Cosima Porteus

Cosima Porteus
Assistant Professor
Telephone number
Building SW 513A

Research Interests

The focus of our laboratory is to understand how fish sense, interact with and respond to their environment, linking environmental changes or challenges to whole animal physiology, behaviour and ecology. Our current focus is on anthropogenic factors as these have contributed significantly to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2). The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased in the last 100 years and it is predicted that it will continue to do so in a business as usual scenario. The oceans absorb about a quarter of the total CO2 released into the atmosphere and this consequently leads to ocean acidification. Additionally, sea surface temperatures are also increasing as a consequence of climate change. We are currently using a combination of techniques including in vivo physiology, cellular imaging, high through-put sequencing, immunohistochemistry, and nerve recording, in combination with behaviour experiments to gain a better understanding of the fundamental mechanisms that allow aquatic animals to respond to environmental stressors. We have recently shown that elevated carbon dioxide affects the olfactory system of European sea bass (Porteus et al 2018, Nature Climate Change). These findings have far-reaching impacts and applications from marine conservation to commercial and recreational fisheries. The current research in our lab is investigating the effect of multiple stressors on the olfactory pathways in fish.

  • Environmental change
  • Behavioural analysis
  • Ocean acidification
  • Olfaction
  • Electrophysiology
  • Hypoxia
  • Climate change
  • Multiple stressors
  • Plasticity
  • Hydrogen sulphide

Research Area

Comparative physiology, fish sensory systems, conservation physiology


Current Research

  • Investigate mechanisms by which ocean acidification impairs olfaction in fish
  • Determine how fish will respond to multiples stressors
  • Examine the role plasticity plays in response to climate change
  • Investigate the role of hydrogen sulphide in the ageing process

We are currently recruiting graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Please inquire via email.



Mourabit S, Fitzgerald JA, Ellis RP, Takesono A, Porteus CS, Trznadal M, Metz J, Winter MJ, Kudoh T, Tyler CR. (2019). New insights into organ-specific oxidative stress mechanisms using a novel biosensor zebrafish. Environment International 133: 1-9.

Porteus CS, Hubbard PC, Uren Webster TM, van Aerle R, Cánario A, Santos EM, Wilson RW. (2018). Research Article: Ocean acidification directly impairs olfaction in a marine teleost. Nature Climate Change 8: 737–743.

Poulton DA†, Porteus, CS, Simpson, SD. (2017). Combined impacts of simulated ocean acidification and anthropogenic noise on European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax). ICES Journal of Marine Science 74: 1230-1236.

Perry SF, Kumai Y, Porteus CS, Tzaneva V, Kwong RWM. (2016). Invited review: An emerging role for gasotransmitters in the control of breathing and ionic regulation in fish. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 186: 145-159.

Porteus CS, Pollack J, Tzaneva V, Kwong RWM, Kumai Y, Abdallah SJ, Zaccone G, Lauriano R, Milsom WK, Perry SF. (2015). A role for nitric oxide in the control of breathing in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Journal of Experimental Biology 218: 3746-3753.

Kumai Y, Porteus CS, Kwong RWM, Perry SF. (2014). Hydrogen sulfide inhibits Na+ uptake in larval zebrafish, Danio rerioPflügers Archiv – European Journal of Physiology 467: 651-664.

Porteus CS, Abdallah SJ, Pollack J, Kumai Y, Kwong RWM, Yew HM, Milsom W K, Perry SF. (2014). The role of hydrogen sulphide in the control of breathing in hypoxic zebrafish (Danio rerio). The Journal of Physiology 592: 3075-3088.

Porteus CS, Wright PA, Milsom WK. (2014). Characterization of putative oxygen chemoreceptors in bowfin (Amia calva). Journal of Experimental Biology 217: 1269-1277.

Porteus CS, Wright PA, Milsom WK. (2014). Time domains of the hypoxic cardio-ventilatory response in bowfin (Amia calva). Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology 192: 118-127.

Porteus CS, Wright PA, Milsom WK. (2014). The effect of sustained hypoxia on the cardio-respiratory response of bowfin Amia calva: implications for changes in the oxygen transport system. Journal of Fish Biology 84: 827-843.

Lim JE, Porteus CS, Bernier NJ. (2013). Serotonin directly stimulates cortisol secretion from the interrenals in goldfish. General & Comparative Endocrinology 192: 246-255.

Porteus CS, Brink D, Coolidge EH, Fong AY, Milsom WK. (2013) Distribution of acetylcholine and catecholamines in fish gills and their potential roles in the hypoxic ventilatory response. Acta Histochemica 115: 158-169.

Porteus CS, Brink DL, Milsom WK. (2012). Invited review: Neurotransmitter profiles in fish gills: Putative gill oxygen chemoreceptors. Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology 184: 316-325.

Bianchini K, Tattersall GJ, Sashaw J, Porteus CS, Wright PA. (2012). Acid water interferes with salamander-green algae symbiosis during early embryonic development. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 85: 470 – 480.

Porteus CS, Hedrick MS, Hicks JW, Wang T, Milsom WK. (2010). Invited review: Time domains of the hypoxic ventilatory response in ectothermic vertebrates. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 181: 311-333.

Coolidge EH, Ciuhandu CS, Milsom WK. (2008). A comparative analysis of putative oxygen-sensing cells in the fish gill. Journal of Experimental Biology 211: 1231-1242.

Ciuhandu CS, Wright PA, Goldberg JI, Stevens ED. (2007). Parameters influencing the dissolved oxygen in the boundary layer of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) embryos and larvae. Journal of Experimental Biology 210: 1435-1445.

Ciuhandu CS, Stevens ED, Wright PA. (2005). The effect of oxygen on the growth of Oncorhynchus mykiss embryos with and without a chorion. Journal of Fish Biology 67: 1544-1551.