Christine Couturier, Ph.D.

Dr. Christine Couturier
Term Assistant Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
(907) 786-4795


  • 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 A100 - Human Biology
BIOL A111 - Human Anatomy and Physiology I
BIOL A112 - Human Anatomy and Physiology II
BIOL A111L - Human Anatomy and Physiology - Lab I
BIOL A112L - Human Anatomy and Physiology - Lab II
BIOL A418 - Fish Physiology

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. Understanding 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.


  • Galli, G. L. J., Shiels, H. A., White, E., Couturier, C. S., & Stecyk, J. A. W. (2023). The air-breathing Alaska blackfish (Dallia pectoralis) suppresses brain mitochondrial reactive oxygen species to survive cold hypoxic winters. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol, 276, 111355.
  • Sparks, K., Couturier, C.S., Buskirk, J., Flores, A., Hoeferle, A., Hoffman, J. and Stecyk, J. A. W. (2022). Gene expression of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), HIF regulators, and putative HIF targets in ventricle and telencephalon of Trachemys scripta acclimated to 21 °C or 5 °C and exposed to normoxia, anoxia or reoxygenation. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 267, 111167. 
  • Shiels H.A., White E., Couturier C.S., Hall D., Royal S., Galli G.L.J., Stecyk J.A.W. (2022) The air-breathing Alaska blackfish (Dallia pectoralis) remodels ventricular Ca2+ cycling with chronic hypoxic submergence to maintain ventricular contractility. Current Research in Physiology 5, 25-35. DOI: 10.1016/j.crphys.2022.01.001
  • Stecyk, J. A. W., Couturier, C.S., Abramochkin, D. V., Hall, D., Arrant-Howell, A., Kubly, K. L., Lockmann, S., Logue, K., Trueblood, L., Swalling, C. and Vogt, A. (2020) Cardiophysiological responses of the air-breathing Alaska blackfish to cold acclimation and chronic hypoxic submergence at 5°C. Journal of Experimental Biology 223 (22): jeb225730. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.225730
  • Melleby A.O., Sandvik G.K., Couturier C.S., Nilsson G.E. & Stecyk J.A.W. (2020) H2S-producing enzymes in anoxia-tolerant vertebrates: Effects of cold acclimation, anoxia exposure and reoxygenation on gene and protein expression. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part B: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. 243-244:110430. DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpb.2020.110430
  • Couturier C.S., Stecyk J.A.W., Ellefsen S., Sandvik G.K., Milton S., Prentice H.M. and Nilsson G.E. (2019) The expression of genes involved in excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission in turtle (Trachemys scripta) brain during anoxic submergence at 21 °C and 5 °C reveals the importance of cold as a preparatory cue for anoxia survival. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part D: Genomics and Proteomics. 30, 55-70. DOI: 10.1016/j.cbd.2018.12.010
  • Lefevre, S., Stecyk, J.A.W., Torp, M.-K., Lovold, L.Y., Sørensen, C., Johansen, I.B., Stensløkken, K.-O., Couturier, C.S., Sloman, K. and Nilsson, G.E. (2017) Re-oxygenation after anoxia induces brain apoptosis and memory loss in the anoxia tolerant crucian carp. Journal of Experimental Biology 220, 3883-389
  • 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

  • Term Assistant Professor, University of Alaska, Anchorage, USA 2022-present
  • Term Faculty, University of Alaska, Anchorage, USA 2018-2022
  • Postdoctoral fellow, University of Alaska, Anchorage, USA 2016-2018
  • Research professional, University of Alaska, Anchorage, USA 2015-2016
  • Postdoctoral fellow, University of Oslo, Norway 2008-2013