autumn 2021
BIO-2504 Fish Physiology - 10 ECTS

Last changed 22.09.2021

Application deadline

Concerns only admission to singular courses. Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester. Exchange students and Fulbright students: 15 April for the autumn semester.

Type of course

The course is available for students at the study programs: Fiskeri- og havbruksvitenskap, Akvamedisin, Biologi, klima og miljø. The course is also available to exchange students at a biology study program. The course is available as a singular course.  

Admission requirements

Nordic applicants: Admission requirements are generell studiekompetanse + REALFA.

Application code: 9197

International applicants: Higher Education Entrance Qualification and certified language requirements in English. A list of the requirements for the Higher Education Entrance Qualification in Norway can be found on the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education website -  

All applicants: The course requires basic knowledge in biology and ecology. Basic knowledge in chemistry and mathematics is an advantage.

Obligatory prerequisites

BIO-2002 Animal Physiology

Course content

The course describes physiological mechanisms in fish. Topics covered include nerves and sense organs, endocrinology, circulation, respiration, iono- and osmoregulation, digestive system, reproduction, parr-smolt transformation and stress in fish.

Objectives of the course

After completing the course, the students should know:

  • The structure, function and physiology of major organs in fish; the nervous system and sense organs, the respiratory and circulatory systems, the digestive system, the kidneys and the osmoregulatory system, the endocrine organs and the reproductive system.
  • How environmental factors such as temperature, photoperiod and water quality affect the physiology of fish, with particular emphasis on coldwater species.
  • Common causes of stress in fish kept in captivity, with special emphasis on cultured species (e.g. Atlantic salmon).
  • How to read, discuss and present scientific data.

The students should be able to:

  • Describe the structure and function of major organs in fish, and explain their physiology.
  • Describe how environmental factors such as temperature, photoperiod and water quality affect the homeostasis of fish, with particular emphasis on physiological adaptations in coldwater species.
  • Describe the General Adaptation Syndrome and how abiotic (environmental) and biotic (e.g. food, behavior) stressors may affect the homeostasis and physiology of fish.
  • Write a scientific report based on laboratory work.

The course will give the students:

  • A general background in fish physiology.
  • An understanding of how important biotic and abiotic factors affect the physiology and welfare of cultured fish.
  • Insights into how experimental studies on fish are performed.
  • Skills in reading, discussing and presenting scientific data.

Language of instruction

The language of instruction is English and all of the syllabus material is in English. Examination questions will be given in English, but may be answered either in English or a Scandinavian language.

Teaching methods

Lectures, seminars and laboratory.


Written exam (4 hours). A graded scale of five marks from A to E for pass and F for fail.

Coursework requirements: Laboratory report.

There will be a re-sit examination for students that did not pass the previous ordinary examination. The re-sit examination is a written exam.


  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: BIO-2504