Fritz Hertel

Fritz Hertel
(818) 677-3353
Office location:
Chaparral Hall 5321



University of California Los Angeles, Ph.D.

Research Specialties

Most of my research concerns the functional morphology of birds and mammals and its relationship to ecological segregation among species. I am also interested in macroevolutionary questions such as how morphological and functional diversity compares among recent and fossil communities (e.g., vultures, raptors, antelopes).

Current Research Projects

Ecomorphological diversity of feeding, flying, and killing behavior among recent and fossil birds of prey

Wing diversity as related to foraging strategies among pelagic seabirds

Conservation and ecology of birds from Chilean islands

Form and function of the hindlimb of birds - the antitrochanter and automated balance system

Ecomorphology of recent and fossil African antelopes as related to habitat preferences

Ecomorphology of caracaras and the evolution of large scavenging birds

Representative Publications

Louys, J., S. Montanari, T. Plummer, F. Hertel, & L. C. Bishop (2012). Evolutionary Divergence and Convergence in Shape and Size within African Antelope Proximal Phalanges. Journal of Mammalian Evolution: DOI 10.1007/s10914-012-9211-4

Sustaita, D. and Hertel, F. (2010). In-vivo bite and grip forces, morphology, and prey-killing behavior of North American accipiters (Accipitridae) and falcons (Falconidae). Journal of Experimental Biology 213: 2617-2628.

Plummer, T., Bishop, L. and F. Hertel (2008). Habitat preference of extant African bovids based on astragalus morphology: operationalizing ecomorphology for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. Journal of Archaeological Science 35: 3016-3027.

Hertel, F. and K. E. Campbell (2007).  The antitrochanter of birds: form and function in balance.  Auk 124(3): 789-805.

Brewer, M. and F. Hertel (2007).  Wing shape and flight behavior of pelecaniform seabirds.  Journal of Morphology 268: 866-877.

Maldonado, J. E., F. Hertel, and C. Vilà (2004). Discordant patterns of morphological variation in genetically divergent populations of ornate shrews (Sorex ornatus). Journal of Mammalogy 85(5):886-896.

Hertel, F. and L. T. Ballance (1999). Wing ecomorphology of seabirds from Johnston Atoll. Condor 101(3): 549-556.

Roy, M. S., J. C. Torres-Mura, and F. Hertel (1998). Evolution and history of hummingbirds (Aves: Trochilidae) from the Juan Fernandez Islands, Chile. Ibis 140(2): 265-273.

Hertel, F. (1995). Ecomorphological indicators of feeding behavior in Recent and fossil raptors. Auk 112(4): 890-903.

Hertel, F. (1994). Diversity in body size and feeding morphology within past and present vulture assemblages. Ecology 75(4): 1074-1084.

Van Valkenburgh, B.and F. Hertel (1993). Tough times at La Brea: Tooth breakage in large carnivores of the Late Pleistocene. Science 261: 456-460.


Avian Ecology (Biol 514)
Mammalogy (Biol 415) 
Marine Tetrapods (Biol 433)
Tropical Vertebrates (Biol 508) 
Comparative Anatomy (Biol 432)

Graduate Students

Greg Avellis – The effects of interspecific competition and habitat use on some New World flycatchers 
Josh Sausner - Ecomorphology of storm-petrels from the Pacific coast of the Americas

Francis van Oordt – Ecomorphology and foraging behavior of Pacific boobies
Allan Harell – Ecomorphology of cormorants from Mediterranean climates
Jessica Dooley - Bald Eagle space use and diets on the CA Channel Islands determined by GPS and stable isotopes
Michael Brewer - Wing shape and flight behavior in pelecaniform seabirds
Diego Sustaita - Musculoskeletal underpinnings to differences in killing behavior between North American accipiters and falcons