A South Side High School senior is working to replenish the East End's oyster population.
Elizabeth Davoli, of Rockville Centre, has reintroduced some 4,000 oysters to Shinnecock and Tiana bays by creating a sustainable reef. The effort began with cultivation of oysters in cages for up to two years, followed by their release into local waterways.
"The oyster population has been decreasing drastically due to overharvesting," said Davoli, 17, who worked under the guidance of Chris Gobler, a professor in Stony Brook University's School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences. "It's important to repopulate them, because they filter and clean water, which creates a better ecosystem."
Her work is being done through the Town of Southampton's division of the Southold Project in Aquaculture Training (SPAT), a program of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. It was created to encourage community members to restore shellfish to the bays.
Davoli is hoping the project will help her attain her Girl Scout Gold Award. She also is entering it in this year's Intel Science Talent Search and the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology competitions. She is a member of her school's Science, Math and Spanish honor societies and the National Honor Society.