NOSB 2017 Research Project:
Resource Management in a Warming Pacific

The research project

The 2017 research project consists of two key elements: (1) a written document that the teams will prepare and submit prior to the Tsunami Bowl, and (2) an oral presentation that the team will present to fellow participants and a panel of judges during the competition in Seward.

The research project score will be combined with the score earned in the round robin quiz competition to determine seeding of the elimination quiz brackets.

The research project is optional. Teams can compete in the quiz bowl portion of the Tsunami Bowl without doing a project. However, only teams competing the project are eligible for winning the overall competition.

The topic: Resource Management in a Warming Pacific

According to A Student’s Guide to Global Warming:  “Overall, the world's oceans are warmer now than at any point in the last 50 years. The change is most obvious in the top layer of the ocean, which has grown much warmer since the late 1800s. This top layer is now getting warmer at a rate of 0.2°F per decade.” (

Warmer oceans potentially threaten coral reefs, marine fisheries, coastal communities and marine food webs.

This year’s theme should focus on the ecosystem-based impacts and management of an Alaska-based marine resource or fishery in response to a “warming” Pacific. The Pacific Fishery Management Council uses this definition:

“Ecosystem-based fishery management recognizes the physical, biological, economic and social interactions among the affected components of the ecosystem and attempts to manage fisheries to achieve a stipulated spectrum of societal goals, some of which may be in competition.”

Ecosystem-based management is a relatively new way of looking at the management of a living resource, whether a fishery, marine mammal species or avian apex predator.

This is a very broad topic, and you will need to focus upon a particular organism or fisheries and discuss potential impacts upon Alaskan marine systems responding to warming trends in the Pacific. This topic is intentionally broad. It is expected that different teams will focus upon different resources. There is no cookie-cutter answer. Be creative! It is important that you communicate your ideas clearly and completely. Focus on a marine-based organisms (including marine mammals or birds) or fisheries (this would include shellfish, salmon, or other migratory fish that have connectivity to the sea).  Impacts of increases in habitat temperatures include range extensions or losses, invasive species, impacts on competition, individual food resources, diseases, and reproductive capabilities.

For this project you are asked to discuss the impacts of a warming ocean upon a local marine resource, implementing an ecosystem-based approach to understanding potential changes.

This means you need to pick an Alaskan marine resource or fisheries and demonstrate a firm understanding of that resource’s development, evolution, food web dynamics, competition, economics and specific problems.

  1. Describe your marine resource, and define the role of various target species within it. (Note: this should be fairly restricted and yet an Alaskan-centric organism). Remember that an ecosystem is a geographically defined system of organisms, environmental processes and any other processes controlling its dynamics. As sea temperatures increase there will be both winners and losers.
  2. Briefly describe the recent historical presence of your organism and include the economic or ecological importance of your defined target. Why and how is it important (financial, cultural, subsistence)?
  3. Can a multispecies management plan to ameliorate the effects of global warming be implemented? What are the defined goals of this plan?
  4. Prioritize what research is needed for successful understanding and potential management of this specific target.

Reviewers will be looking to see how well you describe your understanding of your given organism/fishery, your study area and potential problems as they relate to oceanic warming. Also of importance are the following:

Note carefully: The reviewers are looking for novelty, insightfulness and clarity. Be sure to define your scenario. What is the problem? Why is it a problem? Who or what can realistically help the situation? What future research should be done and is needed to be done in order to guide us to improve the management of this resource? Use facts to build your arguments but don’t be afraid to think about the facts in new ways. What are the broader impacts of your ideas? Who or what groups are affected? Why is this important to them or to you? Present more than facts. Synthesize the information to present the situation from beginning (facts) to end (ways to improve, cope, ameliorate or eliminate the impacts of your particular situation).


We recommend all teams and coaches carefully review the following instructions.


Below are links to PDFs of the scoring rubrics for both the written paper and oral presentation.


General writing, research, and presentation resources

Submitting your paper

Your paper must be submitted to the Alaska Tsunami Bowl coordinator by December 1.

The paper you submit will be considered the final product.

Marc Swanson
Coordinator, Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl
Seward Marine Center
PO Box 730
Seward, Alaska 99664
Office: (907) 224-4311
Cell: (907) 362-2582
Fax: (907) 224-3392