Zubair Ali (right) is on the water last summer.

Junior Zubair Ali Works to Restore Shellfish Populations

Zubair Ali (right) is on the water last summer.

October 26, 2018

Zubair Ali is coming off a summer of scientific study that has propelled him into his junior year at Huntington High School where he is engaged in high level research.

Mr. Ali was part of a Cornell University Cooperative Extension program that is striving to restore the population of clams and mussels in Huntington Bay and Long Island Sound. He worked out of Gold Star Battalion Beach and was supervised by Cornell’s Barry Udelson while toiling alongside two Walt Whitman High School students.

Huntington junior Zubair Ali.
Huntington junior Zubair Ali.

“It was surely a very fun and eye-opening experience,” Mr. Ali said. “One of my main duties was to clean the silos filled with clams that were the size of 500-1000 microns. Since they are filterers, they essentially filter out the water and excrete silt as well as other bacteria in which form a brownish sludge. I also utilized a saltwater hose to clean these silos and scrub the tanks.”

Mr. Ali said he learned how this research project contributes to cleansing the Long Island Sound of pollution. “We also set up FLUPSYs (Floating Upweller System), which were containers seeded with mussels and clams and strategically placed so they can grow in sea environment,” he said. “By spawning the mussels and clams we will be contributing to the goal of placing 40 million of them in the Sound this year. This is being done to help clean the Sound in an environmentally friendly way.”

The Huntington senior found the summer program to be valuable as he moves forward with his studies and his own research at the high school.

“The internship also influenced my current project that I am pursuing in my Science Research Honors class,” Mr. Ali said. “With my partners, Peyton Kalb and Ava Waxenberg we will be observing the effect of ribbed mussels and their methods of filtering out excessive nitrogen from the water. This internship taught me how to work with mussels, their dynamical behavior and how important this research could be to our local community and the environment.”