2022 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.

We are hoping to be able to return to our usual workshop format this year of in-person instruction all days of each workshop at the University of Guelph, but everything depends on the status of the COVID pandemic and whether restrictions are still in place in April. If we are unable to use the U. Guelph facilities, the workshops will be held again at our Oakville storage location, and class size will be limited to comply with any restrictions and ensure that physical distancing is possible. The format will be different if the workshops move to the Oakville location, with the lectures being sent to participants ahead of time as PowerPoint presentations, and then two days of hands-on exercises on-site in our lab.

  • Introductory workshop: April 11-13 – 9 AM to 5 PM
  • 4-day Introductory Workshop: April 11-14 - 9 AM to 5 PM (includes a day in the field)
  • Introductory workshop: April 18-20, 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Species at Risk workshop: April 21-22, 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Minnows Workshop: May 3-5, 9 AM to 5 PM

Introductory Workshop

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 identification 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.

Species-at-Risk Workshop

This workshop will focus on the identification of Ontario 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. Presentations will include information on habitat. Completion of the introductory workshop is required for participation in this workshop. 

Minnow Workshop

This workshop will focus exclusively on Ontario’s minnow fauna primarily through guided hands-on exercises and presentations. 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 minnows, but it is highly recommended that you take the introductory workshop before taking this workshop.

Full Workshop Description (.docx)

Registration Form (.docx)