More than 30 participants attended the first annual Dr. Rana and Biology Club Day Fall Seminar via Zoom, hosted last month by SJC’s Sustainability Committee and the Department of Biology.
The event was held to commemorate Dr. Mohammad Rana Day, a day that highlights the research accomplishments of Dr. Rana and the Biology Club on the Patchogue Lake. It was organized by the Sustainability Committee and Department of Biology.
In the early 1990s, SJC students were studying the aquatic communities of Patchogue Lake when they learned from neighbors that the lake was deteriorating. Negligence and pollution were believed to be the cause, so students began studying the water flow of the lake, as well as various other factors responsible for the deterioration.
They later hosted several workshops to educate the community and get them involved in restoration efforts. And with the help of the Biology Club and Frank Antonawich, Ph.D., they began efforts to increase the water flow of the lake and remove debris.
“I was inspired by Sisters Elizabeth Hill, Loretta McGrann and Suzanne Franck, who were supportive of our efforts,” Dr. Rana said. “Patchogue Village and Town of Brookhaven officials saw us working in the restoration of the lake and awarded us with proclamations in 2014, and we were also given a research grant to add aerators to the lake.
“I take these experiences with me as I lecture around the globe, inspiring others to help improve their communities, just as my students did,” he added.
To bring the seminar full circle, Dr. Igor Ivanovski, assistant professor of biology at SJC, presented “Biodegradation of Environmental Pollutants by Sphingomonas Wittichii RW1,” discussing pollutants in water, soil and air, and how bacteria can be altered to essentially help the environment clean itself.
You can click here to view the full seminar.