South Huntington would like to extend our congratulations to Sophomores Nathalie Alvarez and Mason Peretson who were recognized in the publication, NIGHTSEA, for their research on the spectral properties of coral fluorescence. Nathalie and Mason have been carrying out their research since they teamed up as Freshmen and are continuing to expand on this topic of coral fluorescence at Walt Whitman High School.
They begin the process by removing the corals from the tanks of the research classroom where they can then place the different species beneath a telescope. Then, they examine the fluorescence by emitting different colors of light, either blue, violet, or ultraviolet, and look to expand their research using more color filters. Nathalie and Mason describe how each species has a unique protein that emits these fluorescent colors and can be measured using a spectrometer. “I'm learning as they're learning it,” said science research teacher, Fred Feraco. “They're discovering new proteins and fluorescent proteins that we don't even know about with the method that they're using.”
The two are interested in collecting further data by utilizing varying colors of light with a variety of corals than what they have experimented with thus far. Mr. Feraco shared how this type of research is very difficult to do independently. Mason’s interest in marine biology and zoology, along with Nathalie’s initiation into this research topic, makes them the perfect team to carry out these observations.
Mason’s and Nathalie’s research being published in the NIGHTSEA newsletter brings to light the interesting and advanced level work that our students are doing at the high school. Mr. Feraco shared “We have the support of two scientists that are helping us via email, so hopefully we can continue and get more students to help in their research.” It’s through these collaborations that science and research classes continue to expand at Walt Whitman, and it’s amazing to see how far our students will go to make new discoveries and to help the program grow.
Read more about Mason and Nathalie’s research in the NIGHTSEA newsletter here: https://nightsea.com/articles/coral-research-wwhs/