Dr. Rita S. Mehta

TitleAssistant Professor
DivisionPhysical & Biological Sciences
DepartmentPBSci-Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department
Web Site ELVer UCSC
Selected Publications
OfficeCenter for Ocean Health 206
Office HoursBy Appointment
Campus Mail StopLong Marine Lab
Mail100 Shaffer Rd
Santa Cruz, CA
picture of Dr. Rita S. Mehta

Research Interests

My research seeks to understand morphological, physiological, and behavioral evolution. I have a special interest in studying the mechanisms guiding diversification in vertebrate clades whose members have evolved an elongate and limb-reduced (or complete loss) body plan such as snakes, anguilliform fishes, and other eel-like vertebrates. I am also interested in the evolution of morphological and behavioral innovations in organismal design.

Biography, Education and Training

I obtained my Bachelors degree from U.C. Berkeley and a Ph.D from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I was a postdoctoral researcher at U.C. Davis from 2006-2009.

Honors, Awards and Grants

National Science Foundation, REU-Supplement for support of project titled, “Revised Metric for Studying Body Shape Diversity Across Vertebrates,” ($10, 500); PI: Rita S. Mehta, (IOS-0819009)

"The Carl Gans Award," in recognition of Carl Gans' scientific career and editorial contributions to animal morphology, biomechanics, and functional biology. This is an annual award presented by the Chair of the Division of Comparative Biomechanics of the Society for the Study of Integrative and Comparative Biology.

National Science Foundation, “Does biting promote or constrain morphological diversity across anguilliform fish?,” ($444,628); PI: Rita S. Mehta, Co-PIs: Peter C. Wainwright & Michael E. Alfaro (IOS-0819009)

Association for the Study of American University Women (AAUW) Postdoctoral

Fellowship, 2006-2007 ($30,133)

Teaching Interests

Animal Physiology

Comparative Physiology & Functional Morphology