Christine Couturier

Christine Couturier

Postdoctoral Fellow
Biological Sciences


  • 2007 Ph.D., Marine Biology, University of La Rochelle, France
  • 2003 M. Sc. Oceanography, University of Quebec in Rimouski, Qc, Canada
  • 1999 B. Sc., Biology, University of Poitiers, France

Teaching Responsibilities

BIOL A112L - Human Anatomy and Physiology Lab II

Research Interests

My research focuses on the functional response and adaptive performance of aquatic vertebrates exposed to environmental and human pressures. I am comparing the physiological response of different organisms at different organization levels (individual, organ, molecular) to obtain an integrated image of the effects of a stressor (for ex. water temperature, oxygen or CO2 water content) mainly on fish models. Understand how for ex. temperature and CO2 affect different fish species or populations will help us predict the effects of climate change on aquatic organisms and the economic consequences on fisheries, aquaculture or tourism but also work on environmental conservation.

My current project at UAA involves an other aquatic vertebrate model, the anoxia-tolerant red-eared slider and its ability to live for months without oxygen at low temperature. To understand better how the heart of the slider keeps beating in absence of oxygen, I am investigating the location and function of pacemaker channels in the heart. Ultimately, elucidating the cardiac adaptations that enable the turtle heart to continue to function in the presence of little to no oxygen will lead to new understanding and novel treatments for pathologies related to hypoxia and rhythm disturbances in the human heart.


  • Andersen N.G., Chabot D. and Couturier C.S. (2016) Modelling gastric evacuation in predatory fish of crustacean prey with a robust exoskeleton. Journal of Fish Biology 88, 1886-1903
  • Wilkie M.P., Stecyk J.A.W., Couturier C.S., Sidhu S., Sandvik G.K., and Nilsson G.E. (2015) Reversible brain swelling in crucian carp (Carassius carassius) and goldfish (Carassius auratus) in response to high external ammonia and anoxia. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A 184, 65-75
  • Anttila K.*, Couturier C. S.*, Øverli Ø., Johnsen A., Marthinsen G., Nilsson G. E. and Farrell A. P. (2014) Atlantic salmon show capability for cardiac acclimation to warm temperatures Nature Communications doi: 10.1038/ncomms5252; *co-first authors
  • Bowden A.J., Gardiner N.M., Couturier C.S., Stecyk J.A.W., Nilsson G.E., Munday P.L. and Rummer J.L. (2014) Alterations in gill structure in tropical reef fishes as a result of elevated temperatures. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A 175, 64-71
  • Rummer J.L., Couturier C.S., Stecyk J.A.W., Gardiner N.M., Kinch J.P., Nilsson G.E. and Munday P.L. (2013) Life on the edge: thermal optima for aerobic scope of equatorial reef fishes are close to current day temperatures. Global Change Biology 20, 1055-1066
  • Wilson C.M., Stecyk J.A.W., Couturier C.S., Nilsson G.E. and Farrell A.P. (2013) Phylogeny and effects of anoxia on hyperpolarization activated, cyclic nucleotide-gated channel gene expression in the heart of a primitive chordate, the Pacific hagfish (Eptatretus stoutii). Journal of Experimental Biology 216, 4462-72.
  • Rummer J.L., Stecyk J.A.W., Couturier C.S., Watson S.-A., Nilsson G.E. and Munday P.L. (2013) Elevated CO2 enhances aerobic scope of a coral reef fish. Conservation Physiology 1. doi: 10.1093/conphys/cot023
  • Couturier C.S., Stecyk J.A.W., Rummer J.L., Munday P.L. and Nilsson G.E. (2013) Species-specific effects of near-future CO2 on the respiratory performance of two tropical prey fish and their predator. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A 166, 482-489.
  • Couturier C.S., Andersen N.G., Audet C. and Chabot D. (2013) Prey exoskeletons influence the course of gastric evacuation in Atlantic cod Gadus morhua L. Journal of Fish Biology 82(3):789-805
  • Stecyk J.A.W., Couturier C.S., Ellefsen S., Fagernes C. and Nilsson G.E. (2012) Quantification of heat shock protein mRNA expression in warm and cold anoxic turtles (Trachemys scripta) using an external RNA control for normalization. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology D 7: 59-72.
  • Couturier C.S., Nonnotte L., Nonnotte G.and Claireaux G. (2008) Interaction between exopolysaccharide and oxygenation levels on habitat selection in the sole Solea solea (L.). Journal of Fish Biology 73(1): 186-195
  • Couturier C.S.,Rouault, A,McKenzie D. J., Robert S., Joassard L., Guillou G. and Claireaux G. (2007) Influence of water viscosity on bioenergetics of the common sole Solea solea: ventilation and metabolism. Marine Biology 152(4): 803-814
  • Claireaux G. & Couturier C.S. and Groison A.-L. (2006) Effect of temperature on maximum sustainable speed and cost of swimming in juvenile European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax). Journal of Experimental Biology 209: 3420-3428

Career History/Work Experience

  • Research professional, University of Alaska, Anchorage, USA 2015-2016
  • Postdoctoral fellow, University of Oslo, Norway 2008-2013
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