Alaska coastal communities send high school teams to Seward for marine science face-off

02/02/2011

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NR: SG-2011/NR316

Seward, Alaska—High school students from 14 Alaska coastal communities will converge on the Seward Marine Science Center this weekend to showcase their knowledge of marine science in the 14th annual Alaska Tsunami Ocean Sciences Bowl.

Teams from high schools in Juneau, Copper Center, Kotzebue, Petersburg, Unalaska, Cordova, Scammon Bay, Dillingham, Seward, Sitka, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Kotlik, and Wasilla will compete for prizes that include tuition at UAF, and the chance to represent Alaska at the National Ocean Sciences Bowl later this spring in Galveston, Texas.

This year, teams from Dillingham, Sitka, Kotlik, and Scammon Bay will compete for the first time. Several schools are sending more than one team. A total of 20 teams will compete in the three-day event, February 4–6.

"The competition and related activities during the three-day event encourage students to continue to study fisheries and marine science during their postsecondary education, and to consider a career in a marine-related occupation," said Phyllis Shoemaker, longtime Tsunami Bowl organizer.

The UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, Seward Marine Center, has hosted the Alaska regional competition of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl since 1998.

Sponsors include the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, the Alaska Sea Grant College Program, and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in partnership with the National Marine Educators Association, among many other sponsors.

Sunny Rice, the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program agent in Petersburg, has been helping the high school team in her community. Rice said this year's competition is especially interesting because students can tackle a broad range of topics for their research projects.

"That has resulted in a lot of really interesting projects, from things like jellyfish blooms to making better use of salmon cannery fish waste, to the effects of increased nutrients coming from glacial runoff, and the impact of sea otters on Southeast fisheries, for example," Rice said. "And I'd be in trouble if I didn't mention invasive tunicates, since these are what the Petersburg team did their project on."

For more information contact Phyllis Shoemaker, NOSB Coordinator, UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, 907-224-4312, phyllis.shoemaker@alaska.edu. Learn more online at the Alaska Tsunami Ocean Sciences Bowl website.

The Alaska Sea Grant College Program is a statewide marine research, education, communication, and extension service at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. Alaska Sea Grant is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in partnership with the University of Alaska Fairbanks and private industry.

The Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program is a statewide university extension and technical assistance program that helps Alaskans wisely use, conserve, and enjoy Alaska's marine and coastal resources.