Urchins Rising

Avery DeSantis (Undergraduate Student)
Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology


Sea urchins are resilient and findings suggest differences in parental growing conditions affect offspring performance, providing a response to climate change. I created an abstraction of purple sea urchins and their environment to illuminate the scope of organisms impacted by climate change.

I captured images for this work while helping PhD student Terence Leach study the role of paternal experience on offspring DNA and development in purple sea urchins. When sea urchins release gametes (sperm and egg), they create a beautifully contrasting palette of orange and cream to their purple spines and exoskeleton. Photos of sea urchins, kelp, and the local ocean were illustrated using a Nikon DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera. Next, I used Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop editing programs to do the following: adjust the image lighting, extract a color from each environmental component, and create repeating geometric shapes using the color extractions to present a sea urchin landscape. Lastly, I included closeups of each source image to help give context to the piece.