In the Mehta lab, we oftentimes have several ongoing projects that undergraduates can become involved with. Check out some past and present examples of projects that our amazing undergraduate researchers have led or helped with (listed below)! We also partner with the REU program hosted through USC Dornsife to host summer researchers from both UCSC and other universities.

Interested in becoming an undergraduate researcher in the Mehta lab?

1) Look through the research projects below AND look through the interests of the current graduate students.

2) Email with your resume and specific areas of research that you may want to be involved in, as well as your availability (ex., “I am capable of dedicating ___ hrs a week to research and will be free Monday/Wednesdays from 1:00 – 5:00)

3) For other research opportunities in EEB check out the Departmental Undergraduate Website – folks oftentimes post current opportunties there!


Jumping Fish!
Investigating the physiology & kinematics of arowana jumping behavior

The Moray’s Got Moves!
The influence of crevice size on prey manipulation behaviors in the California moray eel

Moray eels can use their elongate bodies to manipulate prey within the confines of reef crevices, using a diverse array behaviors (ex: tail anchoring, knotting) …but it is unknown which behaviors they can (or “can-knot”) use between differently sized environments! Liliana Pruett (UCSC graduate), assisted by Sacha O’Conner, investigated how feeding behaviors vary between different spatial foraging contexts. The results of this study are currently in review for publication.

Using The Force!
Sacha O’Conner and Sophia Robinette are trying to deduce the forces morays can leverage during different prey manipulation behaviors, as well as the directionality each behavior exerts (pull vs push).

Bill Moray gets their dinner!…which is attached to a force gauge, allowing Sacha & Sophia to measure the forces behind different feeding behaviors

Moray Monitoring!
REU students oftentimes assist with the ongoing mark-recapture project off Santa Catalina Island. With 13+ years of data, this is longest running monitoring project with morays in the world.

Measuring the gape of an anesthetized California moray eel. This individual will be safely weighed and tagged, and then returned to the ocean to be re-measured the following year!