BIO315 Behavioural biology in fishes

Credits (ECTS):10

Course responsible:Øyvind Øverli

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Engelsk, norsk

Course frequency:Yearly

Nominal workload:250 hours

Teaching and exam period:January block (teaching activities and oral exam) and spring parallel (written reports)

About this course

This course considers behaviour in fishes. The focus is on aquaculture, but we will also scrutinize behavior as a result of natural selections. The course is in the interface between applied production biology and fundamental biological knowledge about the principles governing animal behavior in general. The goal is that the candidates acquire knowledge about the collection and interpretation of behavioural data, while developing biological knowledge and understanding to such a level that these skills can be applied to practical and theoretical research tasks both in the public, private and academic sector.

Learning outcome


The candidate shall:

  • Know the adaptive function of distinct behavioral patterns of fish at different life stages
  • Have knowledge about and be able to discuss the evolutionary background for variation in behavior between and within species
  • Have knowledge about environmental parameters and underlying physiological and neurobiological mechanisms controlling behavior
  • Have theoretical knowledge about principles for how behavior can reflect previous experience, present conditions, and the welfare situation of fish in aquaculture
  • Be familiar with different techniques for behavioral observation of fishes both in research and industrial environments


The candidate shall:

  • Be able to recognize, describe, and quantify central behavioral patterns such as aggression, food intake, oxygen uptake, etc.
  • Be proficient in the collection and analysis of behavioral data in experimental situations and in larger groups of fish
  • Be acquainted with the collection of physiological samples and morphological data associated with distinct behavioral patterns
  • Be trained to independently notice and describe hitherto undescribed behavioral traits in different environments
  • Be able to reason about whether behavioral patterns reflect a normal or stressful condition, or disease, parasite infections, or other negative events


The candidate shall be able to:

  • Independently design behavioral studies to gain new knowledge
  • Independently further develop his/her own knowledge in behavioural biology
  • Integrate behavioural biology with relevant developments in other research and production methods
  • Utilize behavioral studies in research and innovation tasks
  • Share and communicate his/her knowledge about behavioral biology with colleagues in adjoining fields of study
  • Lectures, colloquia with student presentations, ethological studies in lab and aquatic farms
  • Lectures, demonstrations,feed back on student presentations
  • Oral exam (50%) and assessment of written reports (50%)

  • External censor will be present at the oral exam.
  • Presentation by the students, participation in laboratory studies and practical demonstrations.