[Bold text] = lab members, * = undergraduate co-authors

^ = high school student co-authors




Valenzuela-Toro, AM, Costa, DP, Mehta, RS, Pyenson, ND, Koch, PL. 2023. Unexpected decadal density-dependent shifts in California sea lion size, morphology, and foraging niche. Current Biology. 

Valenzuela-Toro, AM, Mehta, RS, Pyenson, ND, Costa, DP, Koch, PL. 2023. Feeding morphology and body size shape resource partitioning in an eared seal community. Biology Letters19(3), 20220534.

Carrillo, E, Mehta, RS. 2023. Adaptations to Aquatic Life. In: Snakes: Morphology, Function, and Ecology.


*Moretto, W, *Stahl, AK, Mehta, RS. 2022. Effects of acute temperature change on California moray prey manipulation and transport behavior. Zoology 154. 

Carrillo, E, *Cruz, M, *Kong, B and Mehta, RS 2022. Life Aquatic: A Review of Adaptations in Non-Avian Reptiles. eLS.

Kienle SS, Friedlaender AS, Crocker DE, Mehta RS and Costa DP. 2022. Trade-offs between foraging reward and mortality risk drive sex-specific foraging strategies in sexually dimorphic northern elephant seals. R. Soc. open sci. 9210522210522.


Dale KE, *Hallisey RMehta RS. 2021. Coloration is related to habitat in Gymnothorax mordax, an elongate kelp forest predator. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 677:67-79.

Cronin MR, […] Mehta RS, […] Voss KM, et al.. 2021. Anti-racist interventions to transform ecology, evolution and conservation biology departments. Nature Ecology & Evolution. 5(9):1213-23.

Voss KM, Mehta RS, 2021. Asymmetry in the frequency and proportion of arm truncation in three sympatric California Octopus species. Zoology 147.

Mehta RS, *Donohoe KR. 2021. Snowflake morays, Echidna nebulosa, exhibit similar feeding kinematics in terrestrial and aquatic treatmentsJ Exp Biol. 224 (11): jeb234047

Collar DC, DiPaolo EC, Mai SL, Mehta RS. 2021. Body shape transformations by alternate anatomical adaptive peak shifts in blenniiform fishes. Evolution.

Dale KE, Ramírez-Valdez A, McCosker JE, Love MS. 2021. Revising geographic distributions of eastern Pacific moray eels. Bull Mar Sci 97:305–325.


*Gartner SM, and Mehta RS. 2020. Effects of diet and intraspecific scaling on the viscera of muraenid fishesZoology: 125752.

Kienle SS, *Powers J, Kendall T, Richter B, Castle L, Lentes G, Costa D, Mehta RS. 2020. Context matters: Hawaiian monk seals switch between feeding strategies depending on ecological context. Integrative and Comparative Biology. Aug;60(2):425-39.

Mehta RS, Dale KE and Higgins BA, 2020. Marine protection induces morphological variation in the California moray, Gymnothorax mordaxIntegrative and Comparative Biology. 60(2):522-34

Mehta RS, *Akesson K, *Redmann, E., *McCarty‐Glenn, M, *Ortega, R, *Syed, S, *Yap‐Chiongco, M, *Jacquemetton, C and Ward, AB. 2020. Terrestrial locomotion in elongate fishes: exploring the roles of morphology and substrate in facilitating locomotion. Journal of Zoology.

*Redmann ER, *Sheikh A, *Alqahtani A, *McCarty-Glenn M, *Syed S, Mehta RS and Ward AB. 2020. Terrestrial locomotion in American eels (Anguilla rostrata): How substrate and incline affect movement patterns. Integrative and Comparative Biology.


Baliga VB and Mehta RS, 2019. Morphology, ecology, and biogeography of independent origins of cleaning behavior around the world. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 59(3), pp.625-637.

Dale KE, Tinker MT, Mehta RS. 2019. Larval morphology predicts geographical dispersal range of Eastern Pacific eels. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 128:107–121.

Law CJ, Slater GJ, Mehta RS. 2019. Shared extremes by ectotherms and endotherms: body elongation in mustelids is associated with small size and reduced limbs. Evolution. 73(4):735-49.

Kienle SS, *Cacanindin A, Kendall T, Richter B, Ribeiro-french C, Castle L, Lentes G, Costa DP & Mehta RS. 2019. Hawaiian monk seals exhibit behavioral flexibility when targeting prey of different size and shape. Journal of Experimental Biology. 222: 1–10.


Law CJ, ^Duran E, ^Hung N, ^Richards E, ^Santillan I and Mehta RS, 2018. Effects of diet on cranial morphology and biting ability in musteloid mammalsJournal of Evolutionary Biology. 31(12):1918-1931.

Higgins BALaw CJMehta RS. 2018. Eat whole and less often: ontogenetic shift reveals size specialization on kelp bass by the California moray eel, Gymnothorax mordaxOecologia. DOI: 10.1007/s00442-018-4260-x.

Kienle SS, *Hermann-Sorensen H, Costa DP, Reichmuth C, Mehta RS. 2018. Comparative feeding strategies and kinematics in phocid seals: suction without specialized skull morphology. Journal of Experimental Biology. jeb.179424.doi:10.1242/jeb.179424.

Law CJ & Mehta RS. 2018. Carnivory maintains cranial dimorphism between males and females: Evidence for niche divergence in extant MusteloideaEvolution.72:1950–1961.

Baliga VB, Mehta RS. 2018. Phylo-allometric analyses showcase the interplay between life history patterns and phenotypic convergence in cleaner wrassesAmerican Naturalist. 191, E000-E000. doi:10.1086/697047.

Law CJ, Slater G, Mehta RS. 2018. Lineage diversity and size disparity in Musteloidea: testing patterns of adaptive radiation using molecular and fossil-based methods. Systematic Biology67:127–144.


Higgins BAMehta RS. 2017. Distribution and habitat associations of the California moray (Gymnothorax mordax) within Two Harbors, Santa Catalina Island, California. Environmental Biology of Fishes. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-017-0684-0.

Kienle SSLaw CJ, Costa DP, Berta A, & Mehta RS. 2017. Revisiting the behavioural framework of feeding in predatory aquatic mammals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 284:20171035.

Baliga VB, ^Bernstein ZJ, ^Sundaram S, Mehta RS. 2017. Labrid cleaner fishes show kinematic convergence as juveniles despite variation in morphology

Law CJ, Baliga VB, Tinker MT, & Mehta RS. 2017. Asynchrony in craniomandibular development and growth in Enhydra lutris nereis (Carnivora: Mustelidae): Are southern sea otters born to bite? Biological Journal of Linnean Society. 121:420-438.

*Diluzio AR, Baliga VB, Higgins BA, and 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.

*Harrison JS, Higgins BA, and Mehta RS. 2017. Scaling of dentition and prey size in the California moray (Gymnothorax mordax). Journal of Zoology. 122:16–26.

Higgins BA, Pearson D, and Mehta RS. 2017. El Niño episodes coincide with California moray Gymnothorax mordax settlement around Santa Catalina Island, California. Journal of Fish Biology. 90:1570–1583.


Law CJ, ^Venkatram V, and Mehta RS. 2016. Sexual dimorphism of craniomandibular morphology in southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis). Journal of Mammalogy 97:1764-1773.

Law CJ, Young C, Mehta RS. 2016. Ontogenetic scaling of theoretical bite forces in southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis). Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 89:347-363.

Baliga VBMehta RS. 2016. Ontogenetic allometry in shape and flexibility underlies life history patterns of labrid cleaning behavior. Integrative and Comparative Biology 56:416–427.

Collar DC, *Quintero M, *Buttler B, Ward AB, and Mehta RS. 2016. Body shape transformation along a shared axis of anatomical evolution in labyrinth fishes (Anabantoidei). Evolution 70: 555–567.


Barley SC, Mehta RS, Meeuwig JJ, and Meekan MG. 2015. To knot or not? Novel feeding behaviours in moray eels. Marine Biodiversity 46:703–705.

Baliga VB, Mehta RS. 2015. Linking cranial morphology to prey capture kinematics in three cleaner wrasses: Labroides dimidiatus, Larabicus quadrilineatus, and Thalassoma lutescens. Journal of Morphology 276:1377–1391.

Ward AB, Costa A, Monroe SL, Aluck RJ, and Mehta RS. 2015. Locomotion in elongate fishes: A contact sport. Zoology 118:312–319.


Collar DC, Wainwright PC, Alfaro ME, Revell LJ, Mehta RS. 2014. Biting disrupts integration to spur skull evolution in eels. Nature Communications 5:5505.

Baliga VBMehta RS. 2014. Scaling patterns inform ontogenetic transitions away from cleaning in Thalassoma wrasses. Journal of Experimental Biology 217:3597-3606.

Collar DC, Reece JS, Alfaro ME, Wainwright PC, Mehta RS. 2014. Imperfect morphological convergence variable changes in cranial structures underlie transitions to durophagy in moray. American Naturalist 183:E168–84.

Ward AB, Mehta RS. 2014. Differential occupation of axial morphospace. Zoology 117:70–76.


Santini F, Kong X, Sorenson L, Carnevale G, Mehta RS, and Alfaro ME. 2013. A multi-locus molecular timescale for the origin and diversification of eels (Order: Anguilliformes). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 69:884-894.

Collar DC, *Reynaga C, Ward AB, and Mehta RS. 2013. A revised metric for quantifying body shape in vertebrates. Zoology 116:246–257.

Reece JS and Mehta RS. 2013. Evolutionary history of elongation and maximum body length in moray eels (Anguilliformes: Muraenidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. doi: 10.1111/bij.12098


Holzman R, Collar DCMehta RS, and Wainwright PC. 2012. An integrative modeling approach to elucidate suction feeding performance. Journal of Experimental Biology 215:1-13.


Holzman R, Collar DC, Mehta RS, and Wainwright PC. 2011. Functional Complexity Can Mitigate Performance Trade-Offs. The American Naturalist 177:3 E69-E83.


Mehta RS, Ward AB, Alfaro ME, and Wainwright PC. 2010. Body Elongation in Eels. Integrative and Comparative Biology 50:1091-1105.

Ward AB and Mehta RS. 2010. Axial Elongation in Fishes: Using Morphological Approaches to Elucidate Developmental Mechanisms in Studying Body Shape. Integrative and Comparative Biology 50:1106-1119.

*Tran H, Mehta RS, and Wainwright PC. 2010. The effects of ram speed on juvenile tarpon feeding kinematics. Zoology 113: 75-84.


Mehta RS. 2009. Ecomorphology of the moray bite: Relationship between dietary extremes and morphological diversity. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology  82:90-103.

Mehta RS. 2009. Experience shapes the development of behavioral repertoires of hatchling snakes. Journal of Ethology 27:143-151.

2008 and earlier

Holzman R, Day SW, Mehta RS, and Wainwright PC. 2008. Integrating the determinants of suction feeding forces in centrarchid fishes. Journal of Experimental Biology 211:3296-3305.

Wainwright PC, Mehta RS, and Higham TE. 2008. Stereotypy, flexibility and coordination: Central concepts in behavioral functional morphology. Journal of Experimental Biology 211:3523-3528.

Holzman, R, Day SW, Mehta RS , and Wainwright PC. 2008 . Jaw protrusion enhances forces exerted on prey by suction feeding fishes. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 5:1445-1447.

Mehta RS and Wainwright PC. 2008. Functional innovation in the pharyngeal jaw apparatus of moray eels. Journal of Morphology 269:604-619.

Mehta RS and Burghardt GM. 2008. Contextual flexibility: Reassessing the effects of prey size and status on prey restraint behavior of macrostomate snakes. Ethology 114:133–145.

Mehta RS and Wainwright PC. 2007b. Raptorial jaws help moray eels swallow large prey. Nature 449:79-82.

Mehta RS and Wainwright PC. 2007a. Biting releases constraints on moray eel feeding kinematics. The Journal of Experimental Biology 210:495-504.

Moon BR and Mehta RS. 2007. Constriction Strength in SnakesIn: The Biology of Boas and Pythons (ed. R.W. Henderson). Eagle Mountain Publishing Co. Pp 275-281.

Mehta RS. 2006. Meal size effects on antipredator behavior of hatchling trinket snakes, Elaphe helena. Ethology 112:649-656.

Mehta RS. 2003. Prey-handling behavior of hatchling Elaphe helena (Colubridae). Herpetologica   59:469-474.