Faculty Directory

Dr. Rita S. Mehta
  • Title
    • Associate Professor
  • Division Physical & Biological Sciences
  • Department
    • Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department
    • Institute of Marine Sciences
  • Phone
    831-459-1490
  • Email
  • Fax
    831-459-3383
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Long Marine Lab Ocean Health Building, Coastal Biology Building 265
    • Long Marine Lab 153
  • Office Hours By Appointment
  • Mail Stop Long Marine Lab
  • Mailing Address
    • 130 McAllister Way
    • Santa Cruz CA 95060

Summary of Expertise

Comparative physiology
Functional morphology
Behavioral ecology, Animal Behavior, Ethology

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

UCSC Chancellor's Achievement Award for Diversity 2015


"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.


Teaching Interests

Animal Physiology
Comparative Physiology & Functional Morphology
Biomechanics