FISH 324, Winter 2010
Aquatic Animal Physiology and Reproduction

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Professor and TA Information
Instructor:: Graham Young
Office: FTR 250
Office hrs: By appointment
Phone: (206) 543-4291

T.A. : Louisa Harding (
Office: FTR 242
Office hrs: TBA

Meeting Times and Locations
Lecture:      MWF 12:30–1:20pm in FSH 107

Lab:            W 1:30–4:20pm in FTR 124 or Th 1:30–4:20 in FTR 124

Course Description
The overall focus of the course is on the functional adaptations and adjustments animals use to cope with the various environmental and physiological challenges to life in aquatic environments. The main animal groups that will be considered are crustaceans, molluscs, fishes, and marine mammals, although examples from other aquatic animal groups will be given where they illuminate a particular challenge or adaptation to the aquatic environment. After considering the challenges of life in aquatic environments, the beginning theme (and a central paradigm in physiology) will be the partitioning of energy. Understanding how the flow of energy in animals is regulated is fundamental to understanding virtually every aspect of physiology, reproduction and life history strategies. Energy obtained through feeding and digestion is allocated to basic maintenance functions (metabolism, movement, repair,), dealing with homeostatic challenges (gas exchange, osmoregulation, thermoregulation, etc), channelled into growth, and ultimately is invested in reproduction. The course will first address the particular challenges faced by animals living in an aqueous medium, and the basics of bioenergetics. It will then deal with the physiology of metabolism, respiration, growth, movement and homeostasis. The roles of the endocrine system in regulating and coordinating these processes will be discussed, with emphasis on the role of these systems in mediating environmental information. A portion of the course will be devoted to the ultimate measure of success of these processes, reproduction. After an overview of reproductive processes and their environmental and endocrine regulation, topics such as environmental sex determination, adult sex change and methods of reproductive manipulation will be reviewed.

The course will emphasize the physiological mechanisms are conserved across taxa and those that are unique to a particular aquatic animal group, with some case studies on how particular groups of animals cope physiologically with extreme environments and with contrasting environments at different parts of their life cycle (e.g., anadromy in salmon, catadromy in eels). Case studies will also be used to focus on the constraints solutions to particular physiological problems may impose on other aspects of the life of the animal.

Learning objectives
• understand the important environmental variables in the aquatic environment that impact on the physiology of aquatic animals
• understand the fundamentals of bioenergetics as a basis for understanding how animals gain and invest energy in various physiological processes
• understand the physiological adaptations of aquatic animals to their environment
• understand the basics of gamete development, the diverse reproductive strategies displayed by aquatic animals, and the underlying regulatory mechanisms
• appreciate how physiological knowledge can be used in an applied sense, ranging from predicting environmental impacts, to controlling reproduction.
• acquire theoretical (3-credit) and practical (2-credit) experience in experimental techniques for understanding the physiology of aquatic animals
• develop the ability to access, analyze and critically evaluate key literature in aquatic animal physiology
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Last modified: 1/17/2010 1:28 PM