Your challenge is to pick a vertebrate animal living in a tropical rainforest and draw/illustrate/predict how it may look in the future due to long term effects of climate change (think thousands of years ... or more!). Please consider habitat changes due to rising temperatures and rising seas, and animal adaptations needed to survive, such as camouflage, defense, eating food, and/or how it moves. Some possible habitat changes to consider are: Inland rainforests that become savannas (rolling grasslands with scattered trees & shrubs) or inland rainforests that become mixed woodlands (low density forest with shrubs and trees), or coastal rainforests that become marshes/seasonal wetlands or become completely underwater. Your entry should provide at least two illustrations - one of your animal in its present habitat and one as an adapted animal in the predicted future habitat. Also, submit a short essay (max 150 words) to explain your illustrations. You are not allowed to choose humans as your animal. Please do NOT include your face or name in your entry!
Go wild... and good luck!
How will climate change affect your creature’s habitat? How will it adapt to its new surroundings? What kind of shelter will it seek? What traits will be selected for in order for it to survive?
Body structures like spikes, horns, or sharp claws, help protect and defend animals against any creature that threatens them. What kinds of defensive body structures will help your creature look tough? How will your animal use these structures to fight off another animal?
When an environment changes, finding food can be harder. Whether your animal eats veggies or meat, it has specialized structures for obtaining food and eating food. What anatomy changes will your creature evolve to help it find food? Will your creature change its diet, if so, why?
Animals need to be able to get from place to place to find shelter, food, and friends. Depending on where they live, they can develop structures to help them get around. How will your creatures’ body change to help it move through this new environment? Will its limbs get longer or shorter? Will it have wings, fins or a tail?
Camouflage is an adaptation that allows animals to blend in with their environment. This is useful when hiding from predators or hunting for food. What physical color or pattern will your creature have? Will it camouflage in its new environment? Why or why not?
Future Engineers hosts online contests and challenges for K-12 students, including the recent Mars 2020 "Name the Rover" contest. This challenge platform was developed with support from the US Department of Education and all challenges are free for student/classroom participation.