Field Techniques for Surveying Freshwater Macroorganisms and Their Habitats

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General information

This 5-day workshop will provide multidisciplinary, integrated training in field survey techniques (aquatic macroinvertebrates, macrophytes, amphibians, fish and crayfish, hydrology, water chemistry), sampling strategies and protocols, taxonomy, habitat-specific data analysis and evaluation. Students will be equipped with the core techniques to answer a range of research questions and hypotheses in a diversity of freshwater habitats including ponds, rivers and wetlands.

Field survey techniques will be utilised in the field for a variety of macroorganisms: these include aquatic macroinvertebrates (e.g. water beetles, dragonfly larvae, water snails and leeches), macrophytes (large water plants e.g. sedges, pondweed, duckweed), amphibians (e.g. frogs, toads and newts), freshwater fish and crayfish (native and non-native). In all cases, native and non-native freshwater macroorganisms will be surveyed, identified and evaluated. Hydrology and water chemistry techniques will also be learnt in order to quantify and evaluate the physical environment inhabited by freshwater organisms (e.g. volume and variability of water, acidity and alkalinity, total nutrient load of the water, phosphorus, nitrate). The integration of the physical, chemical and biological interrelationships in freshwater ecology will be a key aspect of the course.

Each session is taught through an effective mixture of lecture, group and practical work (both lab and field). Full-board and accommodation is provided, and help with travel expenses is also offered. Please contact the course team should you need particular assistance with access to facilities, or have special dietary requirements. Please bring warm and wet weather clothing, walking boots and wellington boots: Delegates should ensure they are suitably clothed for outdoor work in March, whatever the weather.


The course will cover survey and identification skills for freshwater macroorganisms and their habitats; field techniques for sampling and monitoring; freshwater protocols and methodologies (PSYM, RHS, RICT, WFD, RAP surveys); deployment of data loggers and sensors in eco-hydrology.

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Venue: University of Oxford
Oxford, United Kingdom

Department for Continuing Education and Wytham Woods 
Training will also be delivered at a number of other sites including the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Oxford University Herbarium, Marley Fen, Wytham Ponds, Windrush River. 



The workshop is offered at no-cost to eligible delegates (covering up to five days’ workshop attendance, full-board and accommodation). 


The workshop is aimed at doctoral students in environmental science, environmental management and ecology seeking an overview in field techniques for surveying freshwater macroorganisms and their habitats. 

Application Procedure:

To register your interest for this workshop please complete the online form available here. For new enquiries, priority enrolment for NERC-funded (50% or higher) doctoral students will close on 12 September 2014. NERC-funded doctoral students will need to confirm their academic status and funding via an emailed reference from their supervisor to qualify for priority enrolment.

Any spaces that remain following the priority enrolment deadline will be open to other doctoral students, early career researchers and professionals in the environmental sciences. These candidates should provide a CV and a professional or academic reference by email (

Grant Opportunities:

A travel allowance is available up to a maximum of £120 per delegate for travel within the UK and will be processed following workshop attendance (via a fully completed expense claim form with travel ticket receipts).


Academic level: PhD, Lifelong Learning
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