Biology of Fishes //

Course Overview

Biology of Fishes is designed for upper-level undergraduates well versed in biological and chemical principles. The 300-level course provides an introduction to the biology of jawless, cartilaginous, and bony fishes—their classification, evolution, form, physiology, and ecology. During the course students will explore and appreciate the differences and great diversity among fishes. The course combines traditional ichthyology such as systematics, taxonomy, anatomy, and distribution with fish ecology including species interactions, feeding, thermal regulation, reproductive diversity, adaptations, behavior, and conservation. It emphasizes the phylogenetic relationships among fishes and the use of systematics as an organizational tool.

The course is taught at the New England Aquarium, providing students with the unique opportunity to study living fishes rather than preserved specimens. During the laboratory periods, students are guided through the myriad families of fishes, focusing on taxonomy and learning the key characteristics that identify individual fish families. This living laboratory provides a unique opportunity to understand the incredible diversity of extant fishes.

Prerequisites: 1 year general biology and two upper level biology courses. Offered Spring Semester, annually.


  • Spring | Tuesdays

  • At the New England Aquarium