Göran Erik Nilsson

Image of Göran Erik Nilsson
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47 22855807
Mobile phone +47 92057838
Room 2605
Visiting address Blindernveien 31 0371 Oslo
Postal address Postboks 1066 Blindern 0316 Oslo


Links to lecture and interview at International Union of Physiological Sciences IUPS 2013



Academic Interests

I have long been interested in animals that can do the extreme. In particular, we have in my research group studied adaptations to variable oxygen levels in the brain, heart and respiratory organs of various vertebrates, including the crucian carp (lat. Carassius carassius; no: karuss) and some freshwater turtles. These are animals that can survive without any oxygen for months. Obviously, the existence of such species shows that evolution solved the problem of living without oxygen millions of years ago - something that medical science has attempted to do with very limited success during the last decades.

My group is also studying the effects of elevated CO2 and temperature on the physiology of marine fishes, from coral reef fishes to salmon, trying to find out how they will cope with the predicted increases in ocean temperature and acidity.

Finally, we have for a long time been examining links between behaviour and physiology in fish, finding that brain monoaminergic neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin and dopamine are intimately connected to stress and aggression in fish during social interactions. Here, our focus is now on the role of neurogenesis (formation of new brain cells) in stress reactions in fish and how neurogenesis is controlled.


  • Course leader for MSc course in Ecological and Comparative Physiology MBV4310
  • Course leader for MSc course in Advanced Cellbiology and Physiology MBV4320
  • Lectures on basic and advanced BSc courses in physiology

Higher education, employment history and contributions in the scientific community

I received my PhD in Zoophysiology from Uppsala University in 1988. Following postdoctoral research in 1989 -1990 at Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, I took up a position as Associate Professor at Uppsala University from 1991 – 1996. Since 1996 I have been a Professor at the University of Oslo. I had a sabbatical stay at the University of Queensland in 2001-2002, and I have done field work in Norway, Sweden, Queensland, and Namibia.


See Google Scholar:



  • Member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
  • Director on the Board of Directors for the Company of Biologists, Cambridge, UK (a charity and non-profit publisher of biological journals).
  • Member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Experimental Biology
  • Partner in the European Science Foundation COST action “Conservation Physiology of Marine Fishes”

International collaboration

  • James Cook University, Australia (on coral reef fish)
  • Univeristy of Alaska, Anchorage, USA (on anoxia tolerance and airbreathing arctic fish)
  • Aarhus University, Denmark (on anoxia tolerance in turtles)
  • University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada (on circulatory physiology)
  • Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, Canada (on ammonia tolerance in fish)
  • McMaster University, Canada (on fish proteomics)
  • Uppsala University, Sweden (On fish behaviour and neurobiology)
  • Gothenburg University, Sweden (On fish behaviour and neurobiology)
  • University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK (on proteomics)
  • Florida Atlantic University, USA (on anoxia tolerance in turtles)
  • University of Liverpool (on ethanol production in fish)


Published Nov. 4, 2010 2:45 PM - Last modified Feb. 14, 2018 11:15 PM