NBIK14005U The Biology of Fish

Volume 2016/2017

MSc Programme in Biology


The course aims to provide the student with detailed knowledge of different aspects of fish physiology. The course will provide an understanding of the respiratory and circulatory system of these animals, as well as how oxygen is transported. In addition effect of - and physiological adaptation to - a variety of environmental factors, i.e. hypoxia, salinity, CO2, pH and temperature, will be described. The course will also provide understanding of the physiology affiliated with fish swimming as well as feeding and digestion.

The course consists of a mixture of traditional textbook lectures and examples describing the different environments, as well as case-studies.

Demonstrations will illustrate the anatomy of fish and different techniques. Experimental hands-on research projects, each with 2 – 3 students, will carry out independent studies of i.e. oxygen consumption and hearth rate in response to hypoxia, how does a fish swim and how much it cost and hearth physiology.

During the course articles are presented by the students and the teachers. In addition, the students functions as opponents to the presented articles.

Learning Outcome

A student who has met the objectives of the course will be able to:

  • Explain and describe the respiratory and circulatory systems, and oxygen transport in fish and how these transport oxygen.
  • Describe feeding and digestion.
  • Explain and describe the possible effects of hypoxia on metabolic rate.
  • Describe oxygen consumption of exercising fish.
  • Explain how fish osmoregulate.
  • Describe the differences between aquatic air and water breathers.
  • Describe and explain the effect of temperature on metabolism.
  • Describe the anatomy of fish.
  • Plan and carry out an experiment, analyze the data and use the results in a report.


The student can describe and reflect on a given research topic. The student is able to identify methodological problems and can place them in a comprehensive experimental overview.


The student will be able to handle some standard equipment for marine biological research and use experimental methods. The student can analyze and explain experimental results and put them into a scientific context.


The student will gain experience and competence working independently with an experimental research project. The student can design, initiate and manage an experiment. The student can evaluate and utilize obtained results in a scientific perspective. The student will gain experience working in groups to solve a scientific problem.

In addition the student will get competence in a variety of fish physiological questions in context with environmental variables.

See Absalon.

Lectures, demonstrations, and project-based teaching, with 2 – 3 students per group. The experimental projects are organized and implemented under individual supervision. The project's findings are presented in a written report organized as a scientific paper.
Note that the teaching will take place at Marine Biological Section in Helsingør.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Colloquia
  • 4
  • Exam
  • 2
  • Guidance
  • 2
  • Lectures
  • 20
  • Practical exercises
  • 4
  • Preparation
  • 120
  • Project work
  • 54
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, 3 weeks
Written examination, 2 hours
Approved written report AND written examination - multiple choice - without any aid (no textbooks, notes or similar). Report and written examination assessed with 30% and 70% respectively.

NB: If the exam is held at the ITX, the ITX will provide computers. Private computers, tablets or mobile phones CANNOT be brought along to the exam.
Exam registration requirements

Participation in at least 80% of the lectures and seminars is required. The students must have presented at least one article and have been an opponent at least once. Groups of 2 – 3 students will carry out independent experimental research projects. A written report written as a manuscript must be submitted from each project.

Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

As ordinary exam.

If the requirement of written report is not fulfilled, revised report must be handed in and approved prior to the reexamination.

If the requirement of participation in at least 80% of the lectures and seminars are not fulfilled, the student must take the course again the next year.


Criteria for exam assesment

The grade 12 is given for an oral exam if the student:

  • In an excellent way can present the overall theme of the selected written exam project, and the including course syllabus
  • Is able to discuss methods and materials used to gather scientific data within the exam project
  • Is able to read and interpret scientific results and evaluate the scienfitic statements, including the use to statistical analytic tools
  • Is able to discuss obtained results and put them into the right context
  • Is able to suggest future experiments or field studies to further address the important questions in the particular research field.