California State University Fullerton                                                                 Follow me on Twitter @FABBLab

FABB Lab Fall 2019. Back: Raj Divi, Andrew Lowe, Ryan Fitterer, Ashleigh Davis, Jacob Javier

Front: Lindsay Maldonado, Misty Paig-Tran (PI), Leslie Barron


Oceanside Oarfish 2013
Oceanside Oarfish 2013
Whale shark feeding in Holbox, Mexico. JEB cover shot (2011). Photo by Louise Murray.
Whale shark feeding in Holbox, Mexico. JEB cover shot (2011). Photo by Louise Murray.

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 testing that performance in the laboratory.


Current research: 

1) Evolution and performance of filter-feeding in marine fishes (whale sharks and manta/mobula 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 denticles (teeth) 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 and fluidization of sand beds in sand crabs


9) Hauling performance in walruses


10) Tooth fatigue and replacement in sharks


11) Microplastics pollution and remediation in commercially important food fishes



FABB Lab in the news

JEB. 2011
JEB. 2011

Bad Science Podcast The Shape of Water


Bad Science Podcast Finding Nemo


KFI Radio


Daily Breeze


Science Friday NPR Manta Ray Gill Rakers 2014


Science Friday NPR Oarfish 2014

Radio feature:


Daily Titan


Clearing and staining


Crowd funding


2013 Oarfish work

PBS Interview


New York Times


Nature article






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:


2013 Friday Harbor Laboratories feature:


2011 Inside JEB Feature:


2011 American Elasmobranch Society


2010 UCI COSMOS program


I am affiliated with 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. 



Students interested in joining the FABB lab should contact Dr. Paig-Tran directly. Include a short statement of who you are and your research interests. It is helpful to include an updated C.V. 

*Remember, before contacting any professor about joining their lab, make sure that you do your homework. Know what their lab does. Try to read one of their papers or at least an abstract from their papers. Have a possible research question ready to discuss. This impresses P.I.s and gives you the advantage over students who have not taken the time to look into what happens in that lab.


Contact Misty: