Locust Valley High School Seniors Emma Gugerty and Stephanie Bousleiman advanced to the final round of the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair (LISEF). These young scientists, who are the Class of 2013 Valedictorian and Salutatorian, competed against more than 500 Long Island high school students. They are among only the top 25 percent of competitors advancing to the final round.

Emma and Stephanie’s project, “A Comparison of the Diel Vertical Migration Patterns of the Oceanic Whitetip Shark - Carcharhinus Longimanus - to Those of Other Species,” utilized satellite telemetry data in a joint project with graduate students from Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. Data from three different tagged White Tip Sharks was compared to the data of three other species of sharks and two species of Bony Fish. The graduate students tagged the fish off the coast of the Bahamas.

Emma and Stephanie compared the depth of dives to 450 meters, and assessed whether heat exchangers in the bodies of warm-blooded sharks, such as the Great White and Mako Shark, helped with deeper dives than cold-blooded sharks, such as the Blue Shark and the Oceanic White Tip. They also compared the structure of cartilaginous shark skeletons and their role in deep dives to those of bony fish skeletons.

The LISEF Fair is the regional fair of the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Emma and Stephanie will compete on March 11th for the chance to move on to the international fair in Phoenix Arizona. The international fair is considered the Olympics of Science Research, attended by 1,500 students from approximately 70 countries.

Science Research coordinator Chris Hoppner said the girls worked tirelessly on their project. “Emma and Stephanie spent endless hours on their research and their efforts paid off. Their project is impressive even for someone beyond the high school level,: he said. He added that the project taught them important research skills and scientific methods which will greatly benefit them in their post high school educations.

Good luck in the finals, Emma and Stephanie!