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 SFS 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 SFS 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 SFS through Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
Individuals may be certified either at the "Family Level" or "Genus Level". Genus level testing is conducted using actual specimens either whole or slide mounted in a scheduled certification examination. The Genus level tests are held at various locations in North America as well as at the annual SFS conference. The upoming tests are listed on the web site. The Family level tests are web based using images and can be taken online at pre-arranged testing centres with a registered Proctor. In addition we offer a free self evaluation test to prepare candidates for the online testing.
All Taxonomic Certifications stand for five years. Please contact the TCP about your renewal process.
The Taxonomic Certification Committee will meet on the third floor of the Hyatt Convention Center, City Terrace-room #5, Monday May 20th.2013, 4:15 - 6pm, following the testing sessions am and pm.
As of September 21, 2012 the SFS- Taxonomic Certification Committee has posted a new version of the Re-certification Petition.