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Santa Cruz, CA

Functional morphologist and evolutionary biologist

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Welcome!

Bicolor cleaner wrasse (cleared & stained)

Bicolor cleaner wrasse (cleared & stained)

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Anna's hummingbird

Anna's hummingbird

Welcome to my personal site. I am an evolutionary biologist and functional morphologist.

I study the integrative biology of how animals perform behaviors related to feeding and locomotion and how such performance relates to underlying physiology. My approach includes focused, mechanistic studies that answer questions about kinematic, physiological, and neuromuscular control of behavior. What I learn from these studies then informs broader, comparative investigations of how ecology and evolution shape organismal design.

So far, my research has mostly investigated the relationship between form and function in the musculoskeletal systems of vertebrate animals. For more, check out my Research page.

I attained my Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology in 2016 at the University of California, Santa Cruz. My doctoral advisor was Rita Mehta, with whom I continued in a short stint as a postdoc. I am now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Zoology Department at the University of British Columbia, working with Doug Altshuler.

In my spare time, I also enjoy reading about mythology, shooting photos, and watching NBA basketball. I'd undoubtedly beat you in a James Harden look-alike contest.

Contact me: vbaliga@zoology.ubc.ca