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 will further be illustrated by drawing comparisons between fish and 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 and freezing resistant fish.
The course will provide students with an understanding of the unique physiological characteristics that allow fish to thrive and survive in water. The students should be able to discuss main differences betwen fish and land-living organisms related to specific physical conditions in water and air. Knowledge about novel adaptive traits and the underlying molecular mechanisms should be demonstrated by presenting examples from group work.