MDV6003 - Laboratory Animal Science for Aquatics Researchers


This course is no longer taught and is only available for examination.

Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Home examination and written examination
Grade: Passed / Not Passed

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
School exam 70/100 4 hours D
Home examination 30/100 A

Course content

This course is for people who are going to work with live aquatic animals for scientific purposes. People who are going to work with live rodents, pigs or model fish for scientific purposes are directed to the national course in laboratory animal science, CareIn. Link to CareIn

Laboratory animal science (LAS) is a multidiciplinary branch of science. People who will work with research animals, or plan and design experiments involving live animals, need adequate education and training in LAS before they can start their work. This course aims to give the necessary theoretical qualifications to work with live aquatic animals for scientific purposes.

The main aim of this course is to ensure ethical and humane handling of aquatic animals and the collection of informative, objective and reproducible research data. The course follows the theoretical requirements described in the Norwegian regulation on animal experimentation (FOR-2015-06-18-761) §25 and annex E. Additionally, the course aims to follow the theoretical requirements described in the Education and Training Framework by the European Commission to fulfill the requirements for functions (a) (persons who carry out procedures on animals), (b) (persons who design procedures and projects) and (d) (persons who kill animals). The focus of the species-specific parts of the training will be towards aquatic animals.

After completion of this course the participants need practical training with animals. This is organized at the research animal facility at the candidates' home institution.

The course is organized as one part containing general modules for laboratory animal science, and one part focusing on fish and aquatic animals.

Topics included in the general part:

  • Legislation
  • Ethics, animal welfare and 3R (levels 1 and 2)
  • Health hazards
  • Humane endpoints
  • Severity classification
  • Humane killing of animals
  • Public administration and the course of events in animal experiments
  • Design and statistics

Topics included in the part for fish and aquatic animals:

  • Legislation concerning fish research
  • Experimental conditions
  • Stress, biorythms and acclimatization
  • Pain and suffering
  • Anesthesia
  • Handling
  • Surgical procedures
  • Euthanasia
  • Aggression and hierarchy formation
  • Health monitoring and microbiological qualities
  • Genetically modified fish

Learning outcome

After completing the course, the student should be able to:

  • Identify and describe the national and European legislation which regulate the scientific use of animals
  • Describe the authorisation that is needed before acting as a user, breeder or supplier of laboratory animals and especially the authorisation required for projects
  • Indicate who bears primary responsibility for the animals undergoing procedures
  • Describe the differing views within society concerning the scientific use of animals
  • Identify ethical and animal welfare issues in their own work
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the principle of the 3Rs, list examples of how the 3Rs can be implemented in research projects and list sources of information related to the 3Rs
  • Describe the severity classification system and give examples of each category
  • Describe the basic biology of the relevant animal species, including basic anatomy, physiology, reproduction and behaviour; and recognise the importance of attending to biological and behavioural needs
  • Describe the importance of providing an enriched environment to laboratory animals and give examples of environmental enrichment that is appropriate to the species
  • Describe the environmental factors of importance for maintaining an appropriate health status for the animals
  • Describe the biological consequences of acclimatization, habituation and training
  • List potential human health hazards associated with contact with laboratory animals and describe how these can be prevented or reduced
  • Describe abnormal behaviour and signs of discomfort, pain, suffering or distress
  • Discuss methods available for assessing animal welfare
  • Describe the principle of implementing early humane endpoints and how this implementation can influence animal health and welfare during the course of an experiment
  • Define the term "humane killing" and list appropriate euthanasia methods for the relevant animal species
  • Recognise that the choice of a euthanasia method may influence the scientific outcome
  • Describe appropriate methods and principles for handling animals, and describe common techniques / procedures, including administration and sampling techniques
  • Describe where to find relevant and up-to-date information about refinement of animal experiments
  • List the different types of formal experimental designs
  • Identify the experimental unit
  • Describe the variables affecting significance, including the meaning of statistical power and the "p-value"
  • Describe how to monitor the microbiological health of laboratory animals
  • Indicate some of the problems associated with pain recognition and pain management in animals

Learning methods and activities

The theoretical teaching will happen partly as digital self-studies using e-based learning tools with tests and assignments, and partly as lectures (given online or in an auditorium).

The general part will consist of e-based learning tools using course material that will be made available in Blackboard. There will be tests and other assignments to most of the course modules. Completion of tests and assignments is mandatory. The deadline will be given around the start of the semester. Supplementary lectures will be given as online lectures.

The special part for fish and aquatic animals will consist of lectures, either online or in an auditorium.

People who will work with live animals need practical training. The practical training is not part of this course. The practical training needs to be supervised by persons with relevant and up-to-date competence regarding the species and the techniques. Supervision shall take place until the candidate can demonstrate acceptable performance without unnecessary stress to the animals.

People who complete the theoretical course and the practical training will get a course certificate that confirms training to fulfil functions (a) (performing procedures on animals), (b) (designing procedures and projects) and (d) (killing animals). Persons who complete only the theoretical course will get a course certificate that confirms training to fulfil function (b).

Compulsory assignments

  • Mandatory assignments

Further on evaluation

If the written exam is evaluated as "failed" the written exam must be repeated. If the home exam is evaluated as "failed" a new home exam must be submitted.

Specific conditions

Admission to a programme of study is required.

Required previous knowledge

A 3-year education at university or college level is a prerequisite in order for the participant to plan and design procedures and projects (Function (b) in the EU Directive 2010/63).

People without a 3-year university or college education can be qualified to functions (a) and (d) after completing the course.

Course materials

The course syllabus will be the learning material to be used during the course, and in addition a selection of articles and other written material that will be made available for the students. As supportive literature, a text book in laboratory animal science for fish research/aquatic animals is recommended.

More on the course



Version: 2
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Further education, higher degree level


Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Zoophysiology
  • Biotechnology/Aqua Culture
  • Biology
  • Marine Biology
  • Medicine
Contact information
Course coordinator:

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine

Department with administrative responsibility
Section for quality in education and learning environment


Examination arrangement: Home examination and written examination

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD Home examination 30/100 A INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
Autumn ORD School exam 70/100 D PAPIR
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

More on examinations at NTNU