Photo: C. Olsson

Ecophysiology: Cardiorespiratory & gastrointestinal (ECG)

Research group

Short description

The ECG-group study how mainly fish cope with changes in the environment like temperature, salinity or oxygen as well as effects of food intake.Another important part deals with stress and welfare in fish in aquaculture. Focus lays, as the name implies, on heart, circulation and the gastrointestinal tract and how these organs are controlled and regulated.

Our research

The ECG-group is built around four PI:s with a common interest in zoological ecophysiology and basic research about cardiovascular and gastrointestinal physiology.

Our research projects span over a broad field, and although focus is mainly on fish we also study our animal groups like reptiles, amphibians and mammals.

The ECG group works in a range of habitats including temperate, polar and tropical environments. Much of our research is related to ecophysiological questions where physiological plasticity and responses to both natural and man-made challenges are studied. Such challenges include e.g., feeding-digestion and exercise, as well as environmental variables including temperature, salinity and oxygen levels.

We also perform research with a more applied perspective, addressing questions related to stress physiology and welfare of fish in aquaculture. Another important research interest of the group is the development and application of telemetry and wireless techniques for recordings of physiological variables in free-ranging animals.

The ECG group shares lab spaces and aquarium facilities in the Zoology building at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences in Gothenburg. Together we maintain a large national and international network, and the group frequently hosts and collaborates with international research colleagues and students.

Photo: A. Gräns


Catharina Olsson (senior lecturer)
Andreas Ekström (/researcher)
Erik Sandblom (professor, on leave 2024)
Albin Gräns (researcher, SLU)

Previous member Michael Axelsson (retired professor) is also attached to the group as advisor.


PhD- students

Heidi Sofusardottir Mortensen (started 2022, main supervisor E. Sandblom)
Erika Sundell (SLU, started 2022, main supervisor A. Gräns)
Ulla Saarinen (SLU, started 2022, main supervisor A. Gräns)


Postdocs, temporal employees and other close collaborators

Lucas Zena (SLU)
Jeroen Brijs (University of Innsbruck)


Do you want to join us?

If you are looking for a degree project, please feel free to contact us to discuss possible projects, both on bachelors and masters level.

We also open for discussing potential post doc-applications from either national or international funding agencies.

Blood-doping fish?

The publication ”Extreme blood-boosting capacity of an Antarctic fish represents an adaptation to life in a sub-zero environment" by Jeroen Brijs, Michael Axelsson , Malin Rosengren , Fredrik Jutfelt & Albin Gräns published in  2020 (J. Exp. Biol. 223, jeb218164) was picked up by YouTooBio that made a funny video based on the results.

Navigate to video: An Antarctic fish that does blod doping
Video (2:40)
An Antarctic fish that does blod doping