Welcome to the new Virtual Urchin website!

Major update Apr 2021: All of the activities on the site are now mobile compatible !!

Computers are still recommended, and tablets are preferable to phones: please read the Notes at the bottom of this page for details on the latest updates, mobile compatibility and general information about using this site.

Interactive Tutorials

1. microscope basics
microscope tutorialmicroscope measurementmicroscope comparespecimen compare
2. development & embryology
fertilization labembryogenesis to hatchinganalyzing gene function
3. ecology & environment
our acidifying oceanpredator & preysurfing to settlement
4. basic biology
urchin anatomy


  • As of April 2021, all modules are now available in HTML (and thus fully mobile-compatible)!
    • The HTML version of Our Acidifying Ocean was launched, with updated environmental data, in Dec 2020, and with a brand new Part 4 (student action) component added in Apr 2021!
    • An HTML version of Analyzing Gene Function was also launched in April 2021, though some of the previously available interactive elements are not included – see the note added to Page 1 of that activity for more information.
  • Due to its highly interactive nature, this site has been optimized for use with a large screen and a mouse, such as a laptop computer. Devices with smaller screens and touch input, such as a tablet, are supported.
  • The current HTML content should also work on mobile phones, but the activities are not optimized for such a small screen size, and larger screens are preferred if available.
  • At this point, non-English language support is only available for Our Acidifying Ocean (and only in Parts 1-3 of that activity). We're working to expand the choices. If you choose a language, we will remember it and display content in that language if possible!

Please help us by reporting any problems that you find, and feel free to give us any feedback (or email to larvador[at]uw.edu)!