The mechanics of cephalopod feeding system

Dr. Mehran Moazen (primary)
Mechanical Engineering
University College London
Prof Susan Evans (secondary)
Cell and Developmental Biology
University College London


Cephalopod diet and feeding systems remain enigmatic. They have a ‘beak’ composed of two jaws with no direct contact, a radula, and specialised masticatory muscles. This project will bring together for the first-time expertise in cephalopod biology and biomechanics to quantitatively characterize the anatomy and function of the feeding system in different species representing all cephalopod families. A range of techniques based on material characterization and computational modelling will be used to test 4 hypotheses, with main focus on [1] material content and mechanical properties of the jaws to correlate these with their bite force and diet; [2] shape and surface properties of cephalopod jaws and its potential correlation with their diet; [3] muscular jaw articulation of cephalopods and the mechanisms that control its motion considering a range of diet; [4] impact of overall jaw and muscular joint morphology on the level of mechanical strain across each component. A major part of cephalopod biology will be unravelled in this project, providing new foundations for cephalopod conservation and other areas such as bioinspired soft robotics.


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Genes, development and STEM* approaches to biology
Area of Biology
EvolutionStructural Biology
Techniques & Approaches
BiochemistryBiophysicsEngineeringImage ProcessingMicroscopy / ElectrophysiologySimulation / Modelling