Guelph. Typically, sample analysis can take approximately 2 months, however, is dependent on other factors such as lab capacity. Sample analysis may be delayed between September and November due to increased workload from seasonal biomonitoring programs. Consequently, submission of samples immediately following collection is encouraged to reduce sample backlog. We encourage groups to send samples as they are collected to avoid all samples needing to be processed in the fall & winter periods.

  1. What can I expect in the results from the DNA sample analysis?

It is possible to identify benthic macroinvertebrates to the species level, however this is dependent on the completeness and accuracy of the DNA library. At this time, there are some DNA sequences that are not yet associated with an identified species.

To ensure accuracy of taxa classification it is also sometimes more appropriate to identify taxa at a higher taxonomic level (e.g. genus as opposed to species). Work is on-going to improve DNA library information.

  1. What is taxonomic classification?

Taxonomic classification concerns the level of which organisms (e.g. benthic macroinvertebrates) are classified. For example, the spiny crawler mayfly species, Drunella coloradensis, would have the following classification:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class:  Insecta
  • Order:  Ephemeroptera
  • Family: Ephemerellidae
  • Genus: Drunella
  • Species: Drunella coloradensis
  1. What is a DNA library?

A DNA library is a collection of DNA sequences from different organisms. These libraries often match morphologically identified specimens with their corresponding DNA sequence.

An example of a DNA library is the Barcode Of Life Datasystem (BOLD): http://www.boldsystems.org/index.php.

  1. How can I analyze my STREAM DNA results?

There are currently no analytical tools available through the CABIN Database to analyze benthic macroinvertebrate data based on DNA metabarcoding identifications. The results from DNA metabarcoding identification (taxa lists) will eventually be stored in the CABIN database under the STREAM-BERGE project. This project is examining the potential application of DNA metabarcoding in the context of biomonitoring for CABIN, including the development of analytical tools for data analysis.

At the University of Guelph, STREAM samples are analyzed using the latest DNA analysis pipelines and a report is generated with information on total number of phyla, classes, orders, families, genera and species as well as taxa tables highlighting bioindicator species (i.e. species which suggest the water quality status).

  1. Is it possible to see a STREAM data report?

An example STREAM data report template is available for distribution. Please contact us if you would like a copy.

***

If you have any additional questions not covered in this FAQ, please contact us at raegan@livinglakescanada.ca.

 

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