autumn 2019
BIO-2506 Introduction to Fish Biology - 10 ECTS

Application deadline

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

Type of course

The course is available for students at the study programs Fiskeri- og havbruksvitenskap, Akvamedisin and Biologi and Miljøledelse og forurensningsbiologi. The course is also available to exchange students at a biology study program. Available as singular course. The course capacity for Bio-2506 is a maximum of 60 students each semester, but in the event of capacity problems priority will be given to students who have the course as an obligatory subject in their degree program.

Admission requirements

Nordic applicants: Admission requirements are generell studiekompetanse + REALFA.

Application code: 9336

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  

Course participants are expected to have a reasonable working knowledge of mathematics chemistry and aquatic biology/ecology, i.e. have taken introductory university courses (minimum 10 STP) in these subjects.

Course overlap

If you pass the examination in this course, you will get an reduction in credits (as stated below), if you previously have passed the following courses:

F-131 Biology of Fishes 6 stp
BIO-2505 Fish Biology 10 stp
FSK-2506 Introduction to fish biology 10 stp
BIO-2506 Introduction to fish biology (NFH) 10 stp

Course content

Fish are of considerable importance to humans as a source of food, both from capture fisheries and through various forms of culture. Rational exploitation and management of fish stocks, irrespective of whether they be wild or captive, relies upon detailed insights into, and knowledge about, their biology. This course is an initial step towards giving you that knowledge. The course gives an introduction to the life-styles of fishes, with an emphasis on anatomy and physiological adaptations to different aquatic habitats. The following themes are covered: fish diversity and distributions, swimming, osmoregulation, respiration, feeding and digestion, reproduction and larval development, and life-histories.

The laboratory course will give you an introduction to practical work in the laboratory, data analysis and the writing of reports.

You will write a term-paper (essay) on a central theme within fish biology by selecting a topic of your choice from a suggested list of titles.

Objectives of the course

Once you have have completed Bio-2506 Introduction to Fish Biology you will have developed several general scientific and biological skills and have become knowledgeable about fish, with an insight into the anatomy and physiological adaptations of fish to aquatic habitats: what fish do and how they do it.


  • You will be able to describe the structural, functional and physiological adaptations shown by fish in relation to their environment, including the responses to environmental changes resulting from human activities
  • You will have knowledge about the inter-relationships of the major groups of fishes in an evolutionary and developmental perspective
  • You will be knowledgeable about the anatomy and function of the organ systems of fish

Skills and proficiency:

  • You will be able to write scientific reports based upon the results of laboratory experiments and exercises
  • Make laboratory measurements and observations, take notes and explain the observations clearly and concisely
  • Be able to use standard laboratory equipment, e.g. binocular microscopes, electronic balances, and dissecting instruments
  • Have the ability to use identification keys for species recognition
  • Be able to use Excel for indexing data, making simple calculations and model-fitting and for the preparation of graphs and tables
  • Be able to write a scientific report according to the IMRAD format
  • You should be able to read and understand scientific literature, and develop a capacity to interpret, précis and discuss the literature in written presentations
  • Become familiar with the use of search engines and keywords for finding scientific literature
  • Be able to structure a piece of written work based on the preparation of a draft outline and table of contents
  • Have the ability to select, construct and evaluate figures and tables for use in written presentations
  • Develop a familiarity with the correct norms for citation of scientific literature and be able to prepare comprehensive and consistent lists of References

General skills:

  • You should be able to work independently, systematically and with a focus on the task at hand
  • You should have developed the ability to work as part of a team
  • You should be able to read the work of others with a critical eye and provide constructive criticism and comment  
  • You should have improved your communication skills, particularly writing skills

Language of instruction and examination

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

36 hours lectures, 4-day laboratory course followed by the writing of a laboratory report, and writing of an essay (term paper) under supervision. Necessary safety training for labwork  will be given.


There is a final written examination (4 hours duration). A graded scale of five marks from A to E for pass and F for fail.

Obligatory coursework requirements:
There are two work assignments (submitted as group-work) consisting of a laboratory course with report, and the writing of an essay (term paper). The assignments are evaluated as pass/fail. Participation in the written examination is conditional upon students having achieved pass grades for both the laboratory report and essay.

Re-sit exam:
There will be a re-sit examination for candidates who did not pass the previous examination.

Error rendering component

  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: BIO-2506
  • Earlier years and semesters for this topic