2017 Ontario Fish Identification Workshops

If you are a fisheries biologist or a student registered in a fisheries biology program, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Department of Natural History, is providing an opportunity to improve your fish identification skills. The workshops are designed primarily for professionals, technicians, field biologists, and environmental consultants -- but other interested individuals, including university and college students, are welcome.

Presentations and hands-on exercises will familiarize you with the characteristics that are used in distinguishing families, genera, and species.  Exercises will develop your skills of counting, measuring, and examining the pertinent anatomical structures that are necessary to use keys to Ontario’s fishes. Experienced individuals will be on hand to assist you with exercises, provide advice, and access the specimens housed in the reference collection.

Three-day Introductory Workshop

This workshop will cover the broad array of Ontario fish families and provide an opportunity to develop specialized knowledge of a group of interest.

Four-day Introductory Workshop

This workshop will cover the same information as the 3-day introductory workshops but has an additional one day in the field (Speed/Eramosa rivers) with Jason Barnucz from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and ROM staff. A presentation on preservation, documentation, photographing and sampling tissues for genetic studies will also be given in the field.

Two-day Species-at-Risk Workshop

This workshop will focus on the identification of fishes classified as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern. Groups covered include gars, whitefishes, minnows, suckers, madtoms, darters, and sunfishes. Emphasis will be placed on how to assess the distinguishing characteristics and comparison with similar species. Completion of at least a 3-day introductory workshop is required for participation in this workshop. Presentations will include information on habitat. Jason Barnucz of Fisheries and Oceans Canada will be a guest instructor for this special workshop.

Three-day Minnow Workshop

This workshop will focus exclusively on Ontario’s minnow fauna primarily through guided hands-on exercises and presentations, which show live minnows. Preserved specimens of both adult and juvenile cyprinids of all Ontario’s 40 species are available so that you can compare closely related species and practice keying out species both individually and as a group. There will be an introductory presentation that will focus on anatomical features used to identify the Cyprinidae, but it is highly recommended that you take one of the introductory workshops before taking this workshop

Time and Place

All workshops will begin promptly at 9 AM and end at 5 PM: 

  • April 11 - 13 (introductory 3-day workshop)                   
  • April 19 - 21  (minnows workshop)
  • April 25 - 28 (introductory 4-day workshop)
  • May 1 - 3 (introductory 3-day workshop)
  • May 4 - 5 (2-day fish species at risk workshop)

Place: University of Guelph, Science Complex, Room 2304 (highlighted in green on attached map)

Full Workshop Description (PDF)

Registration Form (PDF)

Registration Form (MS Word doc)