BIO314 Fish Physiology and Aquatic Adaptations

Credits (ECTS):5

Course responsible:Øivind Andersen

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Engelsk, norsk

Course frequency:Yearly

Nominal workload:125 hours

Teaching and exam period:Autumn parallel

About this course

The course gives a detailed overview of the physiology of fish 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
  • Lectures and student presentations of group work on review papers handed out.
  • Written final exam counts 100%.

  • Lectures: 20 hours. Group work and preparation for student presentation: 5 hours. Individual study :100 hours.
  • Special requirements in Science.