Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Andrew Stoehr


Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of an organism to alter its expressed phenotype in response to the environment in which it develops. There are many different environmental factors that can influence the phenotype of organisms such as photoperiod, temperature, mechanical strain, as well as nutrient availability (Stoehr and Goux 2008; Schneider et al. 2014). Adaptive plasticity allows organisms to cope with varying and complex environments and changing conditions. Along with these factors, the effects of changing environments caused from habitat alterations or climate change need to be studied more in depth. Understanding the ecology of plastic organisms is important for understanding range changes, especially with a changing climate. A model organism with already established patterns of phenotypic plasticity can be used to analyze differences in latitudes as well as changes that have occurred over past decades to ultimately lead to a study focusing on the long-term effects of global climate change. In order to study this effect, specific organisms need to be examined to extrapolate information to other organisms.