Honors Projects


Racing Against Time: Reptiles' Struggle to Adapt to Climate Change


Racing Against Time: Reptiles’ Struggle to Adapt to Climate Change centers around the concept of evolution and explores the effect that climate change will have on the animals that we share this planet with. Climate change raises global temperatures and in turn, affects a variety of environments and weather patterns. As humans, we often focus on how climate change will affect us and we fail to recognize the impact it will have on animal species around the globe. Reptiles are especially vulnerable to climate change because they rely on temperature regulation to stay warm and active. I have chosen to focus on three lizard species from the southwest region of Oceania because of how severely climate change will impact that region. It is predicted that 40% of the existing lizard species will go extinct by 2080. In my project, I visually predict how lizards will have to physically evolve to adapt to the rising global temperatures. Through a series of digital paintings, I compare lizards that exist in 2017 to lizards that hypothetically have had to physically adapt to survive in the 2080 climate. I make use of the format of a naturalist’s journal to emphasis the scientific aspects of the work.

Through this project, I hope to provide a glimpse into what the future might hold for reptiles, and to impart some understanding about how fast they would have to evolve to survive. Though my concern is for the future of reptiles, I also hope to shed some light on the ever-growing threat of climate change.


School of Art


Art – BFA in Digital Arts

First Advisor

Bonnie Mitchell

First Advisor Department

School of Art

Second Advisor

Eileen Underwood

Second Advisor Department

Biological Sciences

Publication Date

Fall 12-6-2017

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