Fish Identification Course: Columbia Basin Edition

  • Start Date: March 17, 2025
  • End Date: March 18, 2025
  • Time: 9am - 5pm
  • City: Revelstoke BC
  • Venue: Revelstoke Secondary School: 301 Tenth St E
  • Instructor: Dr. Rick Taylor
  • Registration opening soon

Course Description

The fresh waters of the world house spectacular diversity of freshwater fishes, accounting for over 40% of all described taxa in less than 0.01% of aquatic habitat by surface area. British Columbia has a relatively small number of described native species (69), yet contains a considerable wealth of un-described diversity and endemic species. This course serves as an introduction to the biogeography, evolution, and identification of native and introduced freshwater fishes found in British Columbia. Two lecture sessions focus on the biogeography, evolution of our fauna, as well as the morphological and genetic techniques used in fish identification. Two afternoons focus on morphological-based identification of fishes, particularly those of the southern Interior of BC. Attendees will also have the chance to try out a new photo guides to the freshwater fishes of BC (booklet style and smart phone-based).

The course will focus on the theory and practice of morphological-based identification of freshwater fishes of BC with a focus on those found in the Columbia River Basin. We will also explore the use of DNA-based diagnostics in the lecture component. Each day is broken into a lecture component (1-2 hr) and a lab component (2 hrs).

A course outline is available upon request.

Course objectives

  • An understanding of the diversity of BC freshwater fishes (the numbers of species and why)
  • An understanding of species at risk and why
  • Understand the unique aspects of the Columbia Basin fish fauna
  • Basic understanding of fish external and internal anatomy as relates to identification
  • Basic understanding of options available for DNA-based identifications
  • Basic competency in fish identification
  • Basic understanding of resources available to assist in fish identification

Who should take this course?

This course is designed for field-based fisheries professionals of the Columbia Basin. People involved in inventory or environmental assessments will bennefit from this course. All are welcome.


Our instructor

Eric Taylor is a full professor of Zoology and Director of the Fish Collection at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum where he also served as museum Director from 2013-2020. He studies the patterns, and processes promoting the origins and persistence of biodiversity and the application of such knowledge to conservation, especially in fishes. He graduated with a PhD in Zoology from UBC in 1989, spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at Dalhousie University, then 1.5 years as a visiting research fellow at the Pacific Biological Station before retuning to UBC in 1993. Between 2000 and 2018, he was involved with, or a member of, COSEWIC (the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) and its Chair between 2014 and 2018. In 2016, he was elected as a Fellow of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Autumn 2021 saw the release of his book Rivers Run Through Us: A Natural and Human History of Great Rivers of North America (Rocky Mountain Books). he has a new book forthcoming in the autumn of 2024, Pacific salmon: Their History, Our History.


  • Phone 250-837-9311
  • Fax 250-837-9311
  • Email

Mailing Address

  • P.O. Box 2568
  • Revelstoke, British Columbia V0E 2S0
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