My research aims to unravel the complex physiological, behavioral and morphological adaptations of marine organisms to the environment.

Here are some of the research topics I’m interested in.



Ecophysiological responses of fishes challenged by climate change stressors


Di Santo, V. 2019 Ocean acidification and warming affect skeletal mineralization in a marine fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286, 20182187.


Di Santo, V. 2016 Intraspecific variation in physiological performance of a benthic elasmobranch challenged by ocean acidification and warming. Journal of Experimental Biology 219, 1725–1733.


Di Santo, V., Tran, A.H. & Svendsen, J.C. 2016 Progressive hypoxia decouples activity and aerobic performance of skate embryos. Conservation Physiology 4, doi:10.1093/conphys/cov067


Di Santo, V. 2015 Ocean acidification exacerbates the impacts of global warming on embryonic little skate, Leucoraja erinacea (Mitchill). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 463, 72–78.


Fish locomotion

Zhu, J., White, C., Wainwright, D.K.,  Di Santo, V., Lauder, G.V., Bart-Smith, H. 2019 Tuna robotics: a high-frequency experimental platform exploring the performance space of swimming fishes. Science Robotics 4, eaax4615.


Zhu, R., Wang, J., Dong, H., Bart-Smith, H., Quinn, D., Di Santo, V., Wainwright, D., Lauder, G. 2019 Computational study of fish-shaped panel with simultaneously heaving and bending motion. AIAA Scitech 2019 Forum. San Diego, California.

Wen, L., Ren, Z., Di Santo, V., Kainan, H., Tao, Y., Wang, T. & Lauder, G.V.  2018 Understanding fish linear acceleration using an undulatory bio-robotic model with soft fluidic elastomer actuated morphing median fins.  Soft Robotics, doi: 10.1089/soro.2017.0085.

Di Santo, V., Kenaley, C.P. & Lauder, G.V. 2017 High postural costs and anaerobic metabolism during swimming support the hypothesis of a U-shaped metabolism-speed curve in fishes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA  114, 13048–13053. 

Saadat, M., Fish, F.E., Domel, A., Di Santo, V., Lauder, G.V. & Haj-Hariri, H. 2017 On the rules for aquatic locomotion. Physical Review Fluids  2, 083102.

Di Santo, V., Blevins, E.L. & Lauder, G.V. 2017 Batoid locomotion: effects of speed on pectoral fin deformation in the little skate, Leucoraja erinacea. Journal of Experimental Biology 220, 705–712.

Park, S.J., Gazzola, M., Park, C., Park, S., Di Santo, V., Blevins, E.L., Lind, J.U., Campbell, P., Dauth, S., Capulli, A., Cho, A., Yuan, H., Pasqualini, F.S., Ahn, S., Maoz, B., Nesmith, A.P., Vijaykumar, R., Choi, J-W., Deisseroth, K., Lauder, G.V., Mahadevan, L. & Parker, K.K. 2016 Phototactic guidance of a tissue-engineered soft-robotic ray. Science 353, 158–162. (COVER)  Watch the cyborg skate swim

Di Santo, V. & Kenaley, C.P. 2016 Skating by: Low energetic costs of swimming in a batoid fish. Journal of Experimental Biology 219, 1804–1807.

Lauder, G.V. & Di Santo, V. 2015 Swimming mechanics and energetics of elasmobranch fishes. In Fish Physiology Vol. 34A, Physiology of Elasmobranch Fishes: Structure and Interaction with Environment. (R. E. Shadwick A. P. Farrell and C. J. Brauner, eds.), pp.219–253. New York: Academic Press.



Thermal biology and scaling

Di Santo, V., Jordan, H.L., Cooper, B., Currie, R.J., Beitinger, T.L. & Bennett, W.A. 2018 Thermal tolerance of the invasive red-bellied pacu and the risk of establishment in the United States. Journal of Thermal Biology 74, 110–115.

Di Santo, V. & Lobel, P.S. 2017 Body size and thermal tolerance in tropical gobies. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 487, 11–17.

Di Santo, V. & Lobel, P.S. 2016 Size affects digestive responses to increasing temperature in fishes: physiological implications of being small under climate change. Marine Ecology 37, 813–820.


Di Santo, V. & Bennett, W.A. 2011 Is post-feeding thermotaxis advantageous in elasmobranch fishes? Journal of Fish Biology 78, 195–207.


Di Santo, V. & Bennett, W.A. 2011 Effect of rapid temperature change on resting routine metabolic rates of two benthic elasmobranchs. Fish physiology and biochemistry 37, 929–934.


Wells, D. L., El-Sheikh, E. M., Sutton, M. A., Di Santo, V. & Bennett, W. A. 2009. Automated image processing of X-radiographics of digestion in stingrays. IC-AI 2, 715–719.





Di Santo, V., O’Boyle, L.A., Saylor, R.K., Dabruzzi, T.F., Covell, M.A., Kaack, K., Scharer, R., Seger, K., Favazza, N., Pomory, C.M. & Bennett, W.A. (in review) Coral loss alters guarding and farming behavior of dusky damselfish, Stegastes adustus.

O'Connell, K.A., Di Santo, V., Maldonado, J., Molina, E. & Fujita, M.K. 2019 A tale of two skates: Comparative phylogeography of North American skate species with implications for conservation. Copeia 107, 297–304.


Rossi, F., Gribsholt, B., Gazeau, F., Di Santo, V. & Middelburg, J.J. 2013 Benthic complex effects of ecosystem engineer loss on ecosystem response to detrital macroalgae. PLoS ONE 8 (6), e66650


Di Santo, V., Pomory, C. M. & Bennett, W. A. 2009. Algal garden cultivation and guarding behavior of dusky damselfish on coral rubble and intact reef in Dry Tortugas National Park. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 2009, 222–228.