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Santa Cruz, CA

Vikram Baliga, PhD Candidate at UC Santa Cruz, member of the Mehta Lab. Areas of study: ecology, ontogeny, morphometrics, and comparative methods.




I am an evolutionary biologist and functional morphologist. In my research, I explore the relationship between form and function in the skulls of fishes. My analyses integrate ecology and ontogeny with morphometrics and comparative methods.

I am especially enamored of cleaning behavior in fishes. Cleaner fishes pick off ectoparasites and/or tissues from other organisms. This feeding strategy has evolved a number of times in various families of fishes, which gives me the opportunity to explore how convergent cleaner fishes are from a morphological standpoint. Has evolution selected for similar traits each time cleaning has evolved? Or is there more than one way to build a cleaner?

A cleared & stained bicolor cleaner wrasse (Labroides bicolor)

A cleared & stained bicolor cleaner wrasse (Labroides bicolor)

I am a PhD Candidate in the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. My doctoral adviser is Rita S. Mehta.

In my spare time, I also enjoy reading about mythology, shooting photos1, and watching NBA basketball. I'd undoubtedly beat you in a James Harden look-alike contest.

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