Luca D’Anna can’t get enough of marine science. The Huntington High School sophomore enjoys studying the sea and the organisms and creatures that call it home.
“For as long as I can remember, I have always loved marine science,” Mr. D’Anna said. “At a young age, I enjoyed going to the beach, fishing and learning about marine life. I really have no idea when and how it started. It was always something that interested me.”
Huntington sophomore Luca D'Anna is studying the breeding habits of a high-end ornamental fish known as discus.
The teenager said participation in the high school’s science research program has helped him increase his knowledge of marine biology by leaps and bounds and he’s enjoying every minute of it.
“For the past couple of years, I spent my summers working on a fishing boat and learning about native marine ecosystems,” Mr. D’Anna said. “When I received a small fish tank as a gift a few years ago, I was exposed to a hands-on way of learning about marine ecology. By making mistakes and doing research, I was able to learn about so many aspects of marine ecology. Having that knowledge is what allowed me to do well during my first year in the science research program.”
The sophomore is now a mainstay in Huntington’s science research program. Mr. D’Anna is pursuing a new project focused on the breeding habits of a high-end ornamental fish known as discus.
Discus is a species of tropical Cichlid, found in the Amazon basin of South America,” according to A-Z Animals, an online resource. “There are three recognized sub-species of discus, including Green Discus, the Blue Discus and the Brown Discus. Discus was first described by Dr. Heckel in 1840 and despite variations in color, all are similar in appearance but are found in different geographic locations.”
“This project could help breeders in the industry increase profits and yields, thereby making this amazing, yet expensive fish, more available to newer hobbyists,” Mr. D’Anna said.
A happy young man with an inquisitive nature, Mr. D’Anna is a budding science research star. “While I have always been eager to learn about marine science, I owe so much of my knowledge and the enjoyment I get out of my hobby to my science research teachers, Mrs. [Lori] Kenny and Mr. [Matthew] Ligouri,” he said. “They both pushed me and set me on the right path to do well in the program and expand my borders to co-curricular activities like Ocean Bowl and working as a lab assistant for Mrs. [Nancy] Goddard and taking care of the fish in her room.”
Mr. D’Anna’s teachers feel the same way about him. “Luca has an immense passion for the marine sciences,” Mrs. Kenny said. “He loves learning about any marine organism and can be found in any classroom in the building with a fish tank eager to help. He’s been a take-charge student mentoring other students. He’s truly a joy to work with each day.”
Every day is a new adventure for Mr. D’Anna. “Overall, I am truly grateful for the wonderful teachers at Huntington that set me on the right path and helped make me who I am today,” he said.