Project Overview

Impact of climate change on barnacle exoskeleton formation

Faculty Sponsor

Rebecca Metzler (


Physics and Astronomy


Barnacles are marine organisms found in intertidal zones throughout the world. The adult barnacle consists of a soft animal surrounded by a mineralized exoskeleton. Before reaching this adult stage, the barnacle undergoes several metamorphoses. Despite remaining largely unchanged for the millions of years barnacles have been found on earth, there are questions as to how they will manage the predicted changes to their marine habitats due to climate change. We are specifically focusing on the increasing temperature and decreasing pH of the ocean water. Our experiments will examine how barnacle exoskeletons develop, thinking about the way the environment plays a role in that development. The student or students involved in the project will follow barnacles through one stage of metamorphosis, controlling their growth environment, and collect data on barnacle exoskeletons. Data collection will include, but not be limited to: digital images, hardness testing, visual light microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

Student Qualifications

Interest in interdisciplinary science

Number of Student Researchers

1-2 student

Project Length

8 weeks

Applications open on 01/03/2022 and close on 02/04/2022

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (