Course code BIO314

BIO314 Fish Physiology and Aquatic Adaptations

There may be changes to the course due to to corona restrictions. See Canvas and StudentWeb for info.

Norsk emneinformasjon

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2021 - 2022 .

Course responsible: Øivind Andersen
ECTS credits: 5
Faculty: Faculty of Biosciences
Teaching language: EN, NO
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Teaching exam periods:
Autumn parallel
Course frequency: Yearly
First time: 2018H
Course contents:
The course gives a detailed overview of the physiology of fishes and the adaptive traits of water-living organisms. The lectures covers the basic topics of respiration and gas exchange in water, locomotion and buoyancy, osmoregulation, cardiovascular system, sensory organs and various reproductive strategies.This is further illustrated by comparing fish with land-living organisms, including diving mammals. Group work and student presentations deal with novel adaptive traits in specialized fish such as carp surviving oxygen depletion, icefish without hemoglobin, air-breathing fish, and freeze resistant fish.
Learning outcome:


  • Acquired knowledge about the physiological and anatomic characteristics making fish adapted to a life in water.
  • Understand the limitations and advantage of living in water versus on land.
  • Got insight in how specific fish groups during evolution have developed unique morphological and functional traits.


  • Able to present and discuss important differences between fish and land-living animals related to specific physical conditions in water and on land.

General competence:

  • Acquired insight in relevant scientific challenges related to welfare in farmed fish.
  • Understand the physiological limitations in fish for sustainable aquaculture. 
Learning activities:
Lectures and student presentations of group work on review papers handed out..
Teaching support:

Animal Physiology - Adaptation and environment 5th edition, Knut Schmidt-Nielsen.

Review papers handed out.

Recommended prerequisites:
Written final exam counts 100%.
Nominal workload:
125 hours
Entrance requirements:
Special requirements in Science.
Type of course:
Lectures: 20 hours. Group work and preparation for student presentation: 5 hours. Individual study :100 hours.
Allowed examination aids: A1 No calculator, no other aids
Examination details: Written exam: A - E / F