Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 5-2017


Science and art are interrelated in the form of scientific illustration: the act of observing a subject and translating the gained knowledge into a visual form. Humans have found inspiration from the natural world since our beginnings, but the practice of accurately portraying it arose with the growing interest in natural science in the 15th century. This paper explores three questions: what is scientific illustration, what is its role in scientific research, and how has it changed through history? Modern scientific illustration thrives as an effective method to teach the general public environmental issues. I present a case study using my own personal artwork to illustrate a literature review of conducted scientific research investigating the effects of ocean acidification on echinoderms. All echinoderms have calcified structures, ranging from larval support structures to endoskeletons made of ossicles embedded in the skin of sea stars, sea cucumbers, and sea urchins, and these structures may be impacted by acidified conditions. Larval echinoderms are especially at risk. The reviewed literature suggests that adults exhibit the ability to acclimate to short term acidification, but the long term impacts are not well understood. To more accurately predict the impact of ocean acidification on echinoderms, additional research should study long-term exposure and incorporate impacts on community dynamics as well as individuals.