Animal Physiology - Research - Biological Sciences - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Animal Physiology Research

Animal physiology is the study of how animals work, or more specifically the physical and chemical processes that occur within animals. Examples of these processes  include gas exchange, blood and circulation, osmoregulation, digestion, nervous and muscle systems and endocrinology.

In the School of Biological Sciences, animal physiology research is focused on aquatic organisms, from cardiovascular physiology in fish to osmoregulation in freshwater crayfish. Additional areas of interest include exercise physiology in humans and the physiology of Antarctic species.

Examples of research include

  • Physiological stresses on invertebrates due to human impacts including studies into the live transport of lobsters and acid mine drainage.
  • Examining the impacts of methylmercury in seafood on behaviour and neural gene expression in a mammalian model, and the potential for pesticides in aquacultural feeds to carry-over into the human food chain.
  • Ion transport capacities of inanga (whitebait), an endemic amphidromous fish.

New areas of research are developing around emerging contaminants (eg pharmaceuticals and nanoparticles) and pollutant mixtures which we know very little about. Also the sensitivity of New Zealand’s native fauna to aquatic toxicants is almost completely uncharacterised.

These research areas incorporate many of the standard biochemical and physiological techniques from mammalian and aquatic toxicology as well as large-scale gene expression screening technologies (microarrays).

Research Staff

Bill Davison Prof Bill Davison
Fish Physiology

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