LI Aquarium

H-ton Science Researchers Utilize LI Aquarium

The common cuttlefish or Sepia officinalis. (Courtesty of Tennessee Aquarium.)

March 7, 2017

A small group of Huntington High School science research program participants has been making good use of the opportunities offered by the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead.

Sophomores Nathan Gamboa and Kolby Rappel and senior Rachel Roday has been traveling to the popular North Fork facility to conduct research for use in an ongoing project. The teenagers are observing physical patterns adopted by cuttlefish based on a variety of checkered backgrounds.

The Huntington teenagers’ project, which they have spent countless hours developing their project: “The Effects of Different Contrast Backgrounds on the Spectral Discrimination and Camouflaging Capabilities in Sepia officinalis.

“This project is extremely special for me because it marks my fourth and final year with the science research program,” said Ms. Roday, who is also interning with science teacher Lori Kenny, who leads the Huntington High School research program.

LI Aquarium
Rachel Vietheer, Rachel Roday, Kolby Rappel
and Nathan Gamboa at the LI Aquarium.

“While I also get to work with other students and perform special tasks for Mrs. Kenny and the other research teachers, conducting my own research and collecting data is by far my favorite experience,” Ms. Roday said.

Understanding the response of the cuttlefish to visual cues can lead to a greater understanding to how color blind animals distinguish background patterns from shades of colors.

“This project has been extremely beneficial to my partners and me,” Mr. Gamboa said. “Going into this I knew very little about cuttlefish and now I have a much larger respect for these magnificent animals.”

Mrs. Kenny and faculty colleague Gina Carone provided guidance to the students along with Rachael Vietheer, an aquarist on the Riverhead facility’s staff who mentored the Huntington teenagers.

The Huntington research team plans to compete in Long Island Science & Engineering Fair and the New York State Science & Engineering Fair in March and April, respectively.

“I’ve had a great time working with my partners, Nathan and Rachel this year,” Mr. Rappel, “I can’t wait for our upcoming competitions and the years to come in the research program.”

(Huntington junior Nolan Piccola, an intern in the high school science research program, contributed reporting to this story.”

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