SEWARD, ALASKA, March 1999—Five energetic students from Juneau-Douglas High School--calling themselves "Tsunami"--fought off fierce competition to take first place in the Alaska regional competition of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB).
Juneau's Tsunami team defeated nine other Alaska high school teams in competition February 27-28 in Seward. The event included presenting a research paper on the decline of Steller sea lions and a Jeopardy-style ocean knowledge quiz that pitted teams against one another.
Students from Anchorage's Dimond High School won the quiz portion of the competition, but the overall win went to Juneau's Tsunami students because of their first place finish in the research paper presentation and second place standing in the quiz. Dimond took fifth place in the research presentation.
"I'm really proud of all these kids," said NOSB organizer Judy McDonald. "It took months of intense study, research and writing by all the teams to prepare for this competition."
The five students of Tsunami won tuition waivers for their first year of college at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. They also will travel to Washington, D.C. April 10-12 to compete against teams from 17 other states in the finals of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. Winners of the national competition will be invited to participate in the Secretary of the Navy's Engineering and Science Residential Program, a six-week secondary science camp in Mississippi They'll also receive a $1,000 stipend and 3 undergraduate credits. The National Ocean Sciences Bowl is sponsored by CORE, the Consortium for Oceanographic Research & Education. Core is a national organization of ocean research agencies and institutions. The Alaska regional competition is sponsored by the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and the Alaska Sea Grant College Program.
The goal of the competition is to recognize and reward excellence among students interested in ocean studies and to encourage them to join the next generation of oceanographers and marine scientists. The bowl also aims to broaden awareness of the critical value of ocean research among high school students, educators, parents and the public.
Ten teams from eight Alaska high schools entered the Alaska regional competition. Chugiak High School led the field going into the single elimination tournament. Also making it into the elimination rounds were Juneau, Seward, Anchorage's Dimond, Soldotna's Skyview, White Mountain and last year's defending state champion, East Anchorage High School.
Then it was Anchorage's East matched against cross-town Dimond, where Dimond came out on top. Juneau's Tsunami won against White Mountain in the second round of single-elimination play.
Going into the final round, first-ranked Tsunami met their match, with Dimond scoring 78 points against Juneau's 34 points. In the final round, Dimond squared off against the Tsunami team to determine first and second place, while Anchorage East played White Mountain for the remaining slots. The final bowl results were: Dimond first, Juneau's Tsunami team second, and East third.
In addition to the fever pitch of the science competition, other high
school students participated in the first NOSB Art Show, organized to
showcase creative depictions of marine-related topics. The event was held
at and sponsored by the Alaska SeaLife Center. Brian Lo of Seward High
School won Best of Show and a digital camera for his school's art department.
The camera was donated by the Alaska Sea Grant College Program.
Each match consists of a series of these multiple-choice toss-up questions. A team that correctly responds to a toss-up question is given a bonus multiple-choice or short-answer question. The match consists of two 8-minute halves with a 2-minute break. Each match has a maximum of 25 toss-up questions and an equal number of bonus questions.
In Alaska, coordinators have added a second component to the ocean sciences bowl: an ocean science research project, which counts for 50 percent of the total score. Students must develop a research document on a specific ocean-related question or problem. For NOSB 2000, the research project requires students to discuss the future of salmon populations and fisheries in Alaska, and to prepare a long-term management plan for the salmon resources closest to their school, considering both scientific and socioeconomic factors. The students must also give an oral presentation on their project. The written and oral presentations each count for half of the 50 percent total.
Although it does not count toward winning points, the Alaska regional competition includes a juried art show in which students are invited to submit artwork in two-dimensional, three-dimensional and mixed media. Artwork must be original and must have an ocean theme.