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Physiology of Aquatic Animals

Code: MA224     Acronym: FAA

Classification Keyword
OFICIAL General and Aquatic Biology

Instance: 2018/2019 - 4T (of 23-04-2019 to 14-06-2019)

Active? Yes
Responsible unit: Microscopy
Course/CS Responsible: First Cycle Degree (BSc) in Aquatic Sciences

Cycles of Study/Courses

Acronym No. of Students Study Plan Curricular Years Credits UCN Credits ECTS Contact hours Total Time
LCMA 46 Oficial Plan 2018 2 - 5 49 135

Teaching Staff - Responsibilities

Teacher Responsibility
Maria João Tomé da Costa Sousa da Rocha

Teaching - Hours

Theoretical classes: 3,00
Theoretical and practical : 2,00
Laboratory Practice: 2,00
Type Teacher Classes Hour
Theoretical classes Totals 1 3,00
Maria João Tomé da Costa Sousa da Rocha 3,00
Theoretical and practical Totals 2 4,00
Maria João Tomé da Costa Sousa da Rocha 4,00
Laboratory Practice Totals 2 4,00
Maria João Tomé da Costa Sousa da Rocha 4,00

Teaching language



Following the knowledge of anatomy, histology and comparative animal physiology previously acquired, it is projected now address, a perspective more particular aspects related to the physiology of aquatic animals with emphasis on fish, but also covering topics selected mollusks, crustaceans and aquatic mammals.

With the approach aims to become an emphasis of integrating aspects of endocrinology, particularly with interest applied to the areas of reproduction and growth. Elected as central pedagogical concern the ability of the student to be an active element in the search for knowledge and exploration of unreleased songs from the scope of the unit, using the knowledge that has systematically from their experience as a student of the aquatic sciences.

Learning outcomes and competences

Provide students with the ability to better understand the physiology of organs and systems of aquatic animals, including a perspective of neuro-endocrine integration and adaptive needs against environmental changes.

Understand the importance of key environmental factors on the physiology of aquatic animals, through case studies and appreciating diversity. Understanding how physiological knowledge can be applied to practical problems in production and biomonitoring.

Increase the ability of students searching, selecting, critically analyze and present information of a physiological, schematically and integrating it with previously learned concepts.

Working method


Pre-requirements (prior knowledge) and co-requirements (common knowledge)

Knowlegement about the histology and anatomy of fish (mostly teleost), molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic mammals.


1. Central Nervous System (CNS) and Periferic NS
Hypothalamic factors (GnRH I, II and III), neuropeptide Y, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), dopamine, inhibition of gonadotropin hormone

2. Hypothalamus and Pituitary
Structure and functioning
Chemical messengers (target organs)

3. Pineal Gland
Structure and mode of action / relationship with Central Nervous System
Photoperiod - Melatonin - Season reproductive

4. Vision, Smell, Sideline, Electroreception
- Physiology

5. Gonads
Physiology of ovaries and testes
Relationship between the action of the pineal gland, CNS and gonad
Main stages of development of gametes
Different types of gonads (fish synchronous, asynchronous, synchronous groups)
Formation and release of pheromones (examples of various species in which the action of pheromones is essential in reproduction)

6. Thyroid
- Physiology
Functions of thyroid hormones in fish and amphibians

7. Liver
Liver involvement in growth and reproduction
System Insulin-like growth factor
- Relationship between liver, CNS tissue such as muscle, cartilage and bone

8. Pancreas
- Physiology

9. Gills
- Physiology
- Osmoregulation

10. Kidney and intestine
- Physiology (sea and freshwater animals)

11. Physiology of molluscs

Themes practical classes

Development of emerging themes in the area of physiology of aquatic animals.

Mandatory literature

Anthony P. Farrell; Encyclopedia of Fish Physiology: From Genome to Environment, Academic Press Inc , 2011. ISBN: 0123745454
Robert E. Shadwick (Editor), Anthony Peter Farrell (Editor), Colin J. Brauner (Editor); Physiology of Elasmobranch Fishes: Structure and Interaction with Environment, Academic Press; 1 edition, 2015. ISBN: ISBN-10: 0128012897 ISBN-13: 978-0128012895

Complementary Bibliography

Nicholas J. Bernier, Glen Van Der Kraak, Anthony P. Farrell and Colin J. Brauner; Fish Physiology: Fish Neuroendocrinology, Academic Press Inc, 2009. ISBN: 0123746310

Comments from the literature

Complementary information and specific bibliography will be advanced by the treaching staff.

Teaching methods and learning activities

Lectures, classes, research and analysis of information, presentations by students, laboratory classes.


Natural sciences > Biological sciences > Zoology > Animal physiology

Evaluation Type

Distributed evaluation with final exam

Assessment Components

Designation Weight (%)
Exame 60,00
Participação presencial 40,00
Total: 100,00

Amount of time allocated to each course unit

Designation Time (hours)
Estudo autónomo 86,00
Frequência das aulas 49,00
Total: 135,00

Eligibility for exams

3/4 attendance considering all types of classes.

Calculation formula of final grade

Final rating = Note theoretical final exam (60%) + Note continuous assessment (40%)

The scores for each component are initially assigned on a scale of 0 to 20. It requires 9.5 minimum grade for approval as each of the components in question.

Continuous assessment rewards attendance, level of commitment, and even the quality of performance of each student during the lessons.

Classification improvement

After an initial approval to the course the student may apply for grade improvement final exam. No substitution of continuous evaluation score by any act of nature alone. A possible improvement in continuous assessment involves attending classes again, performing all activities inherent.

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