Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Fish Biology, Fisheries and Aquaculture
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Student-led seminar session  (5 minutes each) or poster session. Each student contributes a 5-min presentation to a group seminar session of ~30 mins, followed by group-led class discussion (total 50 mins). All students contribute to class discussion throughout the 4 x 1-hour sessions.  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Written exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment Presentation  Submission of recorded presentation (5 minutes) and slides  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Discuss critically the fundamental concepts used in fish ecology, fisheries and aquaculture.

Evaluate the factors which determine the biology, ecology, distribution and evolution of fish communities in different aquatic environments.

Understand basic concepts in fish biology, ecology, genetics and evolution, and apply that knowledge to issues of exploitation and conservation of wild and farmed populations.

Understand the principles of fisheries exploitation, management and conservation, including the environmental, demographic and evolutionary impacts of fishing.

Critically discuss the role of aquaculture in world fisheries and the consequences of aquaculture for wild stocks.

Use primary literature in fish ecology, evolution, conservation, fisheries and aquaculture.

Brief description

The course introduces the basic principles of fish biology as a pre-requisite to understanding the fundamental and applied aspects of fish conservation biology, fisheries biology and the rapidly developing area of aquaculture, with an emphasis on ecological and evolutionary principles rather than on descriptive biology.


Provide students with a basis for introductory discussions on the ecology and evolution of fishes, and the role of selective fishing, aquaculture and conservation in the dynamics and sustainability of fish populations.


The first part of the course will focus on fish adaptations and the origins of fish diversity. It will explore the basic principles of fish biology, ecology and evolution, including the ecomorphology of locomotion and feeding, foraging ecology, bioenergetics and growth, ecology and physiology of reproduction, population dynamics and life histories of fishes. An aim will be to illustrate how understanding of fundamental fish biology underpins our understanding of of how fish populations may respond to conservation, fisheries and aquaculture manipulation.

The second part of the module will explore more applied issues of wild capture fisheries, farmed (aquacultured) populations, and species and population conservation, in marine and freshwater systems. It will include genetics of fish populations (population structuring and stock differentiation) and basic principles of quantitative genetics applied to wild and farmed populations. It will introduce the principles of fisheries management, with consideration of different methods of exploitation and particular emphasis on sustainability. The causes of over fishing will be discussed. Fisheries management techniques will be discussed critically in the light of the decline of major fisheries and the potential for evolutionary consequences of selective fishing and fish stock declines will be explored. The development and role of aquaculture systems will be discussed in terms of positive (improving future food supply) and negative consequences (e.g. introduction of invasive species and disease). The interaction of wild and farmed fish exploitation with management and conservation of wild populations will be discussed.
Where appropriate, examples taken from staff research areas will be used to illustrate principles and provide examples of pure and applied research in fish biology, as appropriate to a 3rd year module.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Listening skills for the lectures and student-led seminar assessment, and subsequent discussion in student-led seminars. Effective written communication in examinations. Some of the lectures, and the student-led seminars will include discussions on papers and reports that will require the active participation of the students.
Improving own Learning and Performance Outside the formal contact hours, students will be expected to research materials, manage time and meet deadlines. The students will be able to monitor their own progress by the results of the continuous assessment that will be directly related to the content of the formal lectures and for the completion of assessed coursework, that will require the understanding of the concepts explained in those lectures.
Information Technology Use of electronic databases to find primary literature. Some assessed activities will require the use of specific software (e.g. Powerpoint).
Personal Development and Career planning Students will gain confidence in their ability to evaluate biological problems and objectively assess the quality of proposed solutions.
Problem solving Opportunities that challenge, make the student think for themselves and/or involve finding different ways of working creatively. Involves decision making, enterprising ways of thinking, alternative approaches, innovation, initiative. Through the assessed activities the students will need to apply the concepts learned during the formal lectures to plan and complete the assessment.
Research skills Students will have the chance of using primary sources of scientific literature for the assessments.


This module is at CQFW Level 6