AquaTax Consulting

Taking the "Bugs" out of Benthos

AquaTax Consulting is a Saskatchewan based environmental consulting business owned and operated by Dale Parker, Ph.D., proprietor. The focus of the business is on providing services to clients related to the taxonomy and ecology of aquatic macroinvertebrates. Established in 1992, AquaTax Consulting has successfully completed contracts for many groups and agencies throughout central and western Canada including the Northwest Territories. AquaTax Consulting strives to provide its clients with quality and accurate taxonomic, ecological and sampling advice for their development assessment and academic aquatic research.

Mission Statement:I believe it is important to be active in research to further our knowledge of the aquatic environment, particularly as it pertains to Saskatchewan. To this end when I am not under contractual obligations I have initiated a number of research projects related to the biodiversity, ecology and biogeography of Saskatchewan aquatic insects. I feel it is also important for the general public and educators to be provided with resources to better understand and appreciate the natural environment of the province. To encourage this I developed, and continue to revise and expand, the "Saskatchewan Aquatic Macroinvertebrates" web pages that provide information regarding Saskatchewan aquatic environments and picture guides and online taxonomic keys to the aquatic macroinvertebrate found in the province.

AquaTax Consulting Services

From water to data point

AquaTax Consulting provides a range of services to meet the needs of public, private and academic sector clients conducting research in the aquatic sciences.


AquaTax Consulting offers a range of high standard services at competitive pricing either on a project basis, by the sample or an hourly rate.

Sample Processing:

AquaTax Consulting provides benthic macroinvertebrate sample processing (subsampling and sorting) to client specifications. Samples are processed by D. Parker, Ph.D., (30+ years experience) and/or by J. Halpin, B.Sc., (20+ years experience).

Taxonomic Identifications:

Good taxonomy is the essential corner stone for quality research data and should only be conducted by highly trained and experienced personnel/taxonomists. In the case of AquaTax Consulting ALL identifications are performed by D. Parker, Ph.D. If required a network of colleagues, who are specialists in particular groups, can be contacted to assist in difficult specimen identification. Macroinvertebrate identifications can be made to family, genus, or "lowest practical level" (Those identifications that do not require slide making or pinning of specimens) depending on the client's requirements. Slide mounting and generic identifications of Chironomidae and pinning of adult beetles for genus/species identifications are also regularly requested and provided to clients. A voucher series of each unique genus or species level identification is provided to the client for reference.

Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Sampling Design and Protocol:

AquaTax Consulting is regularly consulted regarding the development of sampling protocols (sampling methods, devices, sample processing techniques, taxonomic level and timing) to best collect the data required to answer the client's research questions and/or fulfill their contractual obligations.

Interpretation of Macroinvertebrate Data:

As a feature beyond routine statistical analysis, clients often request AquaTax Consulting to assist in the biological (ecology and life history) interpretation of the data. This often greatly enhances and provides insights into the data beyond what can be provided by statistical analysis alone.

Specimen Images & Photo Credits:

As part of the sample processing and identification process microscopic images are routinely taken to add to AquaTax Consulting's library of macroinvertebrate images. Clients, as well as educators, extension workers and researchers from around the world regularly request permission to use these images to illustrate their presentations and reports.

AquaTax Consulting's images have also appeared in the following publications:

Cover: Euroasion Entomological Journal. 2009. Volume 8. Supplement 1.

Page 14: Southern Sporting Journal. August 2008.

Cover: Blue Jay. June 2005.

Pages 22 &23: South Dakota Conservation. March/April 2005.

Page 22: South Dakota Conservation. July/August 2003.

AquaTax Consulting Qualifications

Collecting Crooked Lake Fen
AquaTax Map

AquaTax Consulting has been contracted by mining companies, consulting firms, federal and provincial governments, and university researchers to provide taxonomic and environmental expertise for projects throughout central and western Canada including the Northwest Territories. Projects have included; effects monitoring for gold, diamond, and nickel mines, tar sands developments, pulp mills, hydroelectric developments, mosquito monitoring for West Nile virus vectors, paleolimnological/subfossil research and biodiversity surveys.

Dale Parker, Ph.D., proprietor of AquaTax Consulting, has been involved in aquatic research and environmental consulting for over 30 years. He also assisted in teaching the fourth year Aquatic Insects course at the Department of Biology, University of Saskatchewan for over a decade. He has experience, through his research and consulting, in species level identifications of most aquatic macroinvertebrate and insect groups including; Hirudinea, Mollusca, Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Odonata, Hemiptera, Trichoptera, some Coleoptera, and some Diptera including Chironomidae and Culicidae. Being familiar with the species diversity comprising a genus is a great asset to the accuracy of genus and family level identifications. A significant amount of Dale's research has been related to the ecology and life history requirements of aquatic insects and other macroinvertebrates, which often aids clients in the interpretation of their research results. A recent client list and complete CV is available on request.

Sample processing is subcontracted to J. Halpin, B.Sc., who has over 20 years of experience processing samples for AquaTax Consulting and federal and provincial government research laboratories.


ID Phillips, S Srayko, KS Prestie, AJ Bell and D Parker. 2017. Range Extension of the giant water bug Belostoma flumineum Say 1832 (Hemiptera: Belostomatidae) to Saskatchewan, Canada. Western North American Naturalist 77(2) pp. 269–271

Hoemsen, BM, ID Phillips, DW Parker, AJ Bell, JA Bergsveinson, JS Armstrong and DP Chivers. 2014. Extended family: a caddisfly new to Saskatchewan, Canada with notes on the life history of Neophylax splendens (Trichoptera: Thremmatidae). Can. Ent.

Phillips, ID, D Parker, BM Hoemsen, AJ Bell, and DP Chivers. 2013. Biological notes and range expansion of the non-biting midge Odontomesa fulva (Kieffer) (Diptera: Chironomidae). Western North American Naturalist 73: 244–247

Parker, D, R. Hlasny and J. Webb, 2008. Biodiversity and adult emergence periods of mayflies (Ephemeroptera) inhabiting Candle Lake, Saskatchewan. Blue Jay. 66:96-104.

Phillips, I.D., D. Parker, and G. McMaster. 2008. The aquatic invertebrate fauna of a northern prairie river: range extensions and water quality characteristics. Western North American Naturalist 68:173-85.

Parker, D. and I. Phillips. 2007. Collection records of three aquatic bugs (Heteroptera); pygmy backswimmer (Pleidae), water scorpion (Nepidae) and marsh treader (Hydrometridae) for Saskatchewan, Canada. Blue Jay. 65:143-148.

Parker, D. 2007. A preliminary checklist of aquatic macroinvertebrates associated with Meadow Bank Lake in Van Brienen Land Nature Sanctuary. Blue Jay. 65:102-110.

Parker, D.W. and N. Glozier. 2005. First record of the non-biting midge, Zavreliella marmorata (Wulp.) (Chironomidae: Diptera), from Saskatchewan. Blue Jay. 63:200-202.

Parker, D.W. 2005. A preliminary survey of aquatic macroinvertebrates collected from Crooked Lake Fen Nature Sanctuary in southeastern Saskatchewan. Blue Jay. 63:98-107.

Webb,J.W., D.W. Parker, D.M. Lehmkuhl and W.P. McCafferty. 2004. Additions and emendations to the mayfly (Ephemeroptera) fauna of Saskatchewan, Canada. Entomol. News. 115:213-218.

Parker, D.W. and D.M. Lehmkuhl, 1999. Diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates in Saskatchewan. In. Thorpe, J., T.A. Steeves, and M. Gollop. Proceedings of the 5th Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference. Saskatoon, SK. Feb. 19-22, 1998. Natural History Occasional Paper No.24.Provincial Museum of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta. Pp. 306-311.

Dosdall, L. M. and D. Parker. 1998. First report of a symphoretic association between Nanocladius branchicolus Saether (Diptera: Chironomidae) and Agria moesta (Hagen)(Odonata:Coenagrionidae).American Midl. Nat. 139:181-185.

Wayland, M., S. Trudeau, T. Marchant, D. Parker and K.A. Hobson. 1998. The effect of pulp and paper mill effluent on an insectivorous bird, the tree swallow. Ecotoxicology 7:237-251.

Whiting, E. R., S. Mathieu, and D.W. Parker. 1994. Effects of drainage from a Molybdenum mine and mill on stream macroinvertebrate communities. J. Freshw. Ecology. 9:299-311.

Mason, P.G. and D.W. Parker. 1994. Additions and corrections to the list of non-biting midges in Saskatchewan. Blue Jay 54:200-203.

Mason, P.G., D.W. Parker, and P. Morrill. 1991. An amateur naturalist's guide to non-biting midges in Saskatchewan. Blue Jay 49:174-182.

Posters and Presentations:

Phillips, I. D., Parker, D. and Wissel, B. 2010. Life history and diet of Skwala parallela (Plectoptera: Perlodidae) and Zapada cinctipes (Plecoptera: Nemouridae) in a priaire headwater stream. Joint meeting of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanogrpahy and the North American Benthological Society, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, June 6-11, 2010.

Parker, D. and I. Phillips. 2009. Saskatchewan aquatic macroinvertebrate biodiversity surveys and database: Past, progress and plans. Presented at the Biological Survey of Canada Symposium, Joint meeting of The Entomological Societies of Canada and Manitoba, Winnipeg, 18-21 October, 2009.

Phillips, I.D., G. McMaster, & D. Parker. 2007. Biomonitoring in Saskatchewan: New approaches with benthic macroinvertebrates and stable isotopes. The 8th Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference, Regina, Saskatchewan.

Parker, D. W. 2003. Biodiversity of aquatic insects and macroinvertebrates from a boreal lake in Saskatchewan. Presented at the Entomological Society of Canada meetings. Kelowna, BC.

Parker, D.W. and J. Webb. 2003. Emergence phenologies of mayflies (Ephemeroptera) and caddisflies (Trichoptera) in a shallow bay at Candle Lake, SK. Presented at the Entomological Society of Canada meetings. Kelowna, BC.

Parker, D.W. 2003. The aquatic insects and macroinvertebrates inhabiting Nature Saskatchewan Sanctuaries. Presented at the 2003 meeting of the Entomological Society of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, May 9, 2003.

Parker, D. and D. Lehmkuhl. 1999. The Saskatchewan Aquatic Insect Web Page. Presented at the Entomological Society of Canada meetings. Saskatoon, SK. September 25-29, 1999.

Parker, D. and D. Lehmkuhl. 1998. Diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates in Saskatchewan. Presented at the 5th Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference. Saskatoon, SK. Feb. 19-22, 1998.

Wayland,M., K.A. Hobson, S. Trudeau, T. Marchant, and D. Parker. 1996. Tree swallows as bioindicators of riparian wildlife exposure to pulp and paper mill effluent. Presented at the 23rd Annual Aquatic Toxicity Workshop, Calgary, AB. Oct. 6-9, 1996.


Parker, D.W. 1985. Biosystematics of Chironomidae inhabiting selected prairie ponds in Saskatchewan. M.Sc.Thesis, Dept. of Biology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK: This research was primarily a taxonomic investigation of pond inhabiting Chironomidae. Emphasis was on associating life stages to develop larval and pupal species level identification keys. Biological and life history information were also collected. The research recorded five new genera and seven new species for Saskatchewan.

Parker, D.W. 1992. Emergence phenologies and patterns of aquatic insects inhabiting a prairie pond. Ph.D. Thesis, Dept. of Biology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK. Building on the skill set developed in my MSc research this investigation encompassed the entire aquatic insect fauna. The study focused on the emergence phenologies and patterns of each insect group at the species level. Species level biodiversity was documented and hypotheses investigating spatial emergence over different vegetation types and the effects of temporal water levels were tested. Over 115 species of aquatic insects were recorded from the study pond including 12 new records for Saskatchewan. Emergence patterns and life histories were determined for many species for the first time in a Saskatchewan pond. It was found a number of species had a significant habitat preference for adult emergence. Changes in overwintering conditions and duration of the wet phase significantly altered the aquatic insect fauna in the pond.