SICB Division of Vertebrate Morphology (DVM)

DVM Researchers Database Entry

Lara Ferry

Prey Acquisition of Fishes
My research has largely focused on marine fishes, and in particular on traits associated with prey acquisition. It does not take a functional morphologist to note the amazing array of jaw shapes present in nature; from the simple and familiar basses to the robust-jawed sharks and the delicately long-jawed butterflyfish. Through my research I am trying to understand why there is such a diversity. What is the role of functional novelties in both an evolutionary and ecological context? How do we quantify the performance consequences of changes in form? And, what are the functional trade-offs associated with changes in form? I am secondarily interested in ventilation and how fish generate water flow into the head and over the gills (or respiratory structures), as this is fundamentally related to how fish feed. My students often work on these sorts of questions in addition to functional morphological studies of locomotion, respiration, and habitat use. Please visit our lab website ( to learn more!