Roslyn students conduct biodiversity research, meet a science legend

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Roslyn High School seniors Michael Arlet, left, and Joshua Fried met Dr. James Watson, the Nobel Prize laureate who co-discovered the double-helix structure of DNA. (Photo courtesy of Roslyn school district)

Roslyn High School seniors Michael Arlet and Joshua Fried met Dr. James Watson, the Nobel Prize laureate who co-discovered the double-helix structure of DNA, while participating in the Barcode Long Island Symposium on May 5 at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Watson is a former director of the lab.

Arlet andFried are part of the Roslyn High School DNA Barcode Club, a research group that studies the biodiversity of Long Island. Their faculty advisor is Lisa Daniels. They have participated in the program for the last two years, and this year they studied the impact of brown tide on the biodiversity of Long Island waters.

The students collected samples of living organisms, extracted the DNA, amplified the DNA through PCR, and then sent the amplified DNA away to be barcoded.  Once the barcode results come back, the student analyzed the results to study the biodiversity.

These two young men discovered a species of jellyfish present in the Long Island waters during the month of April. After doing research on the species, the students found that this species of jellyfish is not normally found in Long Island waters until warmer months such as late July and August.

After looking at the current water temperatures, they discovered that the temperature of the waters off the coast of Long Island were warmer than normal.  The students questioned whether these results could be an indication of global climate change.

The Barcode Long Island program is sponsored by the DNA Learning Center, NIH, CSHL and various science organizations.

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