Stockholm university logo, link to start page
Gå till denna sida på svenska webben

Marine animal physiology

In this course you will ponder the amazing array of strategies used by marine organisms to meet the challenges imposed by their physical environment. The major focus is to discuss unique, and often bizarre, physiological and morphological adaptive solutions to problems encountered by animals living in marine environments.

Pink conchs, a mollusc of the Caribbean.
Queen conchs. Photo: Valentina Di Santo

The course is an exciting comparative look at how natural selection produces the extraordinary adaptations seen in marine animals, and how these may fare under climate change.

  • Course structure

    This course emphasizes how integrating evolution, ecology and physiology allows understanding of evolutionary history of organisms and forecast of future responses to synergistic environmental stressors. You will explore physiological and morphological adaptive solutions to oxygen, temperature, water balance, buoyancy, locomotion, feeding and sensory problems in marine animals. This course will include lectures, discussions of primary literature, and group projects. The group projects will focus on eco-physiological and biomechanical lab experiments using marine organisms (fishes and invertebrates).  Students will collect, analyze and present data in a manuscript as well as in a presentation during a mini-symposium.


    The course consists of two parts:

    Part 1. Theory, 10 hp

    Part 2. Laboratory projects, 5 hp

    Teaching format

    This course includes lectures, group discussions, presentations and projects.

    Learning outcomes

    A list of the learning outcomes can be found in the syllabus. Please find the link to the syllabus on the right side of this page.


    You will be assessed based on your research project and manuscript, presentations, discussions and weekly quizzes based on readings.


    Valentina Di Santo


  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    No mandatory course book.

  • Course reports

  • More information

    After the course

    Students in my course have the possibility to discuss continuing the project started during class in my lab. Read more about the Di Santo Lab here:

  • Contact

    Student office
    Study counsellor (advanced level)