Sachem Students Decode Long Island Biodiversity

Sachem Students Decode Long Island Biodiversity photo
Six Sachem High School North science research students making up two teams recently worked to expand their genetics knowledge through the Barcode Long Island program. 

The program, led by the Cold Spring Harbor DNA Learning Center and in collaboration with the American Museum for National History, Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University, aims to enhance student understanding of the interdependence between humans and the natural environment. 

Each team of Sachem students developed a project to investigate biodiversity on Long Island and submitted a written proposal to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for its annual symposium. Once accepted, the student-scientists took to the field to collect water quality data and biological specimens. Students then recently utilized the genetics lab at Stony Brook University to complete gel electrophoresis before sending the DNA samples out to be sequenced. Students worked alongside professional geneticists to extract and amplify DNA from almost 40 organisms. 

Through the Barcode Long Island program students gain an authentic science research experience harnessing the capabilities of genetics labs they would not otherwise have access to until college. Following the student research, each team will create a poster that will be presented to peers and professionals at the annual symposium held at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center. 

Last year, a team of Sachem students discovered two organisms that have never been sequenced for DNA before.