Ecological Impact, Demographics, and Feeding Behavior of California Moray Eels

For the past 7 years, we have been studying California moray eels (Gymnothorax mordax) on Catalina Island in the California Channel Islands, where eels are found in high densities. This fascinating fish is an apex predator in its ecosystem, yet we know very little about the size of the population, their predation impact on the ecosystem, their mode and timing of reproduction, and even how they get to southern California from source populations in Mexico. Our lab is intent on uncovering the many mysteries of these kelp forest inhabitants.

Published works:

Higgins BA, Mehta R (2018) Distribution and habitat associations of the california moray (gymnothorax mordax) within two harbors, santa catalina island, california. J Environ Biol Fishes 101:95–108

Harrison JS, Higgins B, Mehta R (2017) Scaling of dentition and prey size in the california moray (gymnothorax mordax). Zoology 122:16–26
Diluzio AR, Baliga VB, Higgins BA, Mehta RS (2017) Effects of prey characteristics on the feeding behaviors of an apex marine predator, the california moray (gymnothorax mordax). Zoology 122:80–89
Higgins BA, Pearson D, Mehta RS (2017) El niño episodes increase california moray recruits around santa catalina island. J Fish Biol 90:1570–1583