The Diverse World of Fishes

  • Anders FernöEmail author
  • Otte Bjelland
  • Tore S. Kristiansen
Part of the Animal Welfare book series (AWNS, volume 20)


When we try to improve the welfare of fish in aquaculture, public and private aquaria, and experimental research we need to take into account how fish live in their natural environments. There is enormous diversity in the world of fishes. Each species has adapted to specific habitats and co-existing species, with their anatomical, physiological, and behavioural traits in concert enabling them to survive, grow and reproduce. Fish species have different life histories with regard to longevity, rate of growth, age of reproduction, and number of reproductions and offspring. The great diversity of ways in which fish eat and avoid being eaten results in a wide range of patterns of activity and movement, while reproductive behaviour shows remarkable variation, ranging from mass spawning to long-term pair bonds. Fish may live as solitary individuals, in shoals, or huge schools. They use a set of sensors to obtain an integrated view of their environment, and communicate using various sensory channels. To behave in an adaptive way, they require the mechanisms to do what they need to do to survive and prosper. Physiological adaption to environmental variations is crucial, but rapid changes in the environment caused by human activities can impair welfare and even cause selective mortality, leading to genetic changes throughout entire populations. Fish may be classified into proactive and reactive species with different basic “personalities”, and only species with the appropriate personality are suitable for farming.


Habitat Life history Feeding Predation Shoaling Communication Mechanisms Human activities 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anders Fernö
    • 1
    Email author
  • Otte Bjelland
    • 2
  • Tore S. Kristiansen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Institute of Marine ResearchBergenNorway

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