This module starts with the basic principles of entomology, the study of insects. We will cover some basics of taxonomy and classification of insects, life cycles, and anatomy.
From there, the course focus centers only on aquatic insects, those insects with all or part of their life cycle completed in water. The course covers the major Orders of aquatic insects and the sub taxa within those Orders important in the rivers of southwest Montana.
We will take an ecological approach to learning these sub taxa by examining where they occur in a river based on the habitats they occupy rather than simply memorizing morphological characteristics.
The course will finish with an introduction to assessing the quality of habitat of the stream or river based on the ecological characteristics of the aquatic insect assemblages.
Roughly two-thirds of this course will take place in a classroom lecture setting and one-third of the class is a field laboratory setting.
Numerous individuals and sources have provided material for this module, and their contributions are acknowledged in the text and in the Resources section. This module just breaks the surface of the subject and students are encouraged to read the primary sources as part of their continuing education.
Outfitters and guides who are registered as students of the Guiding for the Future program are required to complete each module of the course. The course is available online 24/7, features short 'chapters' and includes a final test.