Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Sample Processing

We operate a taxonomic laboratory that specializes in sorting and identifying western freshwater macroinvertebrates. We accept benthic stream and river samples using a variety of collection methods and sampler devices, including Surber, kick and Hess nets. We also process drift samples as well as fish diet samples. In addition to traditional morphological identification methods, we can also identify invertebrate taxa using DNA sequencing techniques (e.g., springsnail identification). 

Our standard aquatic invertebrate laboratory services include the following:

  • Sorting and morphotyping: Sorting macroinvertebrates from organic/inorganic material and grouping by order.
  • Taxonomic identification and enumeration: Southwest Association of Freshwater Invertebrate Taxonomists (SAFIT) Level II, except for Chironomidae which will be identified to subfamily.
  • QA/QC (internal): 10% of all samples submitted to the NAMC for processing are reviewed for accuracy, precision, bias and completeness during the sorting, identification and data reporting processes. Detailed NAMC QA/QC procedures can be provided on request. 
  • Data management: Data for all processed samples is entered into a PostrgreSQL cloud-based database and is retained in perpetuity. Note all data is made publicly available through our online data portal unless otherwise requested.
  • Reporting: NAMC provides standard electronic reports documenting field and lab processing procedures, a wide range of macroinvertebrate metrics, as well as raw taxonomic data. Reports are provided in Excel format. Furthermore, the electronic delivery of data can be standardized to meet individual client’s needs.
  • Sample archiving: The sorted and identified portion of all samples are archived and stored at the NAMC in accordance with archiving standards (archived samples stored in perpetuity).
  • Timeline: Typical sample processing time is between 90-180 days. Processing time can be rushed (<30 days) for an additional fee.All empty sample bottles and containers can be returned on request.

Other services for additional charge include: