A William Floyd High School student's research on microhabitats in the soil of local graveyards is being published in a science journal.
The work of Jason Rattansingh, 17, a senior at the Mastic Beach school, was selected for an upcoming edition of the Journal of Emerging Investigators , an open-access publication that features original research into the biological and physical sciences by middle school and high school students.
He co-authored the piece with Dominick Caputo, 18, a 2018 graduate currently serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.
"The process of doing research was pretty extensive," Rattansingh said. Of being published, he said, "It feels amazing after working on it for so long."
The duo collected soil samples from the edges of three cemeteries on Long Island — from the Revolutionary War, Civil War and modern-day periods — to gauge the effect of different embalming techniques on the graveyards' microhabitats. They determined there were trends based on location and that bacteria appeared to be in competition with one another.
In addition, a phyla called bacteroidetes that is associated with arsenic metabolism was in higher concentration in the Civil War cemetery. However, school officials said, other factors may have contributed to that variation.
Rattansingh and Caputo earned several awards for the project, including first-place honors in the environmental division of the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair's Junior Varsity Fair.