As a marine biologist and comparative biomechanist, my research uses a blend of anatomy and engineering techniques to answer biological questions about performance in marine animals. Much of this research stems from observing animals in their natural habitat and then recreating the anatomy in the laboratory.
Research interests include:
1) Evolution and performance of filter-feeding in marine fishes (sharks and rays).
2) Function and biomaterials of deep sea fish bones (dragonfish and hatchetfish).
3) Evolution and development of hyperostosis in marine fishes (oarfishes).
4) Mechanical performance and cryogenics of bone in tunas and their relatives
5) Evolution of teeth (denticles) on gill arches and shark reproductive structures.
6) Fish scales as a model for new armor technology (armored catfish, poachers, polypterids, syngnathids).
7) Animal bite/jaw performance - piranhas, squids, sharks, ribbonfishes
8) Digging performance in sand crabs
9) Hauling performance in walruses
Science Friday NPR Manta Ray Gill Rakers 2014
Science Friday NPR Oarfish 2014
Clearing and staining
2013 Oarfish work
New York Times
2013 Six-gill shark research
San Juan islander article
Mantas and whale shark research
2013 California State University Press release & full article - Devil ray research
2013 San Juan Islander
2013 University of Washington press:
2013 American Microscopical Society: http://amicros.org/?page_id=534
2013 Friday Harbor Laboratories feature: http://depts.washington.edu/fhl/enews/winter2013/misty.html
2011 Inside JEB Feature:
2011 American Elasmobranch Society: http://elasmo.org/pastawardwinners.php
2010 UCI COSMOS program
I am affiliated with Manta.org. Please visit this site to learn more about other ongoing manta ray research.
For a link to my work from FHL visit
All images on this website belong to Misty Paig-Tran, The Journal of Experimental Biology, and the Journal of Morphology. Please feel free to use these images for presentations as long as you give me credit. No images may be shared for other purposes, including websites, without my permission.